Navalny Should Be Released 309


Alexei Navalny is not the pleasant liberal our mainstream media paint him to be. Before extensive grooming by the West, he was a racist populist. However, he now makes a more convincing liberal standard bearer than similar proteges like Juan Guaido and to some extent has probably changed with wider experience. He most certainly is not especially popular in Russia, outside some wealthier and younger demographics, but they are voters too, and human progress would not have been great without the much despised middle classes.

I am not in the least convinced by the ludicrous narrative that Vladimir Putin and the FSB were not competent enough to successfully assassinate Alexei Navalny in Russia, including as he lay unconscious in a Russian state hospital. I regard it as a nonsense. But neither do I necessarily suspect that the whole incident was engineered by the West or Navalny (exploited is different to engineered). Incidentally, I am perfectly prepared to accept that the security service outlet Bellingcat was right about the Russian security services following Navalny. I have no doubt whatsoever that they do follow him, and have done so for many years. So what? Western security services followed me intensely when I first became a whistleblower, and on and off ever since, most notably when I have contact with Julian or Wikileaks. The British government announced in Julian’s recent bail hearing it spent £16 million of public money on surveillance of the Ecuadorean Embassy – that’s £16 million on looking at a non-moving target! Security services follow people. There are thousands of the blighters, both in the West and in Russia, and follow people is what many of them do for a living. It is in no sense evidence of assassination. Every time my heart problem puts me in hospital, I don’t imagine it was the MI5 surveillance folks (who must, incidentally, be very bored. When I was younger they did get to look at some great parties).

Anybody who genuinely believes that Putin did not personally authorise the arrest and detention of Navalny on return does not understand Russia. Putin’s purpose is simply to show that he can – that the West cannot protect its protege, which is a good lesson for the next one, and cannot harm Russian interests abroad. In power calculations, Putin is almost always correct. I am fairly sure he is also correct in calculating that swatting Navalny will play well to his popular base, who like the macho thing.

I do not address the technicalities of whether Navalny’s suspended embezzlement sentence was legitimate, and whether he breached suspension conditions, because again if you think that has anything at all to do with what is happening, you are hopelessly naive. Navalny might very well be guilty of embezzlement, but on nothing in the same universe of scale as Putin himself and his inner circle. It is about selectivity of prosecution rather than innocence or guilt. If you have political control of the prosecutor, you hold the cards. Oh sorry, I was drifting back to Scotland.

So Putin can see Navalny jailed till 2025 on the embezzlement charge with no serious consequences and a minor stabilisation of his personal authority. But at what cost? My major criticism of Putin is that he has failed to move Russia, an absolutely vital pillar of European cultural heritage, back towards the European centre after decades of isolation. That involves development away from purely autocratic government; but there remains absolutely no sign that Putin even intends to position Russia for that move once he finally relinquishes power – which he ought to have done many years ago. Allowing Navalny to continue his campaigning will not hurt Putin and will not hurt Russia. It is a fascinating and universal fact that the longer people hold power, the more paranoid they become.

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309 thoughts on “Navalny Should Be Released

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  • Ilya G Poimandres

    There are two criminals. Do you sentence one, or sentence none? You skip your parole hearing, the state binds you some more.

    It is the same in all legalistic nations.

    It is fascinating, that for a modern Westphalian scholar, you are so happy to impose on sovereignty with Russia.

    I keep telling this to a large subgroup of my leftie friends: it is not about what you think the other person is doing or wants to do that should be primary. Instead it’s what the other person is actually doing that matters most!

    Russia/Putin is simply acting in line with the legal norms. Of course Putin would have been informed (he represents Russia, and is not a donkey), but he wouldn’t have had to lift a finger. Russia may be % wise more retribution than reform with its prison system, but that’s up to national sovereignty (or let’s have a quiet talk with the US please!).

    I don’t get the issue with ‘populists’ in the “democratic” west. Almost axiomatically, being popular implies being democratically electable! So what’s the problem? Is it that populists are named for standing against the status quo? So the popular candidate is against the status quo, and so that mean the people – and not the status quo – is the ‘bad thing’?!

    Putin does good for Russia, and in standing against Shaytan-e Bozorg (just the governments), he does the world a favour.

    I’m also fascinated by how a person who exposed extraordinary rendition, and watching live, Assange being ‘covided/suicided’ by the UK government – even assuming Putin’s blood soaked hands – sees any distinction in the murky water our world politics inhabits!

  • Goose

    Guardian reporting on today’s pro-Navalny protests.

    My guess is Navalny and his western backers are probably more of a hindrance to real democratic change in Russia than they are an asset. Whilever CIA puppets and Nuland-esque protest mobs are the alternative, support will be limited and Putin and his crew will just cling tighter to power.

    It has to be something genuinely organic; association with the west(US and UK) is toxic to a Russian population subject to sanctions, sporting bans and general lack of respect.

