Russia and the Navalny Case

Democracy and freedom for workers and the leftist opposition, not for agents of imperialism, neo-liberals, neo-Nazis, xenophobes, like Navalny

Alexey Navalny is for Russia, what Juan Guaidó is for Venezuela or Yoani Sanchez for Cuba. The image of the three was constructed as political “dissidents” from governments of enemy nations of the USA. These nations have been subject to economic and diplomatic sanctions for decades and their siege by the military bases of the most powerful army on the planet, which also commands NATO troops, is increasing.

Despite some differences, the political function of the three is basically the same. They operate for the internal destabilization of the adversary and for its international demonization to justify external intervention, sanctions and aggression against the sovereignty of their own countries. They also advocate a political-ideological, neoliberal platform.

Hybrid War

In the 21st century, imperialism has been trying to promote and sell these new types of dissidents as leaders of “colour revolutions”, movements whose results only benefit imperialism. These leaders appear to be concerned with the interests of their countrymen, but they defend policies and measures, such as sanctions, that severely punish the population of their countries. Some present themselves as bloggers, like Navalny and Sanchez, others as “politicians”.

In the case of Guaidó, demoralisation is evident and emblematic. His term as a national deputy ended in 2020, he was not re-elected to anything by the Venezuelan people but is recognized as Venezuela’s “interim president” only by the USA and its entourage of bootlicking governments around the world. After all the attacks, invasions, condemnations, lawfares, attempts at a coup d’état were defeated, imperialism only had the possibility of formally proclaiming its own victory and selling it as real.

The impotence of the USA against Venezuela gives the measure of the demoralization of the Empire and the decay of its hegemony precisely in its “backyard”, Latin America, and in Venezuela particularly, where the policy of permanent counter-revolution, of coups to defeat chavismo, has been defeated over the past 20 years. It seems that the imperialist lion has been made toothless and can no longer bite and chew its victims.

In these three nations the ineffectiveness of hybrid war accompanies the decline of the hegemonic power of the USA. In the last 80 years this tactic has proved, in most cases, much more effective than all the expensive investments in conventional wars. During this period, the change in orientation and investment from conventional war to hybrid war was not greater only due to the reluctance of the Military Industrial Complex to lose its budget. It also became clear that an immediate victory in a conventional war can bring about a strategic defeat for imperialism in terms of the political, social control of the defeated country. A classic case of this is Iraq (see Decadence of US imperialism catapulting Iran’s regional leadership), and perhaps the same is true regarding Afghanistan and Libya.

In December 2020 Hillary Clinton issued a long warning demanding a reduction in obsolete conventional military investments from Cold War II, and greater investment in the State Department, that is, in the Ministry that conducts the empire’s foreign policy of the coup d’état:

“China – along with Russia – poses a totally different threat than the one posed by the Soviet Union. Today’s competition is not a traditional global military competition for strength and firepower. Dusting the Cold War manual will do little to prepare the United States for opponents who use new tools to fight in the grey zone between war and peace, exploit its open Internet and economy to undermine American democracy and expose the vulnerability of many of its legacy weapon systems … Budget changes should aim to prepare the United States for an asymmetric conflict with technologically advanced adversaries … A renewed commitment to diplomacy would strengthen the United States’ military position. US alliances are an asset that neither China nor Russia can match, allowing Washington to project strength around the world.”

A balance of national security – How Washington should think about power,

Without renouncing the policy of continental siege with dozens of NATO military bases, but betting much more on intelligence and infiltration operations, hybrid warfare is a type of conflict that focuses on asymmetric forces, parastatal instruments, civil mobilizations, online propaganda, social media networks, international media campaigns, aggressive diplomacy, “adaptive approaches” (an expression used by Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Command of the Armed Forces of Russia), for the fragmentation of opposing defenses, including public opinion, projecting new dissidents as popular leaders .

Due to the great size of its investments in this paraphernalia of combined instruments, exploiting the contradictions of the opponents, it is possible to convert any bribed rogue into a great and charismatic leader supposedly of the masses. The greatest evidence of the success of this tactic was the coup process that made Bolsonaro the president of a country the size of Brazil.

