In This Review

Opposing Forces: Plotting the New Russia
Opposing Forces: Plotting the New Russia
By Alexei Navalny and Adam Michnik. Edited by Jeremy Noble. Translated by Leo Shtutin
Egret Press, 2016, 224 pp

For three days in April 2015, Michnik, the lion of Polish revolutions from 1968 to 1989, and Navalny, the Russian opposition figure and anticorruption crusader, discussed a wide array of topics: the merits and drawbacks of lustration after a revolution; how to deal with corruption; their views of Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, and Vladimir Putin; nationalism; the Russian Orthodox Church; and Russia’s troubled relations with the West. The conversation flows naturally and yields valuable insights. Navalny comes across as an impatient and frustrated but thoughtful insurgent. Michnik emerges as a steely, principled democrat who has been through it all, including dozens of arrests and time spent in prison. He is remarkable for his tolerance, his willingness to forgive those with whom he has fought, and his deep commitment to dialogue. Over the course of the book, those qualities seem to rub off on Navalny, who displays more nuance than observers usually attribute to him, especially when it comes to what critics often claim to be his crude nationalist views.