  • Christopher Barclay

    Putin is not going to relinquish power, because he knows that everything he has stolen will be taken from him and his genuine successor (ie not Medvedev Mark II) will put him on trial if only to distract the Russian people from the crimes s/he is about to commit.

        • pretzelattack

          for one thing, it’s an interview with navalny. do you have a link with an interview with colin powell or dick cheney from around 2002 in the fall? we might find out saddam had wmd’s!! wow did we dodge a bullet!! that smoking gun might have been a mushroom cloud. and then there were the mysterious unpoisoned ducks that skripal fed, that somehow didn’t die. i daresay you found those particular propaganda campaigns convincing, too.

        • J

          I dare say we’ll never see the majority of the Panama papers (2.2 terrabytes of data we haven’t seen) perhaps because they don’t deal with Russia or Putin. All ensconced at Guardian HQ.

        • Kevin R

          Interviewers reply to the FIRST question: “But Putins name doesn’t appear in any of the documents”. Strange to have such strong evidence against someone but don’t point any of that evidence towards the actual accused.

  • joel

    Talking of old Juan Guaido, it is reported Biden is going to recognise him as the true leader of Venezuela. No doubt roared on by the US Congress and liberal media, institutions that genuinely, passionately deplore antidemocratic coups. Honest.

      • joel

        Nice assessment, Courtenay, thanks. Unfortunately he has already decided to continue with Trump’s moving of the embassy to Jerusalem, just as Israel announces a major expansion of illegal settlements.

        Really tells you all you need to know about the next four years. Biden isn’t changing. He actually vowed to his paymasters that he wouldn’t. I expect him to stick fast to the corrupt and murderous policies that defined his half century Senate career.

        • Goose

          Afaik, Australia recognises West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but won’t move their embassy until there is a peace settlement. They also recognise East Jerusalem as a future state of Palestine’s capital. Not good but a position Biden could adopt over the present.

          Hundreds of journalists and human rights activists jailed, some tortured. Biden’s own party should surely be more demanding about the billions in military aid to Egypt. Why isn’t US aid tied to human rights and democracy improvements in what is the most populace Arab country? The US is basically propping up a brutal dictatorship whose people live in fear, while seeking to lecture the world on its own virtue.

        • Tom Welsh

          I agree with those who dislike the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

          But honestly, what else would you expect? No one in US politics (who plans to remain a player) can afford not to give the most slavish obedience to Israel.

          And what downside is there from their point of view? Absolutely none. Palestinians, you say? Ho ho ho. As Stalin humorously asked concerning the Pope, how many divisions do they have? And the UN is basically a collection of human rubber stamps whose only function is to approve of US (and related) actions.

      • Tom Welsh

        “Different face; same policies”.

        It is always easy to predict and understand US foreign policy. Just remember one word:

        “Loot”.

    • pretzelattack

      the bowl of crap that won the election is heard from! he is also walking back his promise to give a $2000.00 relief/stimulus check. the quicker train wreck is momentarily averted; the slow motion train wreck resumes its steady progress toward the cliff.

  • jrkrideau

    (exploited is different to engineered)
    This seems the most likely. Navalney seems to have had a serious medical emergency. It looks like his supporters (staff?) jumped on the opportunity.

    Must be nice to have a competent staff like that.

  • Peter Mo

    I was quite intrigued why the newly appointed New Zealand foreign minister should come out with a statement objecting to Navalny’s detainment. Quite frankly I doubt the current foreign minister would have the slightest interest or knowledge of Russia’s internal politics. Obviously she was instructed as a member of the Five Eyes group to do so as some sort of support. The question is why Navalny is so important to the Five Eyes intelligence service?
    Apart from being disappointed that New Zealand should buy into these UK/USA games I feel there is something here that not even Craig has figured.

    • Andrew Nichols

      Yep> Mahutas statement was puzzling. Esp after Wellingtons response to POmpous demanding we support the hapless Guaido in his futile campaign to takae over Venezuela for the CIA. Winston Peters the former FM dismissed it contemptuously…”NZ as a small nation is not in the business of choosing the leaders of other nations” Made this kiwi feel very patriotic.

  • SO.

    Craig.

    Do you not find it odd that there has been more public communication allowed from Navalny under Putin’s tyrannical leadership in this last week that there has been from Julian in, well.. years?

    I’m pretty sure at least one of those people hasn’t been collaborating with the foreign office.

