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Op-Ed: Navalny — Suddenly he’s a ‘cause’ for the West? Do tell.

Navalny made a pest of himself in prison by asking for kangaroos and other knickknacks.

Dozens of people gathered outside the Russian embassy in London carrying signs in English and Russian saying: "Stop Putin", "Assassins" and "We are Navalny"
Dozens of people gathered outside the Russian embassy in London carrying signs in English and Russian saying: "Stop Putin", "Assassins" and "We are Navalny" - Copyright AFP Ted ALJIBE
Dozens of people gathered outside the Russian embassy in London carrying signs in English and Russian saying: "Stop Putin", "Assassins" and "We are Navalny" - Copyright AFP Ted ALJIBE

Alexei Navalny is getting a lot more attention after his death than before it. He’s now a folk hero to the geriatric out-of-touch, more headlines from the Stone Age Western media. Even conservatives have heard of him and that must have been difficult for them.

In the past, the arrest of a person of similar status would have drawn real attention. It’s now taken days for the obvious to be mentioned. …. But with a global media able to completely ignore hundreds of millions living in misery and get away with it, what else would you expect?

Navalny was about as high-profile as anyone could get in Putin’s Russia. He was the officially unfashionable alternative in the Land of Unrestrained Bliss and Choreographed Samovars. That inevitably made him a target. How’s that for a way of explaining the obvious?

The US is now planning sanctions over Navalny’s death. It’s something, but not a lot of a something, as an attempt to make a point. The outrage is genuine enough, but not achieving much.

Navalny has become what I think he didn’t want to be – A symbol, rather than a working force for change. That’s a pity, because I think he saw what the West should have seen, long ago.

Russia’s brief encounter with the modern world in the 1990s had promise. Then the oligarchs moved in. Not simply Putin; anyone could have been the face of the Return of the Czars.

 The extremely big vast huge money that now runs Russia took over from the smug piglike dacha-dwellers of Soviet times. They were also highly corrupt. A guy called Hedrick Smith, an American diplomat, tells of a time in Siberia where he saw an American Cadillac sold for $300,000 in US dollars cash. Nothing conspicuous about that, obviously.

These guys are the same people, rebranded as Putin-chiks, which is also rather misleading. Putin has the distinction of running Russia for more than 5 minutes and still being alive. That makes him unique in some ways. These guys are on their own side, not any particular person’s side.

Russian politics has been like that since the Czars. The ever-prosperous Russian people have never had and currently have no answer to them, except change. Navalny wanted to be that change.

It didn’t happen that way. No influence was exerted by the West. There was no incentive to do anything but hand Russia over to the oligarchs. Everyone could see what was happening and just went on making money and doing deals.

In that sense, the West is as responsible for Navalny’s death and the current state of Russia as anyone. To make him a “cause” in the West is a form of denial of responsibility. Western conservatives and progressives make the same mistake of following a media narrative rather than approaching the subject objectively.  

It’s a bit like Gaza. Ignore what caused it and then fearlessly fire out press releases like you have ever had a clue.

If you want a description of fearless, try this: Navalny made a pest of himself in prison by asking for kangaroos and other knickknacks. You got that sort of guts?

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Disclaimer
The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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