Student wearing T-shirt Navalny-2018 at meeting with Putin

Yegor Ryabov (on the far left) wearing an ‘opposition’ T-shirt at the meeting with the incumbent president. Such a situation would not be uncommon in the West, but it is still an exception in Russia

On September 1, Vladimir Putin visited Sirius, the educational centre for gifted children in Sochi, where he met with the winners of international competitions and their mentors.

Soon after the meeting, Russian Internet users paid attention to the picture published by the official Kremlin website: one of the participants was wearing a T-shirt Navalny 2018 (the inscription is only partially visible). In the course of the recent presidential canpaign such T-shirts were popular among the supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The meeting was also covered and televised by state-run TV channels.

Reporters have learned that the young man’s name is Yegor Ryabov, in 2018 he finished school and entered Mathematics Department at the Higher School of Economics.

In an interview with the TV channel Rain, Ryabov admitted that his act was ‘half joke half public stance’.

“It would be not true to say that I am a vocal supporter of Navalny. I am rather for the movement which is now being organized by him,” Ryabov said.

According to him, after the picture had gone viral, one of his teachers wrote he was proud of his student.

Interestingly, a week ago Navalny was arrested for 30 days. Apparently, the Russian authorities are set to prevent him from showing up at the protest rallies against the pension reform in early September. They also want to silence him for the period of Putin’s voicing the plan of a ‘softer’ version of the reform.

See also