    • bevin

      And more media coverage of demonstrations in his favour too.
      Those who side with Navalny cannot but be aware that they are also siding with The Guardian, the CIA, NATO and imperialism. They seem to long to get back onside, politically, like the German Socialists in the Reichstag in 1914 who stood up and sang Deutschland Uber Alles, after voting for war credits.
      Navalny did not return to Russia innocently; he does so to lead a colour revolution planned by his country’s-and our countries’- deadly enemies. His aim is not to introduce ‘democracy’ (something that his supporters work hard to prevent everywhere else from Venezuela to California) but to facilitate the further looting of Russia and its peoples.
      It is intriguing, incidentally, that his newly unveiled aide is connected to a firm specialising in hyperdermic syringes…

  • Tatyana

    Navalny is good in investigating corruption schemes and would be a wonderful head of the relevant department. I’m sure that he would be much more useful in such a position with the legal mechanisms at his disposal. I’m sorry that he turned down that Putin’s offer.
    I don’t trust Navalny as a person, I believe that he is a dishonest, two-faced person, I see his insincerity and see how he manipulates information in order to evoke emotions. I’m not saying that Navalny is lying, but he does not tell the whole truth.

    Putin, I have no doubt that Putin has become very rich personally. But I, as an ordinary citizen, don’t have the opportunity to verify this, and I can’t trust Navalny’s words. Navalny announced his desire to become a president, and this only reinforces my distrust, because it is his personal interest in eliminating a competitor. I have no doubt that the West is actively helping Navalny in this goal.

    If the choice is from two bad options, then I still prefer my greedy man in my country to the one who will sell my country to the West again, because we have already tried this after the USSR and made sure that London and Israel do not extradite thieves. Known facts about Navalny indicate that he will not steal less than Putin, if gets into the chair.

  • Opport Knocks

    Dear Craig…

    Fellow “outsider” John Helmer’s blog has been exposing the latest Navalny fraud since it it started. The Novichok hoax was orchestrated (badly) by his MI6 handler, Maria Pevchikh.

    http://johnhelmer.net/a-tale-of-two-bottles-navalny-poison-slowest-acting-weapon-in-assassination-history/

    John’s theory is that latest detention is to provide time to charge Navalny with treason, by conspiring with foreign military agents against the Russian government.

    http://johnhelmer.net/swedish-laboratory-stockholm-court-confirm-alexei-navalny-prepared-nato-secrets-adding-evidence-for-treason-indictment-in-russian-court/

    • Tom Welsh

      Briefly, the German military lab issued a statement that Navalny had been poisoned with a cholinesterase inhibitor (which they deduced to be Novichok). They then “reached out” (as the Americans say) to their opposite numbers in Sweden, who issued a statement saying they had found the same as the Germans.

      Then the German civilian doctors at the Charite let the side down heavily by publishing detailed analysis of the substances in Navalny’s blood day by day – including the day when the blood was drawn that the Germand Swedish military labs supposedly tested.

      Lo and behold – all sorts of crap, but no nerve agents or any trace of any having been present.

      Whoops.

    • Goose

      Has Navalny been called Russia’s Juan Guaido?

      Juan Guaido seems to symbolise everything that’s wrong with western policy elites – deciding who they want – and then trying to impose them. You don’t have to be a supporter of Maduro or Putin to be against such high-handed crap. It’s neocolonialism and the worldwide surveillance is like digital colonialism. The same disrespectful mentality emerging in new forms.

    • Prue

      I’m most definitely interested. Anything you write on things Russian is interesting because of course you live there and I (not speaking Russian) have very few credible sources to rely upon.

    • Dungroanin

      Thanks that is informative. I think I’ll start planning a trip to Russia. It seems like it is very civilised, has clean wide streets, shops, traffic lights and some seriously salty types.
      Besides from the random bovver boys picking fights with the ‘astronauts’ (who seem remarkably restrained, especially when using batons against a protester without any head protection, who magically avoids a hit on his nut). It is the great never stop smoking a cigarette types – whether it’s raining, snowing, fighting or beating up a police helmet on a park bench – that you have to admire.

      I didn’t see many (any?) posters and signs.

      I’ve seen a lot lot worse behaviour at and outside any Millwall football game.

      It may be a bit of an economic downturn there (as it is everywhere) but I don’t see that many Russian young coming here looking for jobs in London in the last year or two.

  • Yuri K

    I’ll challenge 2 of your points:

    “My major criticism of Putin is that he has failed to move Russia, an absolutely vital pillar of European cultural heritage, back towards the European centre after decades of isolation. That involves development away from purely autocratic government; but there remains absolutely no sign that Putin even intends to position Russia for that move once he finally relinquishes power – which he ought to have done many years ago.”

    He did not, of course: no argument against that. However, he had to make some tough decisions when he started. He had to be authoritarian to overcome 2 major challenges he had, to win the Second Chechen War and to crash the oligarchs. And this is what Europe (or, speaking generally, the West) hated him for. While the equally brutal First Chechen War was ignored by the the West, the Second has suddenly become the center of attention, and this attention was always anti-Russian. While Putin naively dreamed of fighting the Islamic terrorism together with the West, he was repeatedly snubbed as a brute. The Western consensus was that “we can’t ally with Russia to fight terrorism because terrorists hate us for what we are but they hate Russians for what they do. They kill us because we are too good and they kill Russians because they are too bad!”. The 2nd sore point were the oligarchs. Here, the West did its best to present Khodorkovsky as a prisoner of conscience and opened its arms wide to embrace fleeing crooks like Boris Berezovsky who moved to Londongrad in scores. Finally, there was the question of NATO expansion. George Kennan correctly predicted that this move will result in the renewal of the Cold War but nobody listened. So what could Putin really do? Had he not become authoritarian Russia would had likely collapsed as a state but had he not, he would be hated by the West. Tough choice.

