Alexei Navalny is an anti-corruption blogger who over the years became opposition leader and leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. As such, he’s often exposed to intimidation from pro-Kremlin supporters.
However, this time he didn’t expect to be doused with a green antiseptic liquid.
The incident happened as Navalny was campaigning in the Siberian city of Barnaul. An unknown assailant walked up to him and pretended to shake his hand before flinging the liquid — known in Russian as “zelyonka”.
Navalny wrote on Facebook that he feared it was an acid attack. To his relief, the antiseptic remains on skin for days but it’s harmless.
So the campaigner did what politicians do: turn the incident into an opportunity.
“I will be opening a headquarters in Barnaul as if I am from the film The Mask! Cool. Even my teeth are green!” he tweeted, in reference to the superhero film featuring Jim Carrey.
In another tweet he wrote: “Avatar? Mask? Shrek?”
“This is a strange presumption on the Kremlin’s part: if they pour zelyonka over me, I will stop campaigning and organising rallies,” he added. “Maybe they thought I would stop recording videos with a green face. But I’ll do more, because more people will watch.”
After the incident, some Navalny supporters took to Twitter and Instagram to show solidarity with him by painting their faces green with the hashtag #ЗеленыйНавальный (“Green Navalny”):
One blogger, Nikolai Danilov, was detained after he stood on Red Square with his face and hands painted green: