( CNN) Though Vladimir Putin's presidential re-election in March will attain international headlines, the greatest achievement of general elections cycle will be the giant strides that Russian society has taken despite the government's attempts to squash any form of dissent.

It's not for nothing that Alexei Navalny's rallies draw thousands of people all around the country. People want to hear from Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger and lawyer, who was the most serious Putin challenger in the upcoming elections until he was barred from operating because of a corruption sentence in a fraud instance. Navalny's critics believe this was a politically motivated sentence — and Navalny has vowed to appeal.

Though Navalny is perhaps Putin's best-known opposition — and likely the one the Kremlin views as most jeopardize, there are a number of Putin critics running in the next election, and they are making their voices known. Deem the case of Grigory Yavlinsky, a leader of the liberal Yabloko Party and another presidential nominee in the upcoming election. He was barred from running in Russia's 2012 general elections, despite collecting two million signatures for his nomination.