This “Foreign Policy Speech” by Dana Rentenaar can be accessed here.

It was originally written for the ATHENA Jean Monnet Chair MSc Course “The EU and the Post-Soviet Space” taught by Dr. Olga Burlyuk. It is published as part of our mission to showcase peer-leading papers written by students during their studies. This work can be used for background reading and research, but should not be cited as an expert source or used in place of scholarly articles/books.


Alexei Navalny is a prominent opposition leader in Russia, focusing mainly on exposing corruption in the Russian system. He used to be a lawyer and started his quest to expose corruption in the system by buying small shares in state-owned companies, gaining access to their official documents (which showed corruption was at play), and made them public. Since then, he has organized many rallies with massive turnout throughout the entire country as well as run for mayor of Moscow. His most recent exposure of corruption was in the form of a video, showing drone footage of the several lavish estates and palaces owned by oligarchs and political elites. His political activities and journalism have landed him in prison dozens of times over the years and in 2020, he was poisoned. Upon his return to Moscow after having recovered from the assassination attempt in Berlin, he claims to have tricked one of Putin’s agents into giving him the details of how his assassination attempt was carried out, which I reference at the start of the speech. After watching several of Navalny’s speeches, I noticed he often refers to Putin as ‘Mr. Putin’, in a degrading tone. He is not afraid to blatantly call him a thief and a coward. Navalny doesn’t seem to think his work is brave and often says he isn’t scared, because he is ‘ready to die for this cause’. I have tried to incorporate all of these things into this speech. Additionally, I wore a set of prison overalls and had my hands tied together for dramatic effect. Now, imagine you are a member of the European Parliament, working on your computer when you receive this video message from Navalny: