The Story Behind Time’s Interview With Alexei Navalny

Last October, TIME’s Simon Shuster reached out to Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny with an interview request. It had been 10 months since Navalny’s voluntary return to Russia and imprisonment, and more than a year since he had been nearly killed by a chemical weapon. Simon has interviewed Navalny a half dozen times since he first emerged as a political force a decade ago, and the response suggested Putin’s public enemy No. 1 was happy to hear from him. In the town of Pokrov, where Navalny’s prison is located, “there is probably just one subscriber to TIME magazine,” he wrote back to Simon.

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