The new “political dissidents”, mere agents of imperialism, are sold as “leaders of the opposition”, and become epicenters of the imperialist policy of an indirect war modality, aiming at the fall of governments and regime change, which has been refined by the CIA since the successful 1953 coup in Iran.

However, despite the favourable results in Honduras, Paraguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia (until 2020), Libya, the hybrid war has not been successful with regard to the objective of regime change with Cuba since 1959, with Venezuela since 2002 and with Putin’s Russia. In relation to Cuba, the hybrid war is for capitalist restoration in the workers’ state and in Russia, Navalny is against the trends that point to Putin’s state capitalism.

On February 3, the strategic weapons reduction treaty, the new START, was renewed until February 5, 2026, between Biden and Putin. The bilateral agreement limits the arsenals of both to 1,550 nuclear warheads for each country (30% less than the one set in 2002) and 800 launchers and heavy bombers. In addition to the fact that both obey the logic of fear of nuclear war, the ease with which the treaty was renewed reveals that today the possibilities of nuclear war generate less tension between the USA and Russia than hybrid war:

“The Biden government said it is analyzing a series of Russian bad deeds and weighing how the US will respond, including a response to Russia by carrying out a massive cyberattack by government agencies and private companies, reported Russian rewards on the heads of American soldiers in Afghanistan and interference in the US internal elections.

The United States is also evaluating actions against Moscow for the attempted chemical murder of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny and has declared that his arrest and subsequent sentence in a Moscow court is ‘politically motivated’. The United States has also condemned the arrest of thousands of Navalny supporters who are protesting against his detention and government corruption.”

USA and Russia agree on extending the nuclear weapons treaty for five years,

Great Britain and the European Union follow the USA in the campaign of demonization of Russia and promotion of Navalny. These European nations do so not only because of the soft power of US diplomacy, but also because they want to participate in the booty that would come from the victory of a colour revolution in Russia, turning the country back into a brothel for the country’s international plunder as it was during the Yeltsin years (1991-1999).

US Military Bases in Germany

For its part, Germany is increasingly faced with a paradox. The most important imperialist power in the EU has been militarily occupied by US bases since 1945. Even today Germany is a colony of the USA from the military point of view. The United States military has 40 military installations in Germany. On the other hand, Germany is dependent on Russian gas. That is why, while defending Navalny, Merkel strengthens her relations with China and defends Nord Stream 2, a pipeline that will take Russian gas directly to Germany without passing through Ukraine.

Who is Navalny and what is his programme for Russia?

Putin’s main opponent in almost all Russian elections has been the Stalinist Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). It is understandable that this is so because the CPRF is the main successor to the Soviet bureaucracy that governed the country until 1991.

Communist Party of the Russian Federation

However, Alexey Navalny is presented by the Western media, inside and outside Russia, as the main opponent of Putin.  (See Alexéi Navalny: what you care for, what you do (and why you don’t care), ).

In the last presidential elections, in 2018, the CPRF supported the candidacy of the businessman Pavel Grudinin, obtaining, although the second place in the election, a lesser vote than in previous years, 11%. Also the lack of mass support from pro-Western neoliberal parties, even if we unify the votes of the two parties with this profile, the “Civic Initiative” and Yabloko do not reach 3% of the votes.

In 2010 Navalny received a grant from Yale University (Connecticut, United States), becoming part of the “Greenberg World Fellows Program”, a program that annually selects a group of people from around the world to become “global leaders”. The program is a kind of “School of the Americas” for the formation of civilian coup leaders.

In 2011, Navalny founded the Anti-Corruption Foundation NGO (in Russian, донд борьбы с коррупцией). In 2014, the Lava Jato judicial operation was created in Brazil. Both are institutions created during the Obama administration and serve as instruments of the USA to harass the political forces that in 2006 created the BRICS. The lawfare operation was fundamental in Brazil to persecute the PT, arrest Lula and get him out of the presidential race in 2018, ensuring the stability of the coup process and the election of Bolsonaro.

But, unlike Brazil, Russia, ruled by a former KGB agent, did not grant to the pro-Western opposition the country’s vice presidency, financial policy, the media, and the prosecutor. These errors were made by Dilma, even after Eduard Snowden, who went into exile in Russia, announced in 2013 that the PT government and Petrobras were the target of a profound spy operation from the US National Security Agency (NSA), the private arm of the CIA in which Snowden worked.

