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[Source: euro.esuero.com]

Media comparisons of Navalny to Nelson Mandela are totally off-base

The death of Alexei Navalny at a remote Arctic penal colony is being used to try to sustain U.S. military aid to Ukraine at a time of growing congressional opposition and after the Russians have taken control of Avdiivka, a key battleground in eastern Ukraine.

The bias of the U.S. media was evident in The New York Times Sunday opinion section on February 18, which featured the following headlines on one page: “Florida’s Fraudster and Russia’s Killer,” “The Best Case for U.S. Aid to Ukraine,” and “What We Can Learn from Navalny.”

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Maureen Dowd [Source: columnists.com]

The “Florida Fraudster” piece, by Maureen Dowd, replicated an earlier accusation made by Dowd right out of the John Birch Society[1] playbook that Donald Trump was a Russian agent.[2] In a 2018 column, Dowd had inanely suggested that Trump gravitated to Vladimir Putin because “Putin reminded Trump of his authoritarian father.”[3]

In her latest piece, Dowd mocks Trump for having had a “bromance” with the “sociopathic Putin,” “unimpeded by Putin’s foul bid to swallow Ukraine.” Dowd said that this “bromance” had “grown ever more sickening with news that the Russian president’s most potent opponent, Alexei Navalny, 47, died mysteriously in an Arctic prison—very, very suddenly as high profile Putin critics often do.” “Make no mistake—Putin is responsible,” President Biden said.[4]

Well then, if Biden said it, then it must be true. Because Biden never lied before or embellished things for political purposes—ya right! And what about this alleged “bromance” between Trump and Putin? If it really existed, why did Trump escalate U.S. sanctions on Russia? And sell Ukraine Javelin anti-tank missiles the Obama administration refused to sell? Or pull out of a major arms control treaty with Putin (the INF Treaty), which Trump felt was bad for America?[5]

As far as Putin being a “sociopath” who wanted to “swallow Ukraine,” Dowd is obviously unaware that a) the U.S. had induced the Russian intervention in Ukraine by supporting the 2014 Maidan coup and ethnic cleansing operations in eastern Ukraine to which the Russian government was responsive; and b) the leading scholarly study of political assassination states emphatically that it has not been proven that Putin directly ordered anyone to be killed.[6]

And if Putin was indeed a sociopath, what about Volodymyr Zelensky? His administration has admitted to carrying out terrorist acts and killing dissidents, including the daughter of a prominent Russian philosopher, a pro-Russian blogger who was murdered in a café, the head of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic and former Deputy of the Luhansk regional parliament, and the former leader of the socialist party in Ukraine’s parliament, Illia Kyva, who was assassinated mafia style while taking a walk in a park in Moscow where he had been exiled.[7]

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Dick Durbin [Source: borgenmagazine.com]

Dowd’s biased analysis is echoed by her colleague Nicholas Kristof, a man about whom Edward S. Herman once called a “cruise missile leftist.”

In his piece, “What We Can Learn from Navalny,” Kristof compared Navalny to Nelson Mandela, criticized Trump and Tucker Carlson[8] for “rolling over before the Russian president,” and quoted from Dick Durbin (D-IL) who asked why Trump and his congressional enablers “want to further appease this Russian tyrant?”[9]

Personally, I am sorry that Navalny died even if I disagreed with his political outlook.

However, the rush to blame Putin for Navalny’s death overlooks the fact that no evidence has so far emerged to prove this, and Putin had no motive to do so because Navalny was not a threat to his reelection since he had low poll ratings, and his death could easily be blamed on him, making him look bad. 

Now Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, who gave a blistering anti-Putin speech at the Munich Security conference on the day of Alexei’s death, is going to lead her husband’s organization and try to mobilize opposition to Putin using her husband’s status as a martyr. 

Yulia Navalnaya giving blistering anti-Putin speech at pro-NATO Munich Security conference. Observers found it odd that Navalnaya had been at the conference when she had no security expertise and found her speech to be carefully scripted and that her demeanor did not reflect that of someone that had just lost her husband. [Source: theguardian.com]

As much as Navalnaya and her supporters want to present Alexei as a victim of political persecution, there is a strong evidence indicating that his arrest was not politically motivated, that he violated Russian law, and that he was legitimately imprisoned even if the terms of his sentence may have been unduly harsh.[10]

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[Source: ceneo.pl]

Former Swiss diplomat Jacques Baud reviews the evidence in his 2023 book, The Navalny Case: Conspiracy to Serve Foreign Policy (Paris: Max Milo, 2023).

Baud emphasizes that Navalny was a right-wing businessman given a five-year suspended prison sentence in the early 2000s because he was buying companies in order to illegally privatize their profits.[11]

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Oleg Navalny [Source: expressandstar.com]

Navalny was later given a three-year suspended sentence because of his involvement in an illicit business scheme spearheaded by his brother, Oleg, who used his position as manager of a sorting center at a post office to push the French cosmetics company Yves Rocher to use the services of a private logistics company owned by the Navalny family.[12]

The charges filed against the Navalny brothers were for embezzlement of more than 26 million rubles (nearly $850,000).

