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Navalny Steps on a Rake

rake-take_the-simpsons_951Writing in the Moscow Times, columnist Georgy Bovt observes:  “Navalny has transformed the Moscow mayoral race into more than just a referendum on the best ways to cope with the city’s numerous problems. It has become a vote of confidence in the Kremlin and Putin.” Indeed, Navalny’s campaign slogan is:  “Change Russia. Start with Moscow.

Bovt’s comment highlights that Navalny’s campaign is a serious mistake, and will backfire badly in three important ways.

First, as Georgy notes, he’ll lose badly in his so-called bastion of strength, giving the Kremlin the right to argue he wasn’t jailed for political reasons (why should it fear someone so weak?).

Second, by ignoring the plight of the Moscow voters, whose city is far from perfect, asking them to sacrifice their own interests in order to lash out at Putin, he only alienates them.

Finally, Navalny also harms his image in the West. His barbaric, racist statements about non-Slavs in Moscow go a long way to discrediting him as liberal seeking to reverse Putin’s policies.  He’ll also be discredited there, of course, when his low level of support in his base of operations is exposed by the election.

These are just the latest in a long line of critical miscalculations by Navalny. Yet with all his mistakes he’s still far more successful than any other opposition leader, which is a sad commentary on the state of the opposition. Soon, he’ll be in jail and largely forgotten.

5 responses to “Navalny Steps on a Rake

  1. Minsky ⋅

    yeah, I also thought Bovt’s piece was more rosy wishful thinking that seems to have characterized a number of recent editorials in the Moscow Times. One the one hand, I can’t blame sane people for wanting to believe that things aren’t as bad as they seem. But on the other hand, when they are bad you might as well just face into the hopelessness of things.
    the piece by Kagarlitsky today was surprisingly sober and on point, I thought. Navalny’s just playing the part that the Kremlin wants for him. but I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll be forgotten after losing the election. when they send him packing to jail, there’s a decent chance that he’ll get a lot more attention than sympathy than Khorodokovsky, and his popularity may continue to grow. (how sympathetic can you be of a former oligarch, after all?)
    you will point out, and I won’t disagree, that the lack of exposure on national Russian TV ultimately limits how popular Navalny will ever become.

  2. Guagari ⋅

    Great points about navalny. I also think he shot himself in the leg by leaving the extremist right wing idiots to get connected to his campingn

    • larussophobe ⋅

      Yes, you are quite correct. This gives his opponents the chance to claim that any crowd he assembles is mostly fascists and communists, and makes him responsible for their rhetoric, which is even more extreme than his.

  3. mingthemerciless ⋅

    He still have a point…that is that any muslim intruders are a cancer on ANY society…ask the Copts(real Egyptians) ask the Jews, ask the Assyrians, ask the Greeks and Armenians of Anatolia, ask the real Persians, the Zoroasters, ask any Indians
    and their hundreds of millions murdered by muslims…ask any Frenchmen about the racaille and their black ghosts stinking up Paris’ streets as we speak!

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