Corruption is in the DNA of the capitalist state, the management committee, legal or illegal, of the affairs of the bourgeois class. In Russia it is no different. The most corrupt, most mafia-dominated period of Russian politics was when its government was the most deeply under the control of the USA and the European Union, during the dismantling of Russia in the 1990s, when many of Navalny’s current sponsors looted the country in an unprecedented way until it hit rock bottom in the August 1998 speculative attack. Before that, only during the invasion of the USSR by the Nazi army had the country been so looted.

During the 1990s, “shock therapy” was applied to the former Soviet economy, inspired by Pinochet’s neoliberal model. An emblematic article, almost a directive for the new economic policy of restoration, was published in the Washington Post during the rise of Yeltsin, which considered the political regime that could be installed:

“It may upset Western economists, but history shows that economically successful nations can have free markets without free people. Democratic reforms are not essential for explosive economic growth. ‘There is no doubt that there can be rapid economic growth under a dictatorship,’ acknowledges Mancur Olson, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland who specializes in economic development issues. ‘There were dictatorships that understood and respected market forces.’

Pinochet’s Chile, a Pragmatic Model for the Soviet Economy,

And that was what Yeltsin did in 1993 in the war against the legislature. This still went by the name of Supreme Soviet, had great popular support and had approved the impeachment of Yeltsin. On September 28, public protesters against the Yeltsin government took to the streets of Moscow. In the repression of the demonstrations, there were several deaths. On Sunday, October 3, protesters removed police cordons throughout parliament, took over the city hall and tried to invade the Ostankino television centre. On Yéltsin’s orders, the army broke into the building of the Supreme Soviet in the early hours of October 4. The ten-day conflict was the worst street fighting in Moscow since the October 1917 Revolution. According to government estimates, 187 people were killed and 437 wounded.

Like Navalny today, at the time, Yeltsin argued that

“Democratic reforms are essential for economic prosperity” (idem).

The architects of the Navalny campaign appear to be the same ones who wrote Yeltsin’s script:

“The most recent change in the Russian regime, from the Soviet Union to the modern Russian state, again demanded a conspiracy of factors that worked in favour of the opposition. The main leader of the Russian opposition, Boris Yeltsin, like Navalny, played the populist card well, complaining loudly and always within reach of a microphone about scarcity, corruption and inefficiency.”

It is likely that only Navalny’s courage can change the power in which Putin is entrenched,

But Navalny defends a neoliberal program much more radical than Yeltsin himself:

Entrepreneurs, move on!

Our program includes a wide range of measures to free entrepreneurs from the pressure of bureaucracy, security officials and monopolies. We are implementing a program to demonopolize the economy and reduce monopoly prices. We will reduce the number of regulatory bodies and liquidate some of them. We will prohibit commercial inspections – control of operations will be transferred to an electronic form … The judicial system created by us, totally independent from the executive branch, will reliably protect private property from invasions and arbitrariness by government agencies … In Russia now there is a kind of incomprehensible capitalism, in which the state controls more than half of the economy and commands businessmen. Such a system hinders the country’s development … We will make peace with the civilized world,

An economy without corruption, monopolies and bureaucratic ties

Putin’s system is structured in a simple way: the extortion of honest businessmen and ordinary citizens is constantly increasing in the interest of a limited circle of officials, their relatives and friends, as well as the monopolies associated with them. We see the completely different economic system: a compact state that provides society with important social and infrastructure services (medicine, education, transportation, the social security system) with total non-interference in the country’s economic life and the absence of large state monopolies.”

Navalny Platform in 2018,

Navalny is a proven NATO agent. There exists footage from the Russian Federal Security Service, the FSB, in which the Executive Director of the Navalny Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), Vladimir Ashurkov, meets with the United Kingdom’s Secretary of Political Affairs, James William Thomas Ford, in the UK embassy in Russia, and asks for greater investments in its movement.

