Russia, the People’s Republic of China, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States are each ruled by oligarchs now. They’re not the same oligarchs, and they have different, but global agendas. They support nations in much the way that people support professional sports. Supporting the Arizona Diamondbacks because I live in Arizona – doesn’t support anyone who is from Arizona, since the players are all professionals and are traded around. The regional identification is an artifice (not unlike Rollerball) that works. An oligarch living in Seattle, for example, might draw most of his wealth from China, or Cobalt mining in the Congo to build batteries for electric cars, or wherever.
Enter Alexei Navalny. A Russian court rejected an appeal today that Navalny mounted, to secure his release from jail.
Russian authorities recently detained several of his allies and warned social media companies about promoting more protests after tens of thousands rallied across Russia last weekend demanding his freedom.
Appearing in court by video link from jail, Navalny denounced the criminal proceedings against him as part of a government campaign to intimidate the opposition.
The real question you should ask yourself is which oligarchs support Navalny and which support Putin. Putin is reliable but he’s getting ready to fade into the sunset. Meanwhile, Navalny, his heir apparent is saying, “You won’t succeed in scaring tens of millions of people who have been robbed by that government,” he said. “Yes, you have the power now to put me in handcuffs, but it’s not going to last forever.”
The 44-year-old Navalny, the best-known critic of President Vladimir Putin’s government, was arrested Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusations, but there is little doubt that they did it.
Is it all kabuki theater to convince the Russian people that he’s an outsider will fight for them. Meanwhile, who is paying his bills?
Navalny’s supporters are organizing another round of rallies for Sunday. Police on Wednesday searched Navalny’s apartment, a rented accommodation where his wife, Yulia, has been living and the residences of several of his associates and supporters.
If he wins, or when he wins, will the Russian deep state calm down and embrace him?