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Five Years for Navalny (for starters)


The only thing that was more sickening than the obviously prefabricated verdict against Alexei Navalny which was announced today in Kirov was the pathetic spectacle of Navalny smirking like an ape at a photographer as he stood in the courtroom before the judge in an open, short-sleeved casual shirt.  Near him in the foreground stood his partner, also convicted, smirking in a t-shirt and looking for all the world like a mafia goon.

You only have to watch the movie Gandhi to see how inappropriate Navalny’s behavior was, and how unlike the leader of a great protest movement who wants to show himself more civilized than the cruel regime his fighting. Though firm and resolute, Gandhi always behaved with the utmost respect towards the judges who convicted him on political charges.  And Gandhi brought the British Raj to its knees.  Navalny fraternizes with skinheads, acts like one of them in court, and has no chance whatsoever to be the savior of Russia.

Navalny was sentenced to five years in a penal colony, one less than the prosecution had asked for and half the time he could have drawn.  But as the treatment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky clearly shows, the Kremlin may well intend to keep Navalny behind bars forever (with a five year conviction, Navalny will conveniently be behind bars until the next presidential “election” passes).  There are three more sets of charges against Navalny already in the pipeline, the same pattern followed with Khodorkovsky.  Amazingly, Garry Kasparov’s website reported back in April that the five-year sentence and courtroom arrest that Navalny received had been ordered by Moscow after summoning the judge there before the trial began.  As if that weren’t enough, Navalny was not even permitted to cross-examine the one witness against him, nor to call any witnesses in his own defense.  So it couldn’t be more clear that this was a rigged judicial event in the Soviet style.

On Facebook, more than 50,000 Russians were invited to participate in a protest against the trial on Manezh Square in Moscow, but as of now less than 20% of them have accepted.  A new poll from Levada clearly shows that the spirit of opposition has waned dramatically under Navalny, not grown, and that is clear from the shrinking size of the protest crowds Navalny has been able to assemble.

But Navalny’s weakness was made most abundantly clear when the Kremlin did not hesitate in allowing him to place his name on the ballot for Mayor of Moscow.  The Kremlin knew full well that Navalny couldn’t come close to winning a free and fair election against the popular incumbent, that the election wouldn’t be fair and he’d be easily routed, and that he’d be in prison long before the votes were counted.  So instead of giving Navalny something to chew on, it handed him a candidate ID card and said:  “Knock yourself out, buddy. Good luck with that!”

Nonetheless, we see this conviction as a good result for opposition forces. It’s not going to cause a radical increase in opposition activity, nor will it make Navalny a hero or a better man, much less a Mandela.  But it does provide some moral high ground for the opposition, a useful martyr, and most of all it forces them to sink or swim. If they are to continue, they must have a new leader who will pick up Navalny’s standard and carry on. Almost inevitably, that person will be an improvement from the totally failed policies of Navalny himself.

As shown below, immediately after Navalny’s sentence was announced the MICEX Russian stock index began to plunge, fast approaching the 1,400-point psychological barrier.


Once again, the Kremlin has shown it has no hesitation in using political charges in a commercial context. How can any Russian investor trust that he/she won’t be the next Navalny? They cannot, and that is why Russia continues to be plagued by one of the worst capital flight problems in the world.

10 responses to “Five Years for Navalny (for starters)

  1. Minsky ⋅

    a comparison with Ghandi is neither accurate nor fair. Different times and different countries. By mocking Blinov, Navalny was saying the emperor has no clothes. and of course he is right. Blinov didn’t decide a thing. he just followed orders from above.

    I know you don’t like Navalny because of his nationalistic tendencies (and I agree with you), but his handling of the trial was an effective means of communicating how Russians can and should feel about their justice system. like the rest of the government, it is self-mockery. Navalny had the courage to give Blinov the treatment he deserved.