“During the meeting, Ashurkov indicated that ‘if we had more money, we would expand our team, of course’, adding that his goal of getting ‘a little money’ like $ 10, $ 20 million a year ‘would make a huge difference’. He suggested, as can be seen in the video, that the organization’s activities would benefit London companies (British capital).  ‘And that’s not a lot of money for people who have billions at stake,’ said Ashkurov. ‘This is not a huge amount of money for people who have billions at stake. And that is the message I’m trying to get across in my fundraising efforts and talking to people in the business community’”.

Navalny’s links to British Intelligence Service Revealed

For liberals Navalny became a symbol of the struggle for rights and democracy in Russia and in the world today, a Slavic version of Nelson Mandela. Not infrequently pseudo-Trotskyist parties and internationals, such as the Russian POI, the LIT section of the Brazilian PSTU, the Austrian RCIT, the Argentine PTS, the TMI, linked to the “Left Marxists” of the Brazilian PSOL, defend Navalny, with greater or lesser reservations, supporting him and his demonstrations even more.

In fact, Navalny was expelled from the Russian Liberal Party in 2007 for his xenophobic nationalism, which was damaging the party’s image. He founded his own party and attracted the sympathy of skinhead and neo-Nazi organizations (banned by the Russian government after the Ukrainian Euromaidan), carried out political campaigns against immigrants, spread messages of support for the violence of the Russian anti-immigration movement, some of the most ferocious of which were responsible for hundreds of racially motivated murders. This can be seen in the video: Alexei Navalny and the Russian Nazis.

Despite the stereotype of Russians as whites with blue eyes and Orthodox Christians, the Russian Federation is a multi-national state with 193 ethnic groups. A great many of the people of the Russian Federation have dark skin and many are Muslim.

Ethnic Composition of the USSR

However, in a video on his channel, Navalny urges Russian “good citizens” to arm themselves and support the legalization of short-range weapons in order to exterminate dark-skinned Muslim militants in the Caucasus, whom Navalny likens to cockroaches. He says in the video that although cockroaches can be killed with a slipper, in the case of dark-skinned Muslims,  I recommend a pistol” (

Navalny supported the Euromaidan neo-Nazi coup in which Biden, then US vice president, was a direct beneficiary, through the appointment of Hunter Biden, his son as advisory director of Burisma Holdings, a major producer of natural gas in Ukraine, after the coup was successful. (Ukraine reveals payment of Burisma to Biden by lobby,

Biden in Ukraine

But, in the civil war, the country was divided in half, with the population of the most industrialized part of the territory armed and autonomous from the capital Kiev. And on the Crimean Peninsula, pro-Russian Ukrainians stormed large government buildings, military bases and telecommunications facilities on the peninsula and forced local authorities to hold a referendum on reunification with Russia, becoming an autonomous republic of the Russian Federation.

Crimea has historically been a geopolitical region where the borders between the classical world and the Pontic steppe are found, stretching from the north of the Black Sea to the east of the Caspian Sea. Since 1783 Crimea belonged to the Russian empire. After the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 it was converted into an autonomous province of the USSR. In 1954, in a gesture for the brotherhood of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples, Khrushchev handed over Crimea to Ukraine.

From the height of the authority conferred on him by the imperialist media, as “Putin’s main opponent” (as well as Guaidó in relation to Maduro), the blogger demanded punishments more severe than those that the western powers of the USA and the EU had imposed, for the Crimean defection.

However, Navalny behaves like a chameleon and is always denying what he said, to adapt to different situations in a puerile pragmatism, just as Trump and Bolsonaro do.

Between 2011 and 2013 there were important protests against Putin. As one of the leaders of this movement, Alexey Sakhnin, a member of the Left Front at that time, reports:

“Navalny received support mainly from the capital’s middle class and from the largest cities. But the working class and the poor majority in general did not trust him. They remained indifferent to his anti-corruption agenda, seeing corruption as just one of the techniques to enrich the elite and not the foundation of class inequality.”

How a Russian nationalist named Alexei Navalny became a liberal hero,

Thus, in the same 2018 program in which he advocates privatizations and the minimal state, to please Western businessmen and speculators, he also tries to seduce unwary working class people by saying nice words like that people should live with dignity: decent wages, decent pensions.

“Alexei Navalny’s budget policy priority will be the financing of health and education. Government spending in these spheres will double and, in terms of its share of GDP, Russia will be equal to developed countries”.

The same disguise exists at the level of international politics, as recorded in Wikipedia:

“In March 2014, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Navalny called for more sanctions against officials and businessmen linked to Putin and proposed a list of sanctions for Western countries, saying that previous US and EU sanctions were ‘ridiculed’. In October 2014, Navalny said in an interview that, despite the fact that Crimea was ‘seized’ illegally, ‘the reality is that Crimea is now part of Russia’. When asked whether he would return Crimea to Ukraine if he became a Russian president, he said: ‘Is Crimea some kind of sausage sandwich to be passed around? I don’t think so.’ In 2015, Navalny deplored Russia’s actions  ‘welcoming Muslims’ and the opening of the largest mosque in Moscow.”

Putin: from the international plundering of the Yeltsin era to the ruler of the Petro-State that is the main US military opponent today

Putin projected himself as a great leader of Russia after the scorched earth policy, the colonization of the Yeltsin era, between 1991 and 1998. According to geopolitical writer William Engdahl, in his work Manifest Destiny – Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance (2018):

“Boris Yeltsin and his ‘free market reformers’ were part of one of the most criminally covert loot operations in CIA history. It was the rape of Russia by a corrupt circle of treacherous Soviet generals, together with their protected young KGB selection, who were transformed by the operation into billionaire oligarchs. This economic rape was only possible through Western banks and Washington’s so-called ‘democracy machines’ under three successive presidents – Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and Bill Clinton. Few people in the West could understand the sadness and anger of Russian President Vladimir Putin when he said to a select audience of Russian Duma politicians in the Kremlin in September 2016, ‘You know how I feel about the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was unnecessary.’

Putin did not need to describe ‘that. Everyone present knew that he meant the wild destruction of life, of the feeling of worth and pride for most Russians until 1990.”

p. 29

Later, Engdahl reveals in detail that senior CIA officials participated in this rape, including Bill Casey, the founder of NED, the private agency for dirty and hybrid operations, Rothschild bankers, George Soros, banker Bruce Rappaport, founder of Inter Maritime Bank of New York from the tax haven of Antigua and Barbuda, and even the Brazilian Edmundo Safra:

“Edmond Safra’s Banco Safra of New York branch took over 20% of Rappaport’s Inter Maritime Bank of New York. Beginning in 1992 with the plunder of Russia by the CIA through handpicked oligarchs such as Khodorkovsky and Berezovsky, the Safra Bank was immersed in the laundering of billions for Yeltsin’s select circle of oligarchs.”

p.47. see also F. William Engdahl interview:  “To understand Brazil’s rape in 2016: Rape from Russia in the 1990s ,

Throughout this plunder, Putin held high government posts as deputy director of the Yeltsin administration’s Asset Management department. In July 1998, he was appointed director of the Federal Security Service (FSB, successor to the KGB), a position which, from March of the following year, he held simultaneously with that of secretary of the National Security Council. Beginning in 1999, Putin took control of the country, reestablishing strategic sectors such as oil, gas and defense, reestablishing the status that the country had under the USSR. Putin, then leader of the oligarchy that operationalized capitalist restoration, defeated opponents of the left and right, respectively, led by the CPRF, and the opposition wing of the capitalist oligarchy.

In his Bonapartism, Putin projects himself alongside China in world political geopolitics, setting limits to US domination, in Ukraine, mainly in Syria, and currently in Venezuela. Putin and Lavrov conquered a new space for Russia in the world, after the debacle of the 90s to the point that the country became a world leader for the manufacture and export of tactical and strategic weapons, missile systems, such as Avangard, hypersonic weapons, and Sputinik V vaccines against the pandemic.

But in 2019-2020, Russia’s economic and social situation worsened. The global recession has affected the Russian economy. Economic difficulties intensified with the COVID-19 epidemic. Putin tries to serve the appetites of the employer’s oligarchy in a country deeply plagued by imperialist sanctions. In this context, the growing poverty and concentration of capital deepens.

In an article the Communist Party of the Russian Federation denounces this:

“Today, in Russia, there is colossal social inequality, tens of thousands of companies have gone bankrupt, citizens’ real income has fallen for the seventh consecutive year. The health care system is chronically underfunded and therefore cannot provide high quality medical care, the country is dying: the death rate last year exceeded the birth rate by 700,000.”

Krasnodar region. Statement by the Communist Party Regional Committee On the holding of public events by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation on February 23, 2021,

The wage losses have been huge, 15% already during the year 2021. On February 1, these losses totalled 1.87 billion roubles, as recorded by Tass. The biggest costs for workers’ families are housing. According to Rosstat, in 2020, the average salary in Russia was 30,500 rubles. But to buy a one-room apartment in any Russian settlement, with the exception of Moscow and St. Petersburg, you need a salary of 100,000 rubles a month. (Experts said how much you need to earn to buy an “odnushka” ). One in five Russian families is a mortgage slave.

The regime uses justifications of controlling the pandemic and the need to defend against imperialist agents to restrict democratic rights also for the leftist opposition.

“However, under the guise of the coronavirus epidemic, we were denied permission to hold this public event. At the same time, contrary to the rules of the law, employees did not even bother to offer alternative sites or other formats for carrying out the action. We were simply told: no.

In all official, “pro-government” media, appeals are constantly heard: not to go to uncoordinated protest actions, to respect the law. At the same time, the ruling party has not only tightened legislation on public events in recent months, but has also deliberately blocked any possibility of rallies, demonstrations and pickets being held legally. Thus, the ruling party itself provokes and pushes people into illegal and uncoordinated forms of protest actions. People simply have no other choice.

We emphasize that the Communist Party has always defended the observance of the law. But none of our notifications about holding public events in central Krasnodar, including the days of the Red Army, Red May Day, Great Victory, Great October, sacred to millions of citizens, have been agreed upon in recent years. The authorities, at best, mockingly suggested that we go to the outskirts of the city.”

Krasnodar region. Statement by the Communist Party Regional Committee On the holding of public events by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation on February 23, 2021, ibid

This strangulation of political rights both for the right and for the left organizations leading the working class, helps the right-wing and imperialism, just as in the time of the USSR the policy of bureaucratic repression of Stalinism favoured imperialist anti-communist and Russophobic propaganda in the name of freedom and democracy.

However, even taking into account the largest pro-Navalny demonstrations, uniting neo-Nazis, xenophobes, liberals, pro-Westerners and some pseudo-leftists, they were no more than 50,000 demonstrators in Moscow, a city with more than 12 million inhabitants.

What sense would it make to defend a movement that, in the name of democracy and historical freedom, that once victorious, expands the dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie against oppressed workers, immigrants, religions and ethnicities?

For Marxists, democracy is a political system, not a universal value or principle. Bourgeois democracy is the democracy of the rich. Even if we are against the coups d’état orchestrated by imperialism and dictatorial bourgeois regimes, the defense of democratic rights under capitalism must be subordinated to the expansion of the struggle for the strategic interests of the exploited class, in order to reach a political system based on the democracy of and for the workers, the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie.

So, the defense of democracy depends on the interests of social classes and the struggle between nations. In this case, it is a matter of defending the oppressed nation, Russia, from a hybrid, camouflaged war, making use of democratic struggles to drag the country back to the kind of destruction of living conditions experienced during the Yeltsin era. If successful, a colour revolution in Russia could have disastrous consequences for the struggle to end imperialist hegemony over the globe. So Navalny is not one of us and we shouldn’t move a finger to get him out of prison. If he depends on our efforts, he will rot.

In exceptional situations of hybrid war, where the country, in this case Russia is under an asymmetric imperialist offensive, as Belarus was a few months ago in acute form, we defend the right to organize and demonstrate only for parties and organizations that defend workers’ democracy, full union organization, those which are enemies of Western sanctions, privatizations, neoliberalism, imperialism, xenophobia and fascism. This dividing line marks the difference between the false defenders of democracy and imperialist freedom and the true defenders of the civil and democratic rights of the majority of the population. So, we do not defend Navalny and his pro-imperialist demonstrations, we defend the full rights of unions to demonstrate.

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