Navalny allies see weakened Kremlin, say they'll regroup

Top allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny announced Tuesday that they would reestablish a network of groups across Russia, saying the time was right because the government has been weakened by questions about the war in Ukraine.

“The sleeping majority woke up, Putin himself woke him up,” said Ivan Zhdanov, former director of Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption, in a YouTube video posted by Navalny’s closest ally and top strategist, Leonid Volkov.

“It’s time for us to restore our network to fight mobilization and war,” Zhdanov said. Russia ordered a partial mobilization on Sept. 21 to beef up its troops in Ukraine.

Zhdanov and Volkov said the new network would operate as a “partisan underground,” and participants would remain anonymous for their safety.

Navalny has been jailed in Russia since January 2021 on charges widely seen as politically motivated. Many of his close associates have left Russia, and his group’s political infrastructure — the anti-corruption foundation and a network of regional offices — was destroyed in 2021 after being labeled extremist.