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Valeria Z. Nollan

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Navalny, Nordstream 2, Belarus, and the American Elections: The Tangled Web of Smears against Russia


The narrative is banal and so familiar: Russia is once again accused of having “poisoned” an individual trumpeted by the Western media as threatening the Russian government’s interests. The minor political activist Alexei Navalny made the headlines after a suspicious incident at the airport in Tomsk on August 20, 2020 sickened him and necessitated emergency medical assistance. Russian doctors at the hospital in Omsk fought for his life for two days and stabilized his condition.

Questions abound concerning the way in which the events surrounding this incident have progressed. Outside of the Western media, Navalny’s importance is negligible: his occasional demonstrations in Russia have drawn small crowds, and any arrests with short detentions have come from his not obeying Russian law and giving notice to the police of the location of a given demonstration—so that police could properly secure the location for the event. Thus his ensuing arrest garners international attention as an example of the “brutality” and “arbitrariness” of Russian law enforcement. 

The average Russian citizen has little to no interest in Navalny’s political aspirations or activism. Moreover, his insignificance poses no threat to any of Russia’s six major political parties. Modern Russian society is well-functioning and law-abiding, and does not possess the kind of lawlessness that would tolerate an attempt on anyone’s life. Modern Russia maintains a record of acting in accordance with international laws and norms.
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