The “Skripal Case” Is Being Replaced by the “Navalny Case”

The west hopes to find a person in Navalny who will lead a general protest against the current government in Russia

Since Aleksey Navalny was moved from the Omsk clinic to the Charité clinic in Berlin on August 22nd, political passions concerning him have been heating up at an incredible rate.

Immediately upon arrival at the clinic, Navalny was examined and it was concluded that “he is a victim of poisoning”. As was stated by German experts, “the substance of the poison is not clear, but it belongs to the group of cholinesterase inhibitors”. This was followed by a letter from Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to the Russian government. The letter says: “Due to Mr. Navalny’s prominent role in the Russian political opposition, the Russian authorities are urged to fully investigate this crime, and in full transparency. The culprits must be identified and brought to justice. We hope that Mr. Navalny will recover.”

At the same time, the German media launched a campaign around the “Navalny case”, which in its scope instantly resembled the grandiose noise around the Skripal case”. Information volleys are produced from many tools – from publications claiming to be objective like “What you need to know about Aleksey Navalny” (Deutsche Welle) to extremely aggressive ones like the article “Putin hates his people” (Bild).

Navalny’s chamber in Charité is guarded by members of the criminal police (Bundeskriminalamt); in Germany, This is only done in cases of government members or high-ranking foreign guests. Navalny was declared a “guest of the Chancellor”, although no formal decision was made on this issue. Several countries have offered him political asylum. Trump’s national security adviser, O’Brien, said that if the poisoning is confirmed, it could affect relations between Washington and Moscow.

The political criticism website NachDenkSeiten writes: “Navalny’s ‘case’ turned into a pretext for unwinding a new stage of hysteria against Russia… Like in the past, Russia is accused of every conceivable sin without convincing evidence. The list of sins looks endless: interference in the US election, involvement in poison gas attacks in Syria, the appearance of Russian hackers on Internet networks of the Bundestag, and the ‘Skripal case’… Everything is unsubstantiated.”

Information work “on Navalny” is conducted in the west in two directions at once. Simultaneously with exciting stories about Russia’s malignity, publications appear whose task is to show the impotence of the west in front of Moscow and cause an explosion of indignation from the Russian authorities. Süddeutsche Zeitung in the article “Putin dominates the escalation” writes: “From the murder of a Russian fugitive in the Tiergarten, the crimes of Russian soldiers in Libya, the threat of intervention in Belarus, and ending with the poisoning of Navalny, everywhere the [German] federal government is making efforts, negotiating and threatening, but the result is always the same – Germany has no leverage to make Putin pay … A disappointing experience remains: it turns out that Putin dominates the escalation. He is ready to break the rules and use violence. He decides what the next problem will be and whether this problem will be resolved. Whoever wants to break this vicious circle must take risks”.

The largest German tabloid Bild goes even further and covertly demands military intervention in Russian politics: “Democracy in Belarus must be won back from Putin. The wars that he is waging in Syria and Ukraine can only be ended by speaking out against him.”

NachDenkSeiten compares the reaction of the western media to the “Navalny case” and to the case of Julian Assange. The founder of the WikiLeaks website is finally brought to a complete loss of health in a British prison and is fighting for his life with his last forces. The latest videos showing meetings between Assange and his lawyer cause a shudder, but it does not cause any reaction from western human rights advocates.

The west has started a new series of an endless series about Russia as an “evil empire”. The scale to which the “Navalny case” will be inflated is likely to exceed the scale of the “Skripal case”; Angela Merkel will play a role similar to that of Theresa May in the UK. And there is a clear explanation for this.

Now in Germany, a powerful public protest against the Chancellor’s policy is growing. The protest combines dissatisfaction with Merkel’s immigration policy, the socio-economic situation of significant groups of the population, and Berlin’s eastern policy. Protest initiatives are born in different parts of Germany and begin to unite. The influential public organisation “Initiative Querdenken 711” (“Thinking across 711”) is calling for a mass rally in Berlin on August 29th, which, according to preliminary estimates, will be attended by more than 1 million people from all over the country. Major German media ignore the work being done to prepare the rally, but Merkel, knowing that the matter is serious, is preparing to repel the offensive. This can be seen in the way she reacts to the “Navalny case”. Moscow should not wait for a warming of relations with Berlin.

The “guest of the Chancellor” Navalny is used not only to inject anti-Russian passions in society, as it did with the Skripals. Now everything depends on the outcome of his treatment. If it is completed successfully and Navalny finds full legal capacity, he will be made the “leader of the Russian opposition”, like how they made a “national leader” for Belarus from the emigrant Tikhanovskaya.

The west hopes to find in Navalny a person who will lead a general protest against the government in Russia.

Dmitry Sedov

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