Having Narrowly Escaped A Coup, Putin’s Imprisonments Of Nalvany And Zhukov Should Serve As A Future Warning For The US - DMT NEWS

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Having Narrowly Escaped A Coup, Putin’s Imprisonments Of Nalvany And Zhukov Should Serve As A Future Warning For The US


Article by WN.Com Correspondent Dallas Darling

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s defiant pledge to return to Moscow from Germany after surviving a poisoning attack and subsequent arrest has put strongman Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin in another bind. Instead of allowing his most ardent critic to freely return to Russia, Putin opted for weakness by handing Navalny a lengthy prison term and turning him into a global cause celebre (1). He did the same to Yegor Zhukov in 2019. Zhukov had campaigned for a seat in Moscow’s city council and was accused by Putin’s government of “extremism” for advocating nonviolent protest and for calling the Russian leader a “madman.” He was beaten and jailed. (2)

Narrow Escape

Most Americans do not realize how close the United States came to an authoritarian regime on Jan. 6, like Putin’s, ruled by an absolute leader and one-party system backed by millions of dangerous and violent extremists with conspiratorial views. Prosecutors now believe supporters of the president planned to “capture and assassinate elected officials” in their siege of the Capitol building, according to a new court filing. In the span of hours, the country finally witnessed the price of its five-year experiment turning its mass and social media and election process over to an unhinged demagogue who amassed so much power that he embodied millions.

The consequences were deadly: six people have died due to the failed coup, including two Capitol Police officers.

Some of the president’s supporters were on the FBI’s terrorist list, armed and ready for war.

An Alabama man allegedly parked a pickup truck with 11 homemade bombs, an assault rifle, and a handgun two blocks from the Capitol hours before authorities discovered it. Others carried assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, telling acquaintances they were going to shoot or run over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pipe bombs were also found. (3) Trump and his followers had borrowed from the playbook of their favorite strongman: Putin.

Putin, Navalny, and Zhukov

Putin’s endless lying and corruption and the cynical disregard for human life that can lead to despair is why Navalny was poisoned and Zhukov beaten and imprisoned. Both had shown great resolve and courage against a repressive government and risked their lives to keep alive the hope that a different society can be created - something authoritarians fear the most. Putin, like Trump, was “everyman” and obsessed with his self-image. Neither could he have any opponents, calling for a “Pinochet formula” in Russia but leaving out memories of the junta’s mass violence. Most important, there was no differentiation between personal and national interest. (4)

Zhukov, a college student, had campaigned for a seat in Moscow’s city council and was accused by Putin’s government of “extremism” for advocating nonviolent protest and calling the Russian leader a “madman.” His court testimony highlighted the hypocrisy of Putin’s claim to be the defender of Christianity and traditional values and pointed out the Russian leader’s corruption and his aim of “dehumanizing us in one another’s eyes.” For Zhukov, Christianity meant loving your neighbor and taking up “the burdens of the world.” “Love is trust, empathy, humanity, mutual aid, and care. A society built on such love is a strong society,” Zhukov said. (5)

Navalny’s return to Moscow drew gasps from admirers and critics alike. Leading the Progress Party (named “The People”) and founder of Anti-Corruption, he is a direct challenge to Putin who has seen his popularity fall in recent years and could become a major political factor ahead of polls later this year. He also had led a series of election fraud and anti-corruption rallies after losing to Putin in 2018 - where he was attacked by unknown assailants, and protested “the president for life” amendment, calling it a “coup” and a “violation of the constitution.” Putin later took advantage of the amendment by declaring himself President for Life. (6)

The “Big Lie”

There are parallels between Putin and Trump. A damning new report revealed how Trump’s team was woefully unprepared when agents seized thousands of children from their asylum-seeking parents who were often imprisoned in concentration camps after entering the US.

“Both parents and children - who were often told by US officials that they would never see each other again - have suffered tremendous emotional and psychological trauma.”

In addition to driving mothers and fathers to suicide, migrant women endured forced surgical removal of reproductive organs. Doctors and human rights officials called it “torture” and “state-sanctioned child abuse.” (7)

The Capitol coup, on Jan. 6, was triggered by Trump’s malfeasance and incompetence and the millions who embraced his “Big Lie.” They could not accept the hypocrisy of their failed agenda which led to an economic downturn, exhaustion for state thievery and violence, a losing war, or the mishandling of a public health crisis. Choosing to prioritize self-preservation and tribalism over transparency and an honest reckoning, they chose instead to sacrifice the public good and so lacked the ability to feel empathy for others and act on their behalf. America came close to a president for life, including a culture that dehumanizes each other in each other’s eyes.

At Their Worst

Strongmen are at their worst when they are most needed. They blame, thinking they know truths others cannot see. Putin has already repeated Trump’s lies: The series of events which erupted on Capitol Hill were caused by Antifa and pro-Trump insurrectionists were merely peaceful demonstrators. (8) Putin and Trump are consequently solipsists - the self is all that can be known to exist, the principles of reason, evidence, and shared knowledge required for the function of democracy ignored or defied. Trump’s solipsism and strongman rule ultimately destroyed his presidency before more people became victims. If only the same could be said of Putin’s.

Having narrowly escaped a coup, Putin’s imprisonment of Nalvany and Zhukov (and the millions that support them if only symbolically) should serve as a future warning for the US.

Dallas Darling (darling@wn.com)

(1) https://www.foxnews.com/world/kremlin-foe-alexei-navalny-returns-to-russia.

(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yegor_Zhukov.

(3) https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/09/politics/donald-trump-dangerous-capitol-riot/index.html.

(4) Ben-Ghiat, Ruth. Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present. New York, New York: WW Norton Company, 2020., pp 57-58.

(5) https://publicorthodoxy.org/2019/12/20/beyond-secular-critique-the-trial-speech-of-yegor-zhukov/.

(6) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexei_Navalny.

(7) https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/01/14/damning-new-ig-report-says-aclu-shows-just-how-far-trump-team-was-willing-go-destroy.

(8) https://www.rawstory.com/trump-riot-2649960801/trump-insurrectionists-attack-capitol-police-officer.


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