Under the terms of Navalny’s sentence, Alexei was prohibited from leaving Russian territory, which was the basis for his most recent arrest and imprisonment.[13]

After he was placed under judicial supervision, Navalny had been obligated to report twice a month to Russian prison authorities until the end of his probationary period, which Navalny did not do.[14]

In 2020, Navalny violated the latter rule six times but Russian authorities were then lenient—he was not actually being persecuted.

Some political observers even believed that Navalny was being used by the Kremlin to weaken the main opposition parties by splintering their vote.[15]

In December 2012, prosecutors in Russia accused Allekt, an advertising company headed by Navalny, of defrauding the liberal CIA-funded Union of Right Forces by taking $3.2 million for political PR in 2007 and doing nothing with the money. The charges were initiated by the party itself and not Russian government authorities.

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Jacques Baud [Source: nuevarevolucion.es]

Navalny’s checkered past renders as obscene Kristof’s comparison of Navalny to Nelson Mandela, who was arrested by South African authorities, with support from the CIA, because of his belonging to the Marxist wing of the anti-apartheid African National Congress (ANC).

Navalny, by contrast, was a marginal figure within Russia politically who, in 2007, was expelled from the center-right Yabloko Party because of his regular participation in the “Russian march,” an ultra-nationalist movement, and for his “nationalist activities,” with racist tendencies.[16]

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Navalny in the early 2000s when a member of the Yabloko Party. [Source: zoomboola.com]

In the video supporting the liberalization of handguns which made him famous, Navalny mimicked shooting Chechen migrants in Russia whom he compared to “cockroaches.”[17]

In 2013, Navalny supported and fanned the Biryulyovo riots, castigating the “hordes of legal and illegal immigrants.”

Salon magazine reported that, “if he were American, liberals would hate Navalny much more than they hate Trump or Steven Bannon.”

Jacobin called Navalny a “Russian Trump.”[18]

Racist video in which Navalny compared Chechnyan migrants to cockroaches. Navalny never disavowed the video. [Source: thekomisarscoop.com]

This is extremely ironic in light of the fawning depictions of Navalny by Trump-hating columnists whose articles do not actually provide much detail about Navalny and the political positions that he took.

One of these positions that endeared him to the West was his support for regionalist and separatist tendencies, which if successful, would contribute to the destabilization and weakening of Russia.[19] Navalny also advocated for sanctions that harm the Russian people.[20]

No wonder then that he has been accused of being a foreign agent.

In 2010, Navalny was a world fellow at Yale University, whose graduates played prominent roles in the 2014 anti-Russian coup in Ukraine and other U.S.-backed “color revolutions.”

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[Source: 1b.blogspot.com]

He received more than $5 million in funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA cutout that specializes in regime-change operations.[21]

A Russia Today broadcast leaked surveillance footage from 2012, which appears to show Vladimir Ashurkov, the executive director of Navalny’s anti-corruption organization, seeking cash and intelligence from an alleged British spy, James William Thomas Ford, and suggesting Navalny’s anti-corruption work may benefit firms in London.

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Meeting between Ashurkov and alleged British MI6 agent James William Thomas Ford at a Moscow café in 2012. [Source: rt.com]
[Source: rand.org]

I previously detailed in CovertAction Magazine how the fake poisoning of Navalny three and a half years ago appeared to have been generated as part of a color revolution/psychological warfare operation, whose main contours were laid out in a 2019 RAND Corporation report, “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia.” 

This report recommended an array of measures—from encouraging domestic protests to providing lethal aid to Ukraine to undermining Russia’s image abroad—to weaken and destabilize Russia. High priority was placed on administering sanctions, which Navalny’s alleged persecution justified expanding.

Today, Navalny’s death is being used to further this same operation. The convenient timing for the U.S.—which is losing the hot war and also the larger information/propaganda war—raises questions as to whether there was some kind of black operation involved that we are likely never to know about.

  1. This was an extreme right-wing anti-communist group that accused Dwight Eisenhower, along with other prominent government officials, of being a communist.

  2. Jeremy Kuzmarov and John Marciano, The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2018), 18.

  3. Maureen Dowd, “Why Does Trump Insist on Hugging Putin the Menace,” The New York Times, July 16, 2018, https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/us/maureen-dowd-why-does-trump-insist-on-hugging-putin-the-menace-1.3565938. Dowd in this column referred to Putin as a killer, a designation she never applied to Barack Obama who actually bragged about his killing prowess—in the drone war.