    “Allowing Navalny to continue his campaigning will not hurt Putin and will not hurt Russia.” True, but Putin is not the only player in this game.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Yuri K,

      Great comment. Thank you for increasing my understanding of “Islamic terrorism”

      I knew pre 2001, cos I was aware what happened in Yugoslavia a few years before. I had a personal interest.

      The vast majority of Muslims are very peaceful people.

      I know where the jihadists come from…confirmed by this article I read today.

      “The confession of the criminal John Kerry” by Thierry Meyssan

      https://www.voltairenet.org/article194952.html

      Extract:

      “Fourth, by admitting that Washington «supported» Daesh, John Kerry recognises that it armed them, which destroys the rhetoric of the «war on terror».
      – Since the attack against the al-Askari mosque in Samarra, on 22 February 2006, we knew that Daesh (originally known as the «Islamic Emirate of Iraq») had been created by the national director of US Intelligence, John Negroponte, and Colonel James Steele — on the model they had used in Honduras — in order to put an end to the Iraqi Resistance and to spark a civil war.
      – We knew, since the publication by the PKK daily, Özgür Gündem, of the minutes of the planning meeting held in Amman on 1 June 2014, that the United States had organised the joint offensive of Daesh on Mosul and the Kurdistan Regional Government on Kirkuk.
      – We now know with certainty that Washington has never stopped supporting Daesh.”

      Tony

    • pretzelattack

      this is consonant with what leonard cohen wrote in ‘soviet fates and lost alternatives’. as a western outside, it’s very hard to judge, but i like what cohen said about judging russia by it’s own history. as far as i can tell though, putin is motivated by what is good for his country as well as self aggrandizement; which distinguishes him from our recent presidents including the most recent one, and prime ministers like tony blair and boris johnson.

    • Coldish

      Thank you, Yuri K. It seems to me that Putin deserves credit and gratitude from from all Russians for his magnificent and ongoing achievement in rescuing their country from the catastrophic state into which it had sunk under his predecessor Yeltsin. Outside Russia he has blocked the aggressive and expansionist ambitions of the USA and its NATO puppets in Ukraine and in Syria. Both within and outside Russia he has done more to stop the plague of Islamist Jihadism than has any western leader. Thank you, Mr Putin.

  • Goose

    Every time my heart problem puts me in hospital, I don’t imagine it was the MI5 surveillance folks.

    Sad to read about your ongoing health problems. I know you mentioned you were very ill and nearly died n as previous blog piece. Did you have any toxicology tests done at the time? It’s sadly quite believable to think there were people cold and callous enough to target you as a high-profile whistleblower going against the ‘war on terror’, an ambassador no less. Raising a stink over torture sites will have made you enemy no.1. Dread to think what they’d have done to Snowden had they caught him too.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Craig will be fine. It is his heart that keeps him going…

      Climbing up the staircase and being admitted to the Julian Assange case, every day, and writing a full and compulisve report…totally knackered at 2:00 am and has to get up at 5:30 am to do it again…..

      Of course he has do his own case now about some Scottish thing, I am not particularly interested in…

      The Danger comes to Craig Murray, when he has won or lost his court case (I reckon he will win – No case to Answer)

      Then all The Adrenaline pumping through his body, will stop…and he will feel completely exhausted…

      All he will need is a lot of sleep, hopefully with his family, but maybe prison guards, if he gets unlucky (some of them are nice)

      Craig Murray Needs To Get Some Rest.

      He is one of my heroes, even though I sometimes disagree with him.

      “Faithless – Insomnia (Live At Alexandra Palace 2005)”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYAYmi76qVY

      Good luck,

      Tony

      • Goose

        He’s probably drawn comfort and feeling a bit more optimistic now MSPs are finally taking a serious interest in the allegations Salmond was stitched up.

        It’s nice to believe that eventually the tormentors become the tormented… as the Bible (Old Testament) says, I shall be an arrow in Gods hands to bring deliverance.

        • Goose

          Sorry about the religious stuff, more an agnostic myself. But Craig is a selfless crusader for justice and a seeker of truth. His efforts in pursuit of Assange’s rightful, hopefully soon to be realised, freedom, are nothing less than heroic.

          He puts most of the west’s political class to shame. And the west would be a better place if more like him were in charge. I honestly believe most of the conflicts and hostilities in the world are easily solvable with the right people and respectful diplomacy. And entirely artificial barriers put up by secret decisions and choices of greedy elites are preventing true global cooperation : scientific, in space exploration and in terms of the environment.

