Alexei Navalny, a leading critic of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, was attacked on Monday, March 20, with a kind of chemical dye, causing his face and hands to turn green. The attack happened in Barnaul, where he was opening his headquarters.
A man reportedly accosted Navalny outside his headquarters, looking to shake hand. However, when Navalny engaged, the man was reported to have sprayed the green substance onto his face and hands. In a statement, Navalny said he was relieved the substance was just a bight green dye, rather than acid.
Navalny has accused the Kremlin of carrying out the attack, but says his election campaign team will not be deterred. The green hands and face resulting from the attack have caused some to liken Navalny to movie characters Shrek or The Mask. Members of the band Pussy Riot, also critics of Putin, were attacked with a similar green substance in 2014.
In December 2016, Navalny announced his bid for the presidency, facing Putin. The election will take place in 2018. Navalny’s campaign website says he will address corruption, economic stagnation and censorship, and would be campaigning with a program to develop a “fair and modern Russia.”
A 2013 criminal conviction had previously barred Navalny from running for office. Navalny appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which, in February 2016, ruled that Russia’s Supreme Court had violated his right to a fair trial, according to the New York Times.
In November, 2016, the Russian Supreme Court overturned the conviction on order of the ECHR, but also ordered a retrial, a move Navalny said defied the European court’s ruling. Credit: Alexey Navalny via Storyful