1. Russia

Window on Eurasia — New Series: No One has Done More to Boost Navalny than the Kremlin — Albeit Unintentionally, Inozemtsev Says

Listen to this article

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 2 – Conspiracy thinking has gotten in the way of understanding what is happening with Aleksey Navalny as a political figure, Vladislav Inozemtsev says. He is neither a special project of the Western intelligence services or the Kremlin. But the Kremlin unintentionally and unwittingly has done more to boost him than he has himself.

            If the Kremlin leadership were different, it could see that Navalny’s exposure of corruption at the highest levels works for Russia; but because they are the chief beneficiaries of that corruption, they view him as an enemy who must be isolated and destroyed, the Russian commentator says (

            But from Putin on down, the Kremlin leaders have behaved “cowardly and not cleverly,” refusing in Putin’s case even to mention Navalny’s name. But despite that or in some ways because of that, “Navalny now has become a significant political figure of international stature and will remain one for a long time to come.”

            And that will be the case, Inozemtsev argues, “despite the fact that in all probability, he isn’t the man capable of uniting all those dissatisfied with the regime and transforming the disappointments which exist in Russian society into the energy of mass protest.”  The Kremlin’s approach to him has achieved that, precisely the opposite of what it intended and intends.

            Its fabrication of charges against Navalny in which no one can believe, its abuse of the justice system to get its way, and its “constant vacillations” about how to handle him have confirmed that, as he insists, “there is no law in the country” and that what happens to anyone is simply the result of decisions made by bureaucrats and their friends.

            “The poisoning of Navalny” – and Inozemtsev says that he completely agrees with the opposition leader’s insistence that Putin must have known about it in advance and thus is culpable – “has become the apotheosis of everything which had taken place with regard to him earlier.”

            In the current situaiton, “the unprofessionalism of the executors, the indecisiveness of those who directed them, the uncertainty ruling inside the vertical, and finally, the pathological lying of all of the significant participants of the process, including the president” have been on full public view.

            Thus, one can conclude, Inozemtsev says, that Navalny’s new and increased standing “has become the result of the lack of talent, the stupidity and the cowardice of the Russian elite and that he in the future will use these fatal qualities” of the elite against it and to boost his own prospects.

            What has happened with Navalny, the commentator concludes, is “a shining confirmation of the impotence of the powers that be, who live according to the immortal maxim of Chernomyrdin that ‘we wanted better but it turned out like always.’” As a result, “no one bears greater responsibility for Navalny’s success than the Kremlin.”


Window on Eurasia — New Series