  • Jen

    Dear Craig,

    If you could show us some evidence or provide a link to an English-language transcript of the decree or executive order Putin signed to have Alexei Navalny arrested, that would be most helpful. Otherwise you are simply peddling the same kind of disinformation that TPTB promote to push Western publics into supporting regime change in Russia of a kind that has had disastrous consequences in Ukraine and elsewhere.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Jen,
      To be gender inappropriate and politically incorrect in reply to this:-

      ” Otherwise you are simply peddling the same kind of disinformation that TPTB promote “

      So, you are a woman with real ‘balls’. Thus, Craig Murray – she openly challenged you – and where is your reply/riposte?

      Love it.

      Always love a good fight. Let’s see how the powers that be reply.

      Courtenay

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Jen, I know you mean well, but to give you an answer, which may come some way to refute your accusation of Craig Murray ” Otherwise you are simply peddling the same kind of disinformation that …..”

      Just read his book

      “Murder in Samakand” – he doesn’t leave anything out..

      Second Best Book, I have ever read…

      If you want to know more, I can also recommend

      “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo: And Other Conflicts I Have Known”

      He doesn’t leave anything out of that either.

      He writes so honestly, you are almost there with him, from the words on the page, so you have to read the next page…what happens next…

      Far better than watching a film.

      https://www.amazon.co.uk/Murder-Samarkand-Ambassadors-Controversial-Defiance/dp/1845962214

      Tony

      • Jen

        Tony,

        I know that Navalny was arrested by Russian govt authorities and imprisoned for 30 days for violating the conditions of his house arrest in relation to his 2014 conviction for embezzlement in the Yves Rocher court case. Navalny’s brother Oleg ended up in jail for his involvement in the embezzlement scheme. Quite what Putin has to do with this case has to be explained by those claiming Putin ordered Navalny’s arrest.

        Incidentally it was Putin who gave permission for Navalny to be airlifted from Omsk to the Charite Hospital in Berlin after Navalny’s relatives requested his removal to an overseas hospital. If Putin had wanted to get rid of Navalny once and for all, having failed to kill him with putting Novichok in his underwear or his water bottles, why would Putin then allow Navalny an opportunity to escape and recover from his ordeal? Navalny could have decided to remain in exile in Germany or elsewhere.

        • Baron

          You are too logical, Jen, and rational, that’s not what’s in vogue today.

          All that’s required is an allegation against the target (say) Russia, the more unbelievable the better, the MSM scribblers then run with it for as long as the process to establish, ostensively, the truthfulness of the allegation. Whatever conclusion the process comes to eventually is totally immaterial, nobody’s interested anymore, but anyone and his dog would only refer on every public communication platform, not just in the MSM, to the original allegation.

          Simples, as the fluffy creature says.

        • Coldish

          Thank you, Jen (09.53). You have made the essential points concisely and clearly. Breaking house arrest conditions or jumping bail is going to get you into trouble with the judicial authorities in any country, whether or not you are a well-known figure like Alex Navalny or Julian Assange. The 30 day sentence given to Navalny doesn’t seem excessive when compared with the getting on for 2 years – and still counting – imprisonment of Assange since his eviction from the Ecuador embassy.

      • pretzelattack

        Tony, he also was pretty ready to believe information about russian corruption in that book. The evidence he had of corruption in Uzbekistan, and the blatant corruption engineered by the u.s. and the british states in order to further their attack on iraq, was all direct and often he saw it himself. the evidence about putin’s collaboration with corruption in uzbekitstan was, in contrast, hearsay as far as i remember. tatyana would know far more about this than i do, but craig seemed to uncritically adopt a highly critical attitude toward putin and the ussr which was highly prevalent in the same foreign office which was persecuting him at the time. his portrayal of the post gorbachev soviet union was quite different from that of stephen cohen.

        my bias here, which i freely admit, is to disbelieve stories told by the entities that also tried to sell us the poisoning of the skripals, the assad chemical weapons attacks in douma, iraqi wmd’s, etc. the truth about putin may be more of a gray area than those examples, but again his situation was very difficult, trying to negotiate the chaos brought about jointly by the western economic advisors and the oligarchs.

    • Carolyn Zaremba

      Agreed. I don’t like to see Craig Murray supporting Navalny’s legitimacy. There is, of course, a lot more going on that what is visible on the surface, but Craig’s excuse that Putin would have Navalny arrested skimply “because he can” is disingenuous in the extreme.

