Senior Political Lecturer Dr Colin Alexander spoke to Express.co.uk and argued against claims Alexei Navalny could seize power from Vladimir Putin. Dr Alexander claimed the Russian leader’s political “tentacles” run deep and have a tight grip on the government other leading institutions in Russia. He recalled that post-authoritarian regimes still struggle to detach themselves from their old oppressive tactics and that Russia would be no different whether Putin stepped down voluntarily or passed away.
Dr Alexander said it was not impossible to topple Putin but any attempt would require a “massive shoehorn” of support – support that Mr Navalny simply does not have.
The Nottingham Trent academic discussed the future of Russia and whether Mr Navalny’s case had any merit, he said: “I don’t think Navalny will be the person that comes after Putin.
“In this country, we have political parties and governments with the Parliaments and we have pretty clear lines and what’s what.
“I think the tentacles of the party, extend into the concept of the Parliament and then into the concept of governance.
“It’s a lot more opaque in Russia, I mean it’s not North Korea where the party and the government and the parliament are all essentially the same thing.
“But it’s very difficult, it would take one almighty shoehorn to get that the Putin bureaucracy out.
“And you see this with post-authoritarian regimes across the world.
“I mean, if it was somewhere like Taiwan, you know they merged from authoritarian rule in the late 80s and even in the early 2000s, they’re still struggling with what some people would call bad habits, you would say.
“I don’t think Navalny is coming after Putin I don’t think he’s the next guy in the Kremlin.”
Navalny was arrested on arrival for breaching the terms of his suspended jail sentence has was jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Protests erupted around Russia against his imprisonment which led to over a thousand arrests.
The international community condemned Navalny’s arrest and more recently, the European Court of Human Rights has demanded Navalny to be released due to fears over his safety.
Navalny, while having controversial views on race and nationalism, commands supporters from all over the political spectrum because of his staunch opposition to Putin that they can rally behind.