Aleksei Navalny’s death and the war drive against Russia

Why has the big business media given so much coverage to the death of Aleksei Navalny? The New York Times ran at least 56 articles about the Russian political figure since he died in a Siberian prison on Feb. 16. 

Nobody should die in jail. Prisons shouldn’t be dangerous, and inmates who are ill should be taken to a hospital.

Socialists look forward to building a future society where there are no prisons.

U.S. prisons are particularly dangerous. Just last year, 10 prisoners died in Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail. One of those who died, 34-year-old Samuel Lawrence, complained that he had been beaten. 

It’s the United States — not the Russian Federation or the People’s Republic of China — that’s the world’s greatest jailer. Over two million people are locked up across the U.S. Almost all are poor.

It was a lack of medical care that caused Henry Winston to become blind while incarcerated in the Terre Haute, Indiana, U.S. Penitentiary in 1958. The Black communist leader had been jailed for his political beliefs using a thought control law called the Smith Act.

Political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal is being denied adequate medical care in a Pennsylvania prison. Earlier, Abu-Jamal and other inmates had been denied treatment for hepatitis, a liver disease.

The real reason for the media uproar about Aleksei Navalny’s death is the proxy war against the Russian Federation in Ukraine. The halo of martyrdom placed upon Navalny is being used to get Congress to approve another $61.7 billion of arms to prolong this bloody conflict.

President Biden is bragging about how much of this money will go to war profiteers like General Dynamics. The production of 155-millimeter artillery shells is set to increase six times over three years.

Providing billions more for the war in Ukraine is just as obscene as the $14 billion that Genocide Joe wants to give to the Zionist regime, which has killed 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza. All of this money is stolen from poor and working people.

Who was Navalny?

Forty-seven years old when he died, Navalny was an unsuccessful capitalist politician who became a favorite of the U.S. and Western European capitalist powers.

Navalny appealed to racists by attacking migrants. He demonstrated alongside fascists in the annual “Russia March” demonstrations. Doesn’t that sound like Donald Trump?

The Russian Federation is a multinational state with millions of people from other ethnic backgrounds. Never forget that 27 million Soviet people from nearly 200 nationalities died defeating Hitler.

Eighty percent of the Nazi war machine’s casualties occurred fighting the Soviets on the Eastern Front. Unlike the U.S. armed forces, which under Jim Crow laws even had a segregated blood supply, all the Soviet nationalities fought side by side in the Red Army against the fascists.

Many Russians take pride in that. Recognizing the sacrifices of other nationalities doesn’