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Cambridge Central Asia Forum


Cambridge Central Asia Forum in collaboration with the Centre of Development Studies and GCRF COMPASS Project, University of Cambridge invites you to a talk by

Dr Gerald Mako, Cambridge Central Asia Forum, Jesus College, University of Cambridge


'Illiberal Saviours: Alexei Navalny and Russia’s Millenia Old Siege Mentality'

Date: 21 May
Time: 11am-1pm
Venue: Zoom
Please Register in advance by clicking on the link

Abstract: Portrayals of Alexei Navalny, the most well-known leader of the Russian opposition, tend to paint a black and white picture of him. In what can be broadly described as ‘Western’ media he is a champion of democracy who wages a crusade against Vladimir Putin’s corrupt-to-the-core regime while much of the Russian (and friendly) media is keen to prove that Navalny is an agent provocateur whose main goal is to spread chaos. The truth, however, is likely to be found somewhere closer to the theoretical middle ground: Alexei Navalny is doubtlessly a champion of change in the Russian Federation, but his views cannot be described as liberal in the Western sense of the word. He is a staunch nationalist who wholeheartedly supports the annexation of the Crimea and is markedly anti(Central Asian)-migrant in his rhetoric. The talk will attempt to shed light on the evolution of Alexei Navalny’s views, their relation to the various contemporary intellectual/political streams in Russia while also discussing the deep historical roots of his views.

Biography: Dr Gerald Mako is a Research Affiliate of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum, Jesus College, University of Cambridge. His research interest span across disciplines, ranging from conversion to Islam in Central Asia to Soviet/Russian nation building and questions of identity to the future of energy in Central Asia, spread through a millennium in the space what can be described as the Eurasian steppe and its neighboring regions and yielded more than three dozen articles to date. Aside from his academic work Gerald has worked extensively with international organizations like UNDP, Gates Foundation, WHO or the Commonwealth Secretariat, spearheaded cross-border educational initiatives supporting Syrian refugees and has been advising various governments on matters of sustainability, education and local governance.


Everyone is welcome.


Friday, 21 May, 2021 - 11:00 to 13:00
Event location: