Key Takeaways

  • Russian authorities arrested the leader of the opposition party Alexei Navalny last Sunday at an airport, citing a 2014 conviction.
  • Over 40,000 individuals staged protests for Navalny’s release.
  • The Bitcoin address associated with Navalny’s political party has received $120,000 since the arrest.

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A Bitcoin address connected to the release of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has received over $120,000, as protestors flooded the streets of Moscow this weekend.

Bitcoin Funding in Release Protest

On Jan. 17, Russian police in Moscow arrested Navalny at the Moscow airport as he arrived from Berlin. Officials said that a 2014 conviction provoked his arrest last Sunday.

Navalny called for a nation-wide protest and citizens complied, with thousands of protestors pouring onto the nation’s capital.

Navalny’s political party Foundation for Combating Corruption (FBK) is a non-profit organization which does not list the party’s BTC address for legal reasons. Nevertheless, the group’s “headquarter” website, which is linked to on the homepage, accepts donations via wire transfer, PayPal, and Bitcoin.

The party’s address has received numerous donations totalling 3.5 BTC ($120,000) since his arrest, and a total of 657.1 BTC ($21.3 million) since the party first started accepting Bitcoin donations. Donations continue to arrive in the address.

Bitcoin has been a part of public protests and covert operations around the world, from helping protestors in Hong Kong last year to funding the U.S. Capitol riots more recently. 

Vladimir Putin has called the protests illegal and dangerous. Reportedly, more than 3000 protestors were detained in Moscow.

Who is Alexei Navalny?

Alexei Navalny is a lawyer turned activist who began criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin in the 2000s. He announced his presidential candidacy in 2016.

The political activist has faced severe backlash from the government, especially for his reports against Putin. Navalny has spent time in jail on account of reportedly illegitimate charges and has also been poisoned—most recently in August, which sent him into a coma.

The Russian opposition leader has received support from Joe Biden’s administration, asking for his release.

In other cryptocurrency news, the Russian Ministry of Labor banned state officials from holding any cryptocurrency. The new rule not only prevents federal and local employees from purchasing new cryptocurrency—it also demands the sale of old purchases as well.

Disclosure: This author held Bitcoin at the time of publication.

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