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Don’t expect US tactical response to death of Putin critic Navalny

Feb 16

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On Friday, Feb. 16, Russian prison authorities announced that Aleksei A. Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died in a remote Arctic prison. Navalny was imprisoned in January 2021 and serving a 19-year sentence. He was renowned as Putin’s most vocal domestic opponent, gaining prominence in 2011 when he declared the existence of widespread corruption among the “crooks and thieves” in Putin’s Russia. U.S. President Biden and EU leaders are confident that Putin is behind Navalny’s death.

Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan argues that while his death is unfortunate, Navalny’s significance in the struggle against Putin might have been overstated. Zeihan believes that Russia is unlikely to undergo substantial changes after Navalny’s passing.

Excerpted from Peter’s Feb. 16 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

Alexei Navalny, a prominent political prisoner and Putin critic, died in a harsh Siberian prison. This prison was a former Soviet-era gulag, so no real surprise there…

The Biden administration previously said that the death of Navalny would strain international relations, but when put into the context of the Ukraine war, international relations aren’t exactly pristine. So, it’s unlikely we’ll see much arise from the death of Alexei Navalny.

We need to remember that Russia is not a democracy, and Navalny’s political influence was limited. Sure, he opposed Putin, but he was still extremely nationalistic. It’s likely that we wouldn’t have been able to differentiate between Russia’s current situation and a world where things worked out differently for Navalny.

Everyone Peters on here coming to you from a very foggy Colorado it is the 16th of February and the news today is that Russian prison authorities have announced the death of Alexei Navalny who is a political prisoner who had the audacity to criticize
Vladimir Putin and run for office long ago years ago and has been in prison ever since.
He was transferred about a year ago to a high security prison in the middle of nowhere in Siberia was an old Soviet gulag. This is basically where the Russian government sends people when they want them to die. Because it’s cold, it’s brutal, there is no heat and medical services deliberately denied. So the idea that he’s dead is not exactly a shock, the Russian government very well could have actually executed him and no one would know.
Now back in 2021, the Biden administration said the death of Navalny would trigger a collapse in international relations that would really punish the Russians. But since then, the Russians have launched a war and killed a couple 100,000 people in Ukraine. So pretty much all of the stops that could be pulled out have been pulled out. And about the only way to punish the Russians now would be to send a lot more weapons to Ukraine, or to do an outright block of all of their energy exports, neither of which on the moment for mix of political and economic reasons are on deck. So I don’t want to say anything weird, like, you know, the Russians gonna get away with this, because there’s a lot going on. But don’t expect any sort of tactical response from the Americans in general, or the West.
Now, before anyone gets to crying about this couple things, keep in mind, number one, Russia’s not a democracy, it hasn’t really been a democracy in over 20 years. So even if nobody was allowed to continue to be part of the political conversation in Russia, it’s not likely as any chance of changing policy, he was more of a personal annoyance to Putin, and nothing more. There are other people within the ruling party who have decided to run for presidency against Putin on a very nationalist ticket, but just be opposed to the war, and they’re not being allowed to participate either. So it really doesn’t matter. It’s something that pro democracy activists in the West get really excited about, because it he’s a name that more people know. But he was never gonna have any influence. Second, careful what you wish for. Now, veiny may have been a nicer guy than Putin because, you know, low bar, but he was just as nationalists. And his biggest criticism of Ukraine war wasn’t that it was happening, but it just wasn’t being prosecuted very well. People forget that the strong predilection among Russians is to continue the war, they just don’t want to be part of it. Personally, the idea that Russia needs to expand its borders in order to survive is not one that is particularly debated in Russia, it’s generally been their security policy for 400 years, that as long as your external borders that are flat and open, you’re not safe. So you have to go through Ukraine to get to Romania, Poland and the rest. Now, of course, that’s bad for Romania and Poland in the rest, but the Russians are not misreading of the map. And unfortunately, that gets wrapped up in the political discussion so that folks like Navalny appear more important than they really are. So I mean, I feel bad for the guy and his family, but free we’re probably always gonna get here

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