A Wikileaks Copycat Wants to Expose Corruption in Russia
Move over, Assange. A Russian political activist and blogger named Alexei Navalny, who is apparently very popular among the vast majority of Russians who aren't part of the oligarchy, has set up a whistleblowing website to try to expose political corruption in the country.
The site is modeled—roughly—on Wikileaks. It allows anyone to publish information detailing corrupt practices and discuss it.
Navalny was dubbed "Russia's Erin Brokovich" by Time in March. He has a background in corporate law and has tried to expose opaque and suspicious dealings at companies including oil giant Gazprom and the state-owned bank VTB. He seems to use his status as a shareholder in some of these companies as a way of literally getting in the door. He crashed a shareholders meeting of the Russian oil company Surgutneftegas in 2008.
It's unclear what sort of information Navalny's website will be able to distribute, who it will incriminate, and whether it will matter anyway. Documents that confirm corrupt dealings might not even count as news in Russia. If he does get his hands on a big scoop, it's unclear whether he'll have the resources to keep the site (and/or himself) alive.
You can visit the site now at rospil.info, but it's a little hard to make sense of. One thing is clear though: Russia could certainly use a lot more transparency.
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