Political Prisoner Navalny: ‘Drunk Granddad’ Putin Sending Russia into Another Afghanistan
Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny jeered at his nemesis Vladimir Putin for holding a stage-managed Security Council session Monday, a prelude to Putin declaring two regions of eastern Ukraine to be “independent” and sending in Russian troops to “protect” them.
Navalny wrote a string of tweets in which he dismissed Putin’s Security Council as a “gathering of dotards and thieves” and compared Putin to Grandpa Navalny “getting drunk at a family celebration and annoying everyone with his stories about how world politics actually works.”
“It would be funny if the drunk grandfather was not a man of 69 who holds power in a country with nuclear weapons,” Navalny wrote.
1/16 Yesterday I watched the “session of the Security Council”, this gathering of dotards and thieves (it seems to me that our Anti-Corruption Foundation has done investigations into the corruption of every single one of them).
— Alexey Navalny (@navalny) February 22, 2022
Navalny compared Putin and his Security Council setting up their Ukraine incursion to the “gathering of nomenklatura dotards” from the Soviet Union who saw themselves as players at the “grand chessboard” of geopolitics in the early 1980s and decided the smart move was to “send Soviet troops into Afghanistan.”
A bird sits on a tree next to a monument to Soviet soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan during Soviet invasion of 1979-1989 at Moscow’s Poklonnaya Hill War Memorial Park on April 2, 2021. For the decade a total of 620,000 Soviet soldiers served with the forces in Afghanistan. The total irrecoverable personnel losses of the Soviet Armed Forces amounted about to 15,000. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)
Navalny said Putin’s government sees the Ukraine incursion as a way to “divert the attention of the people of Russia from real problems – the development of the economy, rising prices, reigning lawlessness” by infusing the population with “imperial hysteria.”
In this photo taken from video provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, Russian army tanks are loaded onto railway platforms to move back to their permanent base after drills in Russia. Russia says it is returning more troops and weapons to bases, but NATO says it sees no sign of a drawdown as fears that Moscow could invade Ukraine soon persist. Russia has massed about 150,000 troops east, north and south of Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
“Bare propaganda is no longer enough for the senile thieves. They want blood. They want to move around tank figurines on a map of hostilities,” he charged.
Navalny warned that Putin’s belligerent speech challenging the legitimacy of Ukraine as an independent nation could be easily adapted to other regions Russia wishes to dominate, from Belarus and the Baltic states to Azerbaijan, which recently scored a military victory against Russia’s security client Armenia. Perhaps not coincidentally, Putin invited Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to visit Moscow during a phone conversation on Monday.
Navalny accused Putin of squandering Russia’s potential for “powerful development in the 21st Century,” with resources ranging from “oil to educated citizens,” in a mad pursuit of “war, dirt, lies, and the palace with golden eagles in Gelendzhik.”
Gelendzhik is the lavish and secretive estate, allegedly built by billionaire Russian oligarchs as a tribute to Putin, that was exposed by Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation in January 2021.
Navalny concluded by urging the Russian people to rise up against Putin and his “kleptocrats,” who he described as the true enemies of Russia and the “main threat” to its future, not Ukraine, America, or Europe.
“Putin kills, and wants to kill more,” Navalny told the Russian populace. “The Kremlin is making you poorer, not Washington. It is not in London that economic policy is being conducted in such a way that a pensioner’s ‘borscht set’ has doubled in price, but in Moscow.”
Navalny has been imprisoned ever since he returned to Moscow in early 2021 from Germany, where he received treatment after Putin’s agents tried to murder him with chemical weapons. Navalny was arrested for allegedly violating the terms of his parole from a previous embezzlement conviction by leaving the country. Navalny maintains the embezzlement charges were trumped up as a means of silencing him.
On Tuesday, at a closed-door trial held inside the Pokrov prison where he is being held, prosecutors added new charges of fraud and contempt of court that could extend Navalny’s three-year sentence to 15 years. Navalny’s allies claim the Putin regime pressured donors to his anti-corruption organization into pressing “absurd” charges of fraud against him.
“We believe the persecution of Navalny is illegal, is distinctly political in nature, and aimed at discrediting and removing him from political activity,” said his lawyer Olga Mikahailova.