And recently, Kudrin appears to be getting a major assist from Navalny.
The anticorruption blogger has been using his influence on the opposition's Coordinating Council to strengthen the hand of moderates who seek to negotiate with the authorities and reform the political system and weaken radical elements who want nothing short of regime change.
Navalny's chief ally in this effort has been socialite-turned-social-activist Ksenia Sobchak, with whom he has teamed up to form a powerful super faction on the council. The Navalny-Sobchak alliance was instrumental in providing a critical link between Kudrin and the Coordinating Council.
The two successfully backed a controversial move to get Dmitry Nekrasov, a close ally of the former finance minister, named the committee's executive secretary. Nekrasov, a former Kremlin aide who unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the same council, is the coordinator of Kudrin's think tank. Navalny praised him as "sincere, sensible," and "capable." He also lauded the work of Kudrin's Civic Initiatives Committee.
Strange Bedfellows: When Aleksei Meets Aleksei
When speculation emerged that anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny and former Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin politically, it raised eyebrows among Kremlin-watchers.
The reason for the interest goes much deeper than an abiding fascination with these two emerging players on the political scene. An alliance of the Alekseis would have pointed to one of the key developments analysts have been watching for since mass protests broke out a year ago: collaboration between the technocratic wing of the elite and moderate elements in the opposition.
Such a marriage makes sense in many ways. Elite technocrats understand that
Moreover, as moderate opposition activists come to understand that a colored revolution in
"We are going to see more people toying with defection to the opposition, people opening up back channels," says , the author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows" and a professor at
On the opposition's Coordinating Council, a bloc is already emerging that seeks to negotiate political change with willing elements in the Kremlin, rather than trying to topple the regime, according to press reports. The faction apparently includes 16 members of the 45-seat council. In addition to Navalny and his backers, it reportedly includes socialite-turned-activist Ksenia Sobchak and her supporters as well as longtime opposition figure Ilya Yashin, and entrepreneur Aleksandr Vinokurov, the co-owner of Dozhd-TV.