  • Gary Littlejohn

    According to John Helmer (Dances with Bears website) a Canadian who has lived in Moscow for about 20 years and covers legal cases with a detailed inspection of the evidence, German doctors have changed their position and it does not seem that Navalny was poisoned at all. They come to the same conclusion as the Russian doctors. In addition, there was a German plane on the scene much earlier than we have been led to believe, and so the presence of narcotics in Navalny’s body may explain how he became ill. One can check out at least some of the details in the following two posts there and perhaps on some others from the same website. (I am writing from memory without re-checking, and any inaccuracies are unintentional.) Helmer reports that the German government declined to answer questions on how the bottle alleged to contain the poison got into Germany and other salient questions.

    http://johnhelmer.net/the-ss-and-the-nn-german-secret-service-ss-plan-revealed-in-bundestag-for-navalny-novichok-nn-operation/#more-45610

    http://johnhelmer.net/berlin-doctors-report-on-navalny-case-reveals-new-evidence-raises-new-questions/

    • Goose

      Had he been poisoned by the Russian state they surely wouldn’t have allowed him to leave Russia. They’d have probably finished him off when stricken in that Russian hospital using covid as cover.

      He’s not even a threat to those at the top of the Russian state, probably more useful alive as a NATO CIA linked opposition figure, because what ever the Russian peole want in terms of democratic change, it isn’t some western puppet. Navalny’s also controversial, known for pulling high-profile stunts.

      Navalny is useful to Putin, just like Juan Guaido is, perversely, useful to Maduro, insomuch as, it’s easy to rally people against US imperialistic imposition, given the dark history of the US in South America. A history that includes backing General Augusto Pinochet and his murderous military junta.

      You think those gringos backing Guaido really care about us? Maduro can legitimately ask.

      • Andrew Nichols

        The Jonny English level implausibility of the recent “poisoning” incidents is extraordinary. It seems that caution can be thrown to the wind and that anything can be swallowed no matter how utterly lacking in logic. Who’d have thought a life long dedicated anti racism campaigner like Corbyn could be successfully smeared as a racist? If you told someone before it happened, you’d have been laughed at.

        • Bramble

          It obviously helps that the BBC has trashed its reputation for journalism by solemnly repeating these allegations as facts, however fantastical. And the Guardian and other supposedly “independent” media outlets echo them. The secret intelligence services realise that getting those with a reputation for scepticism about government claims to repeat those claims creates more credibility.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      Does anyone know what exactly, i.e. chemically, is in ‘Novichock’, and does novichock mean ‘new stuff’ in Russian?

      • Alexander Myagkov

        Since you asked, “Novichok” in Russian is newcomer or newbee.

        No idea about what it is chemically, you need to ask those who invented the term. I believe that it does not actually exist as such since different people use this term for different subjects, but that makes it very convenient and easy to use in accusations when no one cares about proving them.

    • Tom Welsh

      Gary, it’s not exactly that “German doctors have changed their position” as that the civilian doctors at the Charite let the side down badly by publishing their analyses of Navalny’s blood for every single day he was at the Charite.

      That includes the days when the samples were taken which the German and Swedish military labs supposedly analysed; their PR organs immediately issued press releases claiming that the blood analysis proved that Navalny had been poisoned with cholinesterase inhibitors (such as Novichok).

      Unfortunately the Charire reports show absolutely no traces of such poisoning, and are indeed incompatible with it. What they do show is a frightful cocktail of drugs which – combined with alcohol – might easily have brought Navalny to death’s door.

      The main point of Helmer’s latest article is that now the Swedes are refusing to publish the supposed evidence that supports their press release.

      So we have the German and Swedish military people claiming, without a shred of evidence, that Navalny was poisoned with cholinesterase inhibitors; and the Charite doctors publishing detailed blood analyses that prove conclusively that could not have been the case.

      Oh dear.

  • Giyane

    Do I think Navalny should be released? Well he’s probably got to be un-brainwashed whatever the CIA have told him his purpose in life. Putin’s the man.
    The Chinese have had to un-brainwash the Uighurs.

    Whether it’s possible to un-brainwash someone over and over, without becoming s cabbage, probably Putin probably knows the answer better than anyone.

  • Carolyn Zaremba

    I think that Alexfei Navalny is to Russia what Juan Guaido is to Venezuela, an American puppet setup. Whether or not he should be in jail is another matter. But to believe that he is anything more than an operative of Western secret services is particularly naive. As with the Skripal affair, the poisoning of Navalny is all theatre and propaganda. It is a part of the U.S.’s never-ending plan to control Russia and turn it into a vassal of the U.S. empire. That has never changed, whether it was under the USSR, or the present capitalist government.

  • Sean_lamb

    I respect Craig Murray and someone demanding the release of Assange can hardly support the detention of Navalny. However, his dealing with the poisoning issue is weak.
    If the FSB did not poison Navalny, then the so-called underpants phone call must be a fabrication and it is impossible to see how that could be except with Navalny’s connivance. Is it really believable that having been poisoned, navalny would be absolute indifferent to who did it?

    I don’t personally think Navalny is genuinely racist, just a narcisstic conman. His biggest threat is not to Putin, but to Russia ever becoming a normal country with a normal opposition and normal transfer of power. Navalny sucks all the oxygen out of the space where rational opposition could develop. For Navalny or his movement to come to power, vast swathes of Russian officialdom would have to confess to being massively criminal.

