We have seen yet another appalling wave of misreporting from the West’s Russia journalists in reacting to the temporary release of Alexei Navalny from custody. Grossly misrepresenting the reason for the release, many of these idiots have claimed it was caused by the minor street protests that followed Navalny’s jailing (Navalny himself has tried to claim this in a shameless propaganda move seeking to bolster his flagging fortunes). Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, the notion that street protests somehow “forced” the Kremlin to release Navalny is the single most ridiculous assertion we have heard about Russia in the past decade.
In fact, the Kremlin wants Alexei Navalny to run for Mayor of Moscow. It knows he has absolutely no chance of winning, and that when he loses it will score not one but two impressive victories. First, it will legitimize the office of Moscow Mayor, having proved the office was filled after a truly competitive election. It can hold this result up for propaganda purposes over and over whenever challenged about its democratic bona fides. Second, it will delegitimize Navalny. If he runs in Moscow, his bastion, and fails, he will be exposed as a charlatan and nobody will be able to claim that Moscow jailed him in a political move to silence a dangerous rival.
On Facebook, Navalny invited over 50,000 Russians to appear at Manezh Square to protest his conviction. Only about 3,000 showed up. Navalny has now been sentenced to five long years in prison, a conviction that will permanently disqualify him from ever again seeking public office and that will have him behind bars during the next presidential election.
And that’s only the beginning. As with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Kremlin has plenty more where that came from, so that it it can keep Navalny in jail as long as it likes. Radio Free Europe explains:
Russian prosecutors have opened three other legal cases against Navalny that could be brought to trial. One involves allegations that an advertising company headed by Navalny defrauded the Union of Rightist Forces political party of some $3 million in 2007. The second charges that a postal services company owned by Navalny and his brother deceived the Yves Rocher cosmetics firm. And the third claims he conspired to illegally privatize the Urzhum distillery in Kirov Oblast.
If this is good news for Navalny and his forces, they’d better get down on their knees and pray for some bad news.
Back in Moscow, Navalny made another one of this infamous promises, this time that he’d win the mayorship. Those who heard this promise can’t help but remember his other promises: To force a new Duma vote, to force Vladimir Putin into a runoff and to put a million people on the streets of Moscow in protests. Needless to say, none of these things happened. Meanwhile, Navalny has been endorsing disturbing racist/nationalist political platforms, collaborating with skinhead nutjobs like Edward Limonov and Sergei Udaltsov, and continuing to perpetuate his own personality cult. He shows no signs of being able to motivate the mass public, no signs of being willing to share power, and no signs of being anything remotely like a real hope for a better future for Russia.
Many Western scribes are totally ignoring all these harshly negative facts about Navalny. Their “reports” read like Soviet propaganda tracts. It’s just disgusting that even after being humiliated by their grossly, hideously biased statements about Navalny’s protest movement in the past being proved totally wrong, Western journalists can’t be even a little more careful the second time around. Their gushing, fawning, misleading pseudo-reporting on Navalny only helps Russia speed its way towards oblivion. They are no friends of Russia. To the contrary, they are Russia’s worst enemies.