    • larussophobe ⋅

      It’s not accurate to say that we don’t like Navalny because of his nationalist tendencies. We don’t dislike him at all. We like anyone who challenges the Kremlin in an at least vaguely progressive manner. In fact, we endorsed him for Moscow mayor. We criticize him vehemently, but nationalism isn’t among our top 9 reasons for doing so. It is odious, but Russia is an odious country and it is not surprising. We criticize Navalny primarily because he is a failure and an ego maniac who has, like Lenin, failed to share power and make provisions for a successor. He has proven he cannot take the movement to the next level, and therefore should be replaced.

      King behaved the same way as Gandhi, and so did Mandela. All in different times and places. There is only one way to be a roll model. The reason Navalny doesn’t emulate his predecessors is because he is largely ignorant and very arrogant, not because their methods somehow won’t work in Russia. His “young punk” bravura only serves to alienate older Russians; if it is the only way he can communicate with younger ones, Russia has no hope of a future.

      Navalny lost his chance to make the world and Russia see that the facts of the prosecution’s case were weak. Nobody clearly understands why, because without any evidence he focused on leveling political charges at the regime, doing exactly what they wanted him to do (just as they wanted him to run for mayor, and helped him do so).

      Navalny doens’t have to copy Gandhi, but he does have to have a workable strategy, the ability to communicate with the whole nation, and the ability to inspire it to something better. He lacks all of those. He isn’t a roll model, he’s a child who likes to play with the Internet rather than to do the tough, grimy, face-to-face work that makes a revolution happen. The opposition, to the extent it exists, is better off without him.

      • F5_Twister ⋅

        “The reason Navalny doesn’t emulate his predecessors is because he is largely ignorant and very arrogant, not because their methods somehow won’t work in Russia.”

        I couldn’t say it better myself and I share every aspect of you vision of Navalny.

        By the way there was a single character in Russia who resembles Ghandi and the like. It’s Andrei Sakharov.

      • Minsky ⋅

        well, we can agree on reasons to like the fact that Navalny has challenged the Kremlin. as for whom he appeals to, I’m not sure there’s any hope of convincing older Russians who get their news from the stupid shows they put on Rossiya 1. if they genuinely watch and believe the tripe that is shown there, then they are lost.

        but Navalny did do quite an effective job of exposing the lies and contradictions in the prosecution’s case. he posted regularly, featuring scanned copies of documents. I thought it was very effective, for those who do not get their news from Russian state TV.

        the problem with exposing the lies is that Russians don’t seem to care. the FSB blew up Russians in their own apartment buildings, in order to scare them into being afraid of non-existent terrorists. Putin was in on this domestic, government sponsored terrorism. it was exposed even on national TV. does it make any difference how much evidence comes out about it? No.

  2. The REAL American ⋅

    So wasssup LR? Navalny released. EAT IT, fatty

    • dolly538 ⋅

      The Bolsheviks were forced to release him, for damage control. However, this means they will have to arrest him again, which is likely to be another PR disaster for the Russian dictatorship.

      • Bohdan ⋅

        Well said Dolly538, as I agree with you a 100% in respect to your total sentence!

        My own view of that KaGeBist thug Putin is unprintable at the kindest. But then what can be expected from this ex Lt.Colonel in that murderous and oppressive organization, the KGB, or as they themselves refer to it by the cyrillic pronunciation of the letters Ka Ge Be.

      • Bohdan ⋅

        As an afterthought, I cannot help but notice that Navalny’s facial expression on the photo is very unflattering as it actually gives an impression that he is a buffoon, ‘duh.’. If he wants to succeed in this world he has to polish up his physical image, rather then look (and act) like a buffoon.

        After all? what’s that old tried saying ” a picture is worth a thousand words.”

  3. Bohdan ⋅

    I notice that the latest news out of Russia on Navalny is – “Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has told supporters he will fight and win the Moscow mayoral vote, after he was freed from jail pending an appeal against a five-year jail term.

    He has returned to Moscow from Kirov, where a judge convicted him of embezzlement, in a case widely condemned as political.”

  4. Pingback: The File on Mr. Navalny | Dying Russia

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