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Posts Tagged ‘Alexei Navalny.

Russian pro-Navalny Protests, Conspiracist ‘anti-imperialists’ react.

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St Petersburg rally

St Petersburg: Crowd Shouts ‘Down the Tsar!. 

Alexei Navalny protests: Moscow in lockdown as police detain thousands

Riot police and national guard troops close central metro stations and block off streets

 

Moscow police have paralysed the centre of the Russian capital as protests in support of the jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny continue for a second consecutive weekend.

At least 3,000 people including Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, were detained at rallies across the country as supporters of the Kremlin critic took to the streets to protest against his jailing, despite biting cold and the threat of arrest.

 

Already the ‘anti-imperialist’ friends of  Vladimir Putin are responding:

George Galloway Retweeted:

The Notorious site The Grayzone of Max Blumenthal.

“Despite facing repression, Alexei Navalny is no hero. Russian writer Katya Kazbek reveals the Western-backed opposition figure’s real history.”

 

 

Eva Bartlett, a Canadian activist and blogger who is known for promoting conspiracy theories about Syria She writes opinion editorials  for the television network RT, aka Putin Telly.

“Western mass media and hypocritically-indignant Western representatives are again busily claiming Russian peaceful protesters have been brutalized by police in demonstrations across Russia on January 23.

The sloganeers demand the release of the unpopular petty criminal and Western flunkey, Alexei Navalny, arrested upon returning to Russia for having broken Russian law.”

A contrasting left wing analysis of the background:

Ilya Budraitskis

Russia: Mass protests calling for Navalny’s release on 23 January, set to continue

On 23 January, large-scale protests were held in Russia, the main unifying demand of which was the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who had been arrested a week earlier just after his return from Berlin (where he was being rehabilitated after being poisoned).

On the eve of the rally, after his arrest, Navalny’s campaign team presented a video about Vladimir Putin’s secret palace, which cost about 100 billion roubles (about $13 million) and was astonishingly opulent and senseless. Against a backdrop of economic stagnation, rising inflation, and unemployment, the story of this palace resonated enormously (over 90 million views on Youtube at the moment) not only as an example of corruption, but also as a demonstration of colossal social inequality in modern Russia.

Unlike the previous Navalny investigations in which high-ranking bureaucrats and oligarchs close to power have been the heroes, this time it is the authoritarian leader himself whose sustained popularity has until recently provided the legitimacy of the regime. Not surprisingly, the publication of the film and the call to go out into the streets provoked a panicked reaction from the authorities: “preventive” talks were held at every school and university, informing students that their participation in the protests would lead to “problems”, and all TV channels explained that the palace did not really belong to Putin, who preferred an ascetic way of life.

Read more view link (Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières)

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Written by Andrew Coates

January 31, 2021 at 5:20 pm

Russian Protests Supporting Gaoled Alexei Navalny: Where Does the Left Stand?

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Demonstrators clashing with the police on Saturday in Moscow.

The BBC reports.

Hundreds of people have been detained as police try to stop nationwide protests in Russia in support of jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Mr Navalny’s wife, Yulia, said she had been detained at a protest in Moscow, where tens of thousands have gathered.

They were met by large numbers of riot police in the capital’s Pushkin Square, and beaten back with batons.

Mr Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most high-profile critic, called for protests after his arrest last weekend.

He was detained on 17 January after he flew back to Moscow from Berlin, where he had been recovering from a near-fatal nerve agent attack in Russia last August.

On his return, he was immediately taken into custody and found guilty of violating parole conditions. He says it is a trumped-up case designed to silence him, and has called on his supporters to protest.

Prior to the rallies, Russian authorities had promised a tough crackdown, with police saying any unauthorised demonstrations and provocations would be “immediately suppressed”. Several of Mr Navalny’s close aides, including his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, were arrested.

 

OVD Info, an independent NGO that monitors rallies, said that more than 1,600 people had been detained during protests across the country on Saturday.

Here is another report:

Internationalists would first of all see the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny., his poisoning, and the arrests of protestors in human rights terms.

As in this:

If this had happened in the USA or in Europe the left would be up in arms.

Here are some of the few initial left reactions:

Ken Livingstone’s team, now lined up behind the Chinese capitalist dictatorship:

Overt Pro-Putin ‘Anti-Imperialists’ tekn apart by Paul Canning:

 

Background:

 

Navalny’s Return and Left Strategy by lefteast

(Extracts: follow link for full article)

Russia has had an eventful week and it’s not even finished. First, Alexey Navalny flew back to Moscow, then he was immediately arrested upon crossing the border, and the next day his team published a video illustrating Vladimir Putin’s own corruption and calling upon all citizens to come out to the streets against the government on January 23. What is the Russian left to think of all this? Navalny is certainly not its own, but should it stay away from the protests and the brewing political crisis? We asked Ilya Budraitskis, Ilya Matveev, and Kirill Medvedev, for their opinion.

Ilya Budraitskis, Moscow-based historian, political writer, and co-author of the Political Diary podcast

 

Navalny’s bold and precise populist strategy is in fact aimed at creating a protest coalition, with an important place reserved for the representatives of the system parties (above all, the Communists), who will refuse to play by the Kremlin’s rules and are able to conduct lively and offensive electoral campaigns.  A key element of this strategy is Navalny’s rhetoric, in which the issues of poverty and social inequality have taken the place of liberal-democratic values. The high-profile anti-corruption investigations that have earned him popularity have an emotional impact on a huge audience (for example, his latest film about Putin’s palace, costing 100 billion roubles, was viewed over 50 million times by Friday), since they directly indicate the extreme stratification of Russian society. In an environment of openly falsified elections and unprecedented police pressure, electoral protest can only have an effect if it is supported by a mass non-parliamentary street movement. And only such a movement can determine Navalny’s personal fate today — if hundreds of thousands across the country do not stand up for his immediate release in the coming weeks, he will surely face a long prison term.

In my view, participating in such a movement — with our own programme and demands — is today the only chance for the Russian left. Moreover, it is the left that can most coherently express the sentiments that are increasingly pushing people to active protest: social inequality, the degradation of the social sphere (especially health care, which became dramatically apparent during the pandemic), police violence, and the absence of basic democratic (especially labour) rights.

Kirill Medvedev, activist of the Russian Socialist Movement, musician from the Arkady Kots Band, editor of Zanovo-media

But the more convincingly Navalny works with the theme of corruption and the ostentatious consumption of top officials, the more the limits of this rhetoric are exposed in a country like Russia, exhausted by inequality and permeated by class contradictions. Now the situation looks like this: Navalny is showing us the palaces of the rulers, playing with the fire of class resentment, while at the same time (together with his comrades-in-arms) promising businesses complete freedom in the Beautiful Russia of the Future. They say that the problem is not the palaces and gigantic fortunes per se, but where they come from. But of course, with the further development of this populist line, it will no longer be easy to separate the corrupt “friends of Putin” from those whom Navalny calls “honest businessmen,” but whose fortunes are just as huge, and similarly generated by illegal schemes from the 1990s and 2000s and, of course, by over-exploitation of workers. All of this opens up great opportunities for leftist politics, which, with an equally skillful combination of valor and rationality, could produce a far more powerful wave of discontent and a far more coherent program of change than Navalny’s eclectic populism.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 23, 2021 at 5:14 pm