    Navalny is Russian Qanon, but someone who is putting considerable more effort into his Learning. It seems to be a new problem, how to deal when large parts of the population sinks into a delusional parallel universe. I don’t support the Twitter purge on qanon, but I understand the frustration that lead to it. Navalny represents a similar parasitic type movement

    • Giyane

      Sean_lamb

      So many soaps to follow, nobody has time for reality
      The fact that Navalny was, naturally or unnaturally , poisoned biologically is interesting. I suppose the biological pandemic has opened our minds to biological warfare and biological cures.

      Doctors say that our guts control our minds. But I would prefer to think that our guts are getting along with their job of controlling the mechanism of the body, while our minds are controlled by our hearts, I.e. our beliefs.

      Garbage in , garbage out. So why would our leaders constantly bombard us with meta trivia, on screen and on politics and msn? What is the advantage of feeding continual lies to our Western populations?
      I suppose it just makes it easier for them to steal.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      “I respect Craig Murray and someone demanding the release of Assange can hardly support the detention of Navalny.”

      That depends on what each of them has been detained for.

      “Navalny sucks all the oxygen out of the space where rational opposition could develop”

      How much media space does Navalny take up in Russia as opposed to the West. Didn’t he come in behind the communists in the elections?

  • Gary Littlejohn

    Update: There is now what looks like definitive evidence that, not only was Navalny not poisoned, but that he collaborated in the fabrication of the official German and Swedish narratives that he was,. This is important legally because, as John Helmer shows below, this looks like being grounds for a charge of treason, which carries a sentence of between 10 and 20 years.

    http://johnhelmer.net/swedish-laboratory-stockholm-court-confirm-alexei-navalny-prepared-nato-secrets-adding-evidence-for-treason-indictment-in-russian-court/

    In addition, as the American website Zero Hedge shows, the resulting demonstrations in Russia have angered the Russian government because of the US embassy publicizing where they would take place:

    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/gross-interference-russia-livid-us-embassy-posted-times-locations-navalny-protests

    This resulted in clashes:

    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/pro-navalny-protesters-riot-police-clash-across-several-russian-cities

  • cimarrón

    How to do professional propaganda.

    https://palace.navalny.com/

    This page, aside from the cheap Navalny video at the top of the page, is a very costly piece of work, with computer illustrations of the ‘palace’ rooms, including several 360-degree images. This page has been put out at great expense by someone very serious, not a Navalny.

    This building that they are calling ‘Putin’s palace’ could equally be constructed for a government in a state of emergency. When your country is continuously threatened with attack and surrounded by the forces to carry it out, it seems a very sensible thing to do, to make such provisions.

    This is fairly typical of the highly-polished propaganda being put out these days. I’ve seen similar high-quality material put out against China by the Falun Gong ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falun_Gong ), China haters and Trump lovers. They are keen for us to call China the CCP, Chinese Communist Party, because that includes ‘communist’ which we have been programmed to disapprove of – though China is officially known as the PRC, Peoples’ Republic of China, of course.

    If anyone is interested, here is that propaganda piece from the Falun Gong –
    https://issuu.com/epochtimesny/docs/eet_magazine_nr3_ccpvirus_2020

    With regard to Putin (I apologise to Navalny bots for further discussing your nemesis), a few years ago there was a young woman standing against Putin. He pointed out that her platform was based on negative arguments, and said that those vying for a senior position in the government should make a positive case for their aims in running the country.

    Personally, I believe that Putin cares very much for Russia and the people and has proven this by what he has achieved for both country and people. If a serious contender came forward with a strong and sensible programme then I think that he would willingly and gladly pass the throne to that person.

    Where is anyone like that? Certainly it’s not Navalny, except perhaps for the position of court jester.

  • Blue Dotterel

    Craig says,

    “My major criticism of Putin is that he has failed to move Russia, an absolutely vital pillar of European cultural heritage, back towards the European centre after decades of isolation. That involves development away from purely autocratic government”

    But I am not so sure it is Putin or the EU, and frankly Brussels tends to appear fairly authoritarian itself.

    Interesting though that there appear to be more demonstrators in the streets for Navalny than there are in Britain for Assange.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Interesting though that there appear to be more demonstrators in the streets for Navalny than there are in Britain for Assange”.

      Give us rather Barabbas!

      • JeremyT

        ah, but now the allegations in Sweden have been ‘dropped’, time for skipping bail served, Julian’s ‘crimes’ appear to have been committed on the internet, where protest can now be closed off as Craig has explained about this blog, and even Fakebook and Twister have recently shown.
        ‘Nice one’, as they said in Collateral Murder.

