Resolute Square

The New Russian Resistance

Sarah Ashton-Cirillo shines a light on the resistance efforts of anti-Putin groups and individuals in Russia, ranging from the Black Bridge partisan group to anarcho-communists. Following Navalny's passing, a shift in media attention and the renewed determination of Russian patriots aim to cripple and upend the Kremlin.
Published:March 14, 2024

By Sarah Ashton-Cirillo

This week, the political will in Washington, D.C., to push through further aid for Ukraine’s defense against Russia remains in question. But the quagmire in Washington hasn’t stalled the battlefield developments achieved by Ukraine’s partners in the growing Russian resistance. 
Since the beginning of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than two years ago, intermittent stories have emerged heralding actual Russian action against the Kremlin.

Whether it was the Black Bridge partisan group taking credit for an attack on an FSB building, the anarcho-communists of BOAK laying siege to a plethora of Russian rail lines to disrupt weapons transfers, or the murky details behind the death of Darya Dugina, these direct acts have been underway for some time.
While these acts caught the attention of the world when they took place, the saga of Alexei Navalny often made the media overlook the reality of a decentralized, wide-reaching, and active effort inside the Russian Federation to topple the Putin regime and hasten Ukraine’s victory. The combination of Navalny’s untimely passing and several revelations in the past week has redirected a much-needed media spotlight toward a renewed attempt by Russian patriots to engage with Ukrainian authorities and supporters to topple their country’s dictatorship.
The flurry of activity began when two groups involved in the resistance movement, Black Bridge and a newer entity, Algiz, released encoded messages suggesting a new collaboration was forthcoming. The next day, this code was revealed to be an information partnership with two English-language news portals to bring uncensored messaging direct from Russia to the world.
At the same time, three Ukrainian-aligned Russian volunteer military units engaged in a multi-front assault, crossing the Ukrainian border into the Kursk and Belgorod Oblasts, where territorial fighting is still ongoing between the freedom fighters and the Russian army. Two of the entities, Freedom of Russia and Russian Volunteer Corps, had previously crossed the Ukraine-Russia border on hit-and-run actions. The third group, known as the Siberian Battalion, which maintains ties to Algiz, and a clandestine Polish-based Russian diaspora group known as the Civic Council, took part for the first time.
Navalny’s death has shown that Putin’s effort to demonize one individual as the face of Russian freedom has failed. Over the following days and weeks, we will see Russia’s dictator claim a new mandate resulting from fake elections in temporarily occupied areas of Ukraine and pre-determine polling results The world’s press must move beyond their previous assumption that Navalny alone could free the Russian people. and see that the Russian people have been preparing to bring freedom to their country, a freedom that will be taken by any means necessary. The newest Russian Revolution is underway.