  4. Maureen Dowd, “Florida’s Fraudster and Russia’s Killer,” The New York Times, February 18, 2024, 3. Alternative media outlets sadly were little better in some cases than their mainstream counterparts. Democracy Now, for example, echoed the flattery of The New York Times about Navalny and interviewed anti-Putin writer Masha Gessen who told host Amy Goodman: “I have no doubt … that he was killed. Putin was determined to see Navalny die in prison.” These claims, however, which Goodman did not question Gessen on, have not been substantiated and an investigation into Navalny’s death is pending. Goodman later did not question Gessen when she repeated the official narrative about Navalny’s alleged poisoning when evidence has come to light challenging this story.

  5. See Kuzmarov and Marciano, The Russians are Coming, Again. Navalny’s supporters claim that Navalny was confined to brutally cold isolation cells in prison and subjected to torture resulting in his death, while Russian authorities reported that Navalny died in prison of a blood clot. Previously, there was indication that Navalny had been in poor health, which mainstream U.S. media has not reported. A Russian investigation into the cause of death is pending.

  6. Amy Knight, Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2017). Knight wrote: “I do not claim to have definitive proof of the complicity of Putin and his allies in these crimes [assassinations discussed in the book].” Independent investigations have found that people whose deaths were attributed to Putin by Western media were killed by Russian mafia figures and oligarchs who hated Putin and wanted to set him up, or possibly by Western intelligence agencies for the same purpose.

  7. See Jeremy Kuzmarov, “Zelensky’s White House Visit Comes Amidst Escalation of Mafia Style Assassination Campaign Resulting in Murder of Ukrainian Socialist Party Leader,” CovertAction Magazine, December 25, 2023, https://covertactionmagazine.com/2023/12/25/zelenskys-white-house-visit-comes-amidst-escalation-of-mafia-style-assassination-campaign-resulting-in-murder-of-ukrainian-socialist-party-leader/

  8. Carlson interviewed Putin in Moscow on February 6.

  9. Nicholas Kirstof, “What We Can Learn from Navalny,” The New York Times, February 18, 2024, 3.

  10. In August 2023, Navalny was given a 19-year sentence to add to his existing 9-year sentence after a court found that he had retroactively financed and incited “extremist activities” through his now-defunct Anti-Corruption Foundation. Judges also found the opposition leader guilty of “rehabilitating Nazi ideology.”

  11. Navalny was also convicted for the theft of $500,000 from a state-owned timber company, Kirovles, for which he was fined 500,000 rubles ($8,500).

  12. Jacques Baud, The Navalny Case: Conspiracy to Serve Foreign Policy (Paris: Max Milo, 2023), 17, 18.

  13. Baud, The Navalny Case, 17, 18.

  14. Baud, The Navalny Case, 85.

  15. Baud, The Navalny Case, 86.

  16. Baud, The Navalny Case, 21. After the verdict was announced, Yves Rocher issued a statement saying, “Suspicions of fraud on the part of the Navalny brothers against private companies have been confirmed by three judgments and this case is therefore closed and it is no longer possible to reverse it.”

  17. In February 2021, Amnesty International stripped Navalny of “prisoner of conscience status” due to a history of hate speech. In one video clip, he is featured behind a table with a pistol, shoe and fly swatter and states that “everyone knows we can use a fly swatter against flies and a shoe against cockroaches.” Navalny then asks, “But what happens if the cockroaches are too great and the flies too aggressive?” When a person dressed in black comes screaming toward him, Navalny shoots the man point-blank. A dead body appears. “In that case, I recommend a pistol.” See video here. Another video has Navalny dressed up as a dentist who says his job is to “root out cavities [immigrants].” When neo-Nazi skinheads come on the screen, Nazis giving the Hitler salute, and war criminals hanged at Nuremberg, Navalny states: “These aren’t real specialists. You need to precisely and firmly deport.” Frightened, Central Asians are subsequently shown being rounded up as a yanked cavity rolls across the screen. Then an airplane appears. Only blockheads think that “nationalism is violence,” tempers Navalny, adding that “we have the right to be Russians in Russia, and we are defending this right.”

  18. Baud, The Navalny Case, 22.

  19. Putin has long attempted to subordinate regional elites to the federal government, sometimes through strong-armed methods, in an attempt to strengthen the Russian state and economy. Navalny publicly advocated for “letting the Caucasus go,” while calling for the reintroduction of direct elections of regional governments. Since 2016/17, his campaign established regional offices far outside of Moscow and helped organize demonstrations in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Urals, in solidarity with separatist leaders who called for a “Urals Republic.” Navalny and his staff also supported protests in the far-eastern city of Khabarovsk over the arrest of the regional governor, Sergei Furgal, a member of the far-right Liberal Democratic Party, on murder charges.

  20. Baud, The Navalny Case, 87.

  21. According to investigative journalist Lucy Komisar, Navalny became a player in America’s Russiagate operation. He published a video in 2018 claiming that Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska acted as a messenger between President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort and a top Kremlin foreign policy official. Despite the release of the Mueller Report and other evidence that Russia Gate was a fraud, Navalny never corrected his anti-Trump video. According to Komisar, this confirms “not only [Navalny’s] standard for truthfulness in documentary work, but also what allies he has made in the U.S.”

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