  • Andrew Subbotin

    “failed to move Russia … back towards the European centre after decades of isolation. That involves development away from purely autocratic government”

    1) Russia was under autocratic government for its entire history, under tsars, communists and now Putin. Two attempts to move away from this model, in 1917 and 1991, ended in epic disasters, and few want to make a third try. This is how our society works.
    2) Putin spent a lot of effort trying to establish working relationship with Europe, but basically got an ultimatum “either you reform your society according to our blueprints, or get ostracized and sanctioned”. Which was an impossible demand due to 1). And not any business of theirs anyway.
    So I really do not see what more could Putin do here.

  • Dario Zuddu

    “My major criticism of Putin is that he has failed to move Russia, an absolutely vital pillar of European cultural heritage, back towards the European centre after decades of isolation”.

    I was quite surprised to read this comment.
    Especially from someone like Craig, who was deeply involved in the post-Soviet Union collapse events.
    Russia, and Putin himself, made consistent, repeated attempts to build up a meaningful relationship with the West, which were constantly met with scorn, derision and outright betrayal, starting from the failing to abide the promise not to extend NATO eastward, a betrayal so grave that NATO exercises now lurk right behind the border with Russia.
    And there are no words to describe the deceptive policies of the Anglo-American establishment in Ukraine, which would have prompted a literally nuclear response if the circumstances had been inverted, with Russia messing up at US borders.
    And after the atrocious, illegal, dictatorial lynching of Julian Assange at the US-UK behest, the West has lost any credibility and judgment standing in this regard.

  • Johny Conspiranoid

    ” My major criticism of Putin is that he has failed to move Russia, an absolutely vital pillar of European cultural heritage, back towards the European centre after decades of isolation.”

    If country ‘A’ sanctions country ‘B’ who’s doing the isolating?

  • Fred Rantipole

    You say

    “My major criticism of Putin is that he has failed to move Russia, an absolutely vital pillar of European cultural heritage, back towards the European centre after decades of isolation.”

    I say he tried to do so after 9/11 and was rebuffed repeatedly. Our lot, America, UK, EU, NATO ganged up on Russia, pointing more and more missiles at it and it finally got the message.
    Our govts invade Iraq, Afghanistan and get away with it because might is right. The Russian ‘regime’ invites Crimea back to its homeland – disgusting – so we slap on more sanctions.
    Because we can. Because we’re perfect.
    Anyone who won’t bow the knee and let us manage their OIL and choose their leaders is in for the chop. So watch out Russia, Iran, Venezuela.
    Talking of which brings me to our very own chopper mates, the ‘Bring your own Chainsaw’ mob, the Saudis.
    Now these are real battlers, working their guts out year in year out, helping their neighbours the Yemenis to die by war and famine. Fortunately we’ve been able to do our bit by supplying arms and munitions. And made a quick quid at the same time.
    A win win situation, you might say.
    As for Navalny – I’ll worry about him when Assange is released.

  • karlo

    If you believe that it is “hopelessly naive” to think that “breaches of suspension conditions” have “anything at all to do with what is happening”, you’re missing the point.

    Without going into the criminal cases of ‘timber theft in Kirov Les (rhymes with Sherwood)’ and defrauding ‘Yves Rocher Russia LLC’, the legal troubles now pouring on Navallñiy’s head has everything to do with those offences as well as with his studious breaching of suspension conditions. What is now happening is the desired outcome.

    Not only has Alexey regularly breached those solemnly accepted conditions, twice in Jan. 2020, once every month in Feb., Mar., Jul. and Aug., but he also completely ignored the visitation ceremonies ever since falling ill on the 2020/07/20 Tomsk-Moscow flight ‘S7-2614’.

    Since past Aug. 3, he regularly breached all scheduled visits to the Parole Office, which led to his being officially ‘Wanted’ by the police. His lawyer(s) must have been strictly forbidden by him to address the issues on his behalf before the Parole Office even after he was released from the Berlin Hospital ‘Charité’ on Sep. 23 and pending the scheduled review of sentence suspension and possible termination of the sentence on Dec. 10, 2020.

    Navallñiy’s legal representative(s) had been officially informed of all of these breaches as well as of the ‘Wanted’ status by registered mail. A lawyer’s application giving reasonable cause (e.g. hang-over or similar) was all that was needed to de-escalate the situation. But then the planned white revolution in RF would have been even less than a fiasco that it is – a covfefe.

    All that can be done now is keep lying on a global industrial scale using Integrity Initiative’s grip on media.

    For example the news, that according to practically all media, on his return to RF Navallñiy was given a brand-new 3.5-year sentence for “not reporting to the police while he was dying of alleged Novíchok poisoning”. In actual fact he was served a 1-month imprisonment for that on arrival, not for missed appearances at Parole Office but for absence at a scheduled court session last Dec. 10, where the success of the 5-year conditional suspension of his 2014-sentence would have been reviewed in order to either abolish the sentence, or, eventually, extend the suspension by at least the 10 missed month-halves. Most of the news also noted that the period served in house arrest before it was suspended would be deducted from the ‘new’ 3.5-years for non-reportance to the police.

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