Espreso. Global

Navalny’s murder leaves no doubts about monster who rules Russia

21 February, 2024 Wednesday

The civilized world should now see things clearly. Putin is the new Stalin: an enemy of the West, of his own people, of civilization itself

Vladimir Putin’s murder of Alexei Navalny – with the certain knowledge it would horrify every civilized human being – should be enough to dispel the slightest shred of doubt anyone had about the monster who rules Russia. This abominable act doesn’t suddenly make Putin a murderer, because Putin has been murdering people for decades. What it does do is make it more difficult for him to confuse people in the West with their heads in the sand of inaction, or people in the East with their heads in the fog of propaganda.

Navalny himself understood the heads-I-win-tails-Putin-loses upside of his predicament better than anyone. He knew that he – by which he meant Russia – was going to be a winner either way:

If he lived, he would continue from behind bars to be Putin’s greatest critic, with a courage that inspired and a vision that gave hope. Yet, if he were assassinated, his death would outrage the world and infuse people inside and outside of Mother Russia with more courage and clearer vision.

His love for his country, hope for a free Russia, and belief in democratic values were so strong that he didn’t care about himself. All he cared about was that his life or death would tip the balance for liberty and reform. This brave and serene sense of a win-win destiny made him, in the end, sufficiently neutral between the two outcomes that he feared nothing and welcomed anything. Navalny was a secular saint and is now a secular martyr.

Every life has equal value, but when a devil kills a saint, it sends reverberations around the world and cuts deep into our hearts.

The dictator who has manipulated and murdered his own people and is an enemy of his own country didn’t just kill a man who loved that country and his fellow Russians. Putin also murdered someone who had voluntarily returned home after the despot had narrowly failed to fatally poison him with a Novichok nerve agent in 2020. After miraculously surviving, Navalny promptly booked a flight right back into the jaws of the dictator.

Such eyes-wide-open selfless courage makes Navalny’s martyrdom hard for anyone with a brain not to be provoked by, and anyone with a heart not to be moved by. Navalny has joined the ranks of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

Anyone who wasn’t already awake should now see things clearly. Putin is the new Stalin: an enemy of the West, of his own people, of civilization itself. Whether you live in St. Petersburg, Russia, or St. Petersburg, Florida, Vladimir Putin is your common enemy.

Every one of us can hold onto a bit of Navalny in our hearts to double our resolve to make Russia a “desert island economy,” support its enemies like Ukraine with armaments and aid, and undermine its allies like China and Iran with sanctions and more. Putin took Navalny’s life, but Navalny gave his own. Putin took it out of fear of change. Navalny gave it out of hope for change.

If Putin’s act leaves us in a state of mourning or anger, that’s exactly what Alexei would have wanted. It means he has not sacrificed his life for nothing. Every ounce of discomfort we feel, every drop of action we take, goes into the balance to justify his loss and generosity and tips the world toward a better future.

About the author: Mark Dixon runs the Moral Rating Agency, which aims to get companies out of Russia, Russia out of Ukraine, Putin out of Russia, and dictatorships out of the world.

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