Russian dissident Alexey Navalny’s courage should inspire Americans

Alexey Navalny

Russian dissident Alexey Navalny has displayed ferocious courage by speaking out against the ongoing war in Ukraine, exposing political corruption in the country, and offering a vision for a better future for Russia even as officials seek to keep him in prison for decades.

His bravery is the kind of thing that once defined American character but seems vanquished in the United States during a modern era where moral courage and physical heroism appear to be in short supply, as the population here settles into a quicksand of economic and emotional depression.

The White House retreated from its firm rejection of demands for spending cuts that were part of a GOP hostage negotiation on the debt ceiling, government officials have yet to indict Donald Trump for his conspiracy to stay in power after losing the 2020 election, progressives are being counseled against rebellion as President Biden seeks re-election by Senator Bernie Sanders, who once advocated a primary challenge to President Barack Obama.

And throughout the nation, consumers are meekly accepting their fate as underpaid minions who are largely excluded from political decisions that are dominated by money-grubbing politicians who rely on the largess of corporate crooks for their campaign funds.

Democracy is dying but experts predict that fewer than ten percent of New Jersey’s Democratic Party members will vote in the June 6 primary, which is the only consequential election, albeit one with few choices and fewer truly competitive races. 

The New Jersey State Legislature now has more open seats — races without an incumbent running — than at any time in the last 12 years but most races in the June 6 primary are uncontested.

Each of New Jersey’s 40 legislative districts has three seats up for grabs — two Assembly seats and one state Senate seat. But among those, there are contested party primaries in just 13 districts and several of them will prune the numbers of Black and Hispanic women in the Legislature.

Sen. Nia Gill is expected to lose a race against former Gov. and incumbent Sen. Dick Codey, the state’s longest-serving state senator and a former state Senate president.

Another Black, pro-choice Democratic woman is waging an improbable contest to anti-abortion, pro-gun Sen. Joe Cryan, whose insatiable lust for bondage, oral sex, and spanking was revealed in secret e-mails obtained by The New York Post.

Cryan now makes more than $330,000 at taxpayer expense but it is not clear whether he still spends much of his time at work jerking off, the way he did while he was employed at the Union County Sheriff’s Office. He faces Angela Alvey-Wimbush, a 3-term member of the Roselle Board of Education, who is on Column B with Assembly candidates Charles Mitchell Sr. and Myrlene Thelot.

Hispanic women are also being shoved aside by political power brokers who control the selection and ballot positions of primary candidates. In two different districts in Hudson County, incumbents were kicked off the line and ended up choosing not to run. One of them is Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro.

As the female voters who comprise a vast majority of the Democratic electorate meekly accept the reduction of their political representation and United States consumers quietly struggle to make ends meet as the economic system fuels incredible gains but only for billionaires, a Russian dissident rails against unbeatable odds and Americans surrender with scarcely a fight.

Moscow’s city court will hold a hearing today in a new case against the jailed Kremlin critic on charges that Navalny, who rose to prominence by lampooning President Vladimir Putin’s elite and alleging vast corruption, called an “absurd” terrorism case that could see him sentenced to a further 30 years in jail.

Russia had all but extinguished domestic political opposition and civil society under Putin. but since invading Ukraine early last year, it has sought to snuff out all vestiges of dissent with new censorship laws and long jail terms for those publicly opposing the war.

In August 2020, Navalny had been poisoned fell ill during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, and was hospitalized.

Doctors in Germany confirmed that Navalny had been poisoned with a cholinesterase inhibitor, and a joint investigation by The Insider and Bellingcat in co-operation with CNN and Der Spiegel implicated agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in the poisoning.

On December 21, 2020, Navalny released a video showing him impersonating a Russian security official and speaking over the phone with a man identified by some investigative news media as a chemical weapons expert named Konstantin Kudryavtsev.

During the call, Kudryavtsev revealed that the poison had been placed on Navalny’s clothing, particularly in his underwear, and that Putin’s critic would have died if not for the plane’s emergency landing and quick response from an ambulance crew on the runway.

Despite his government’s effort to kill him, Navalny returned to Russia from Germany, arriving on January 17, 2021, in Moscow, where he was detained by authorities.

Navalny, who says Russia will lose a war that he says has inflicted pain on millions of innocent Ukrainians, is already serving combined sentences of 11-1/2 years for fraud and contempt of court in a maximum-security penal colony, on charges that were trumped-up to silence him.

In a series of tweets posted on the eve of the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Navalny provided his assessment of the ongoing war in Ukraine, highlighting the political motives behind the conflict and offering a vision for a better future for both Russia and its neighbor.

Navalny, a prominent critic of the Kremlin, started by condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to initiate an unjust war of aggression against Ukraine under false pretexts. He asserted that Putin’s attempts to rally support for the war have largely failed, resulting in the reliance on convicts and forcibly mobilized individuals to sustain the Russian army.

According to Navalny, the true reasons behind the war lie within Russia itself. He argued that Putin’s pursuit of power at any cost and his desire to cement his historical legacy as a conqueror and land collector are the driving forces behind the conflict. This has led to the needless loss of innocent lives and the destruction of Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, with war crimes being committed.

Navalny further pointed out that Russia is experiencing a military defeat in the conflict. He claimed that the Kremlin’s initial rhetoric of a swift victory has given way to hysterical threats of using nuclear weapons, highlighting the realization of Russia’s military shortcomings. Navalny stressed that prolonging the war will only lead to further loss of life and ultimately result in defeat for Russia.

Calling for a change in approach, Navalny outlined a set of recommendations for a resolution to the conflict. He emphasized the need for Russia to respect Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders and allow the country to develop according to the will of its people. He also urged cooperation between Ukraine, the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom to explore ways to compensate for the damages caused by the war.

Navalny suggested that lifting restrictions on Russia’s oil and gas exports and allocating a portion of the income towards reparations could be a viable solution. However, he emphasized that this should only occur after a change of power in Russia and the end of the war. Additionally, Navalny called for the investigation of war crimes through collaboration with international institutions.

Responding to the question of Russian imperialism, Navalny dismissed the notion that all Russians inherently possess imperialistic tendencies. He highlighted the involvement of Belarus in the war as evidence that the presence of a dictator in power can drive aggression. Navalny urged for defeating those with imperial views through democratic elections, similar to how radical ideologies are rejected in developed countries.

Navalny firmly rejected the idea of acquiring new territories, stressing that Russia’s focus should be on preserving its people and developing its existing resources. He emphasized that the legacy of the war would present Russia with complex problems, which could only be resolved through a genuine and open commitment to change. Navalny argued that ending the war quickly would not only benefit Russia’s people but also have economic advantages, such as the removal of sanctions, the return of those who left, and the restoration of business confidence.

In his concluding theses, Navalny called for the dismantling of the Putin regime and its dictatorship. He advocated for free and fair elections, the convening of a Constitutional Assembly, the establishment of a parliamentary republic, independent courts, federalism, local self-governance, economic freedom, and social justice. Finally, Navalny emphasized that Russia should embrace its history and traditions while aligning itself with Europe for its development.

Navalny’s assessment offers a critical perspective on the war in Ukraine and outlines a vision for a transformed Russia. However, with Navalny currently under house arrest, it remains uncertain how his ideas will be received and whether they will influence the course of events in Russia and the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine.

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