On the death of a dissident

17 Feb
The Independent, February 17 2023

I really could not have a lower opinion of people who would rather talk about Navalny’s persecution in a far away country that has nothing to do with them than Julian Assange being persecuted by their own government. It’s the most pathetic, boot-licking behavior imaginable. Caitlin Johnstone

Navalny’s embrace of Islamophobic, ultra-nationalist, and xenophobic views at one point in his career would have led to him being “canceled” in the West. Andrew Korybko 1

Putin poisons water in hotel room. Navalny gets sick and is taken to Omsk hospital. No one kills him there, though a hospital is an easy place to do that. Russian authorities approve his transfer to Berlin, where medics find novichock. Angela Merkel accuses Russia, the EU imposes sanctions. Makes perfect sense doesn’t it? steel city scribe

I had intended to post today on France’s criminalising of “disinformation” but yesterday’s news has led me to postpone that subject until tomorrow. (Sorry Alain, I’ll get there I promise.)

My total knowledge of Navalny’s death – indeed, of the man himself – could be written, like yours, on the back of a stamp. The news has been seized on – predictably is too weak a term – by ‘our’ politicians and media. Any headway made by the Tucker Carlson interview in shifting perceptions of Putin and the country he leads has, since humans are more psychological than logical animals, been set back. For the same reason the chances of a successful passage of the “aid package” for Ukraine in the US House of Representatives have been given a fillip.

On these grounds – plus his having never exceeded 5% of domestic approval even in Western polls – the idea of Navalny being rubbed out by order of the Peaky Blinders Kremlin fails the cui bono?  test.

Which for now is all I have to say. Western media outpourings will, for reasons I’ve gone into many times, be worthless:

On many matters ‘quality’ media serve us tolerably well but this truth enables a greater lie. They need to show good faith even when doing so may embarrass those in high office. (Not only does their long term capacity to influence opinion and manufacture consent depend on it. So too, on pain of losing market share, do their business models.) But the trust so gained helps them mislead us, more by omission than commission, on matters critical – above all the vilifying of states and leaders in the way of empire designs – to the power they ultimately serve.

So those interested in pursuing this might look to the short Korybko piece quoted above, and to this 24 minute discussion over at The Duran.

* * *

  1. Even World Socialist Website, which often characterises Russia – without offering any empirically based analysis to back up the claim – as ‘imperialist’, today tells us that:

    Navalny was not a representative of a “democratic” faction of the Russian political system. He entered politics on the far right, joining the free market Yabloko party and its Union of Right Forces in 2000. In 2007, he co-founded the National Russian Liberation Movement, an anti-immigrant chauvinist outfit. In 2021, Amnesty International temporarily stripped Navalny of the designation it had given him as a “prisoner of conscience,” for advocating racial killings of people from Central Asia and the Caucasus, whom he once referred to as “cockroaches”.

    Only after he entered into opposition to Putin did Navalny decide, for political reasons to find another more politically palatable basis, to choose the all-purpose banner of “anti-corruption.”

One Reply to “On the death of a dissident”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *