Alexei Navalny, who attempted to run for president against Vladimir Putin and continues to be a viable Putin opponent, has raised over $3 million since he began taking Bitcoin donations in 2016. Just yesterday he received close to $10,000.
The cryptocurrency funds leave the wallet soon after they enter it, presumably converted to fiat.
Bitcoin Keeps Pouring in After Failed Presidential Bid
Navalny was disbarred from last year’s election due to a suspended sentence for embezzlement – the irony of which cannot be overstated. Navalny runs on an anti-corruption platform but cannot run for president because he has a corruption charge against him.
Russian media questions the timing of his donations, which correlate with certain reports that Navalny has made public, particularly things viewed as damaging to incumbents.
According to Russian outlet ZNAK, more substantial donations to Navalny have often coincided closely with publications on the part of Navalny. Reportedly, he published a report about a Putin confidant’s British citizenship. This report was released just one day after Navalny received nearly 20 BTC.
Pro-Putin outlets have painted a picture of a man essentially conducting a pay-for-play scheme – people pay him to use his platform to reveal damaging information about the Kremlin. A counterpoint might be that it benefits Navalny to release such information about the Kremlin in any case, as it boosts his chances of an eventual successful political campaign.
Putin won the controversial election last March in a landslide of 77%. He has been at the head of the government in various capacities for nearly two decades now. Notably, communist leader Pavel Grudinin received over 11% of the vote. The general elections had a more than 60% turnout, despite Navalny calling on supporters to boycott the election in protest of his disbarring.
Putin Pals Accuse Alexei Navalny of Pay-for-Play
Navalny originally started taking donations to fund his presidential campaign, long before the official start of campaigning. One could make the case that many of these donations were taken under false pretenses since the man never actually ran for president. The Russian media don’t focus on this, however – instead, they’re calling into question his continued receipt of large donations and their coinciding with his sensational anti-Putin reporting.
Russia is supposedly in the final stages of its regulation programme as regards cryptocurrencies and may end up with a unique set of rules that disqualify regular people from investing in cryptos and prevent people from using foreign Bitcoin exchanges. Combined with the proposed internet kill switch, crypto freedoms in the country might be among the lowest in the world in the future.
For another dose of irony, understand that Russian native Telegram, officially banned in the country, is finalizing its $1.7 billion cryptocurrency project. The highly anticipated platform will onboard millions of Telegram users and may find itself among the top crypto projects by market capitalization very shortly after the official launch. The Telegram Open Network will act as a decentralized application platform, not unlike Tron, EOS, or Ethereum, but it has the added benefit of an existing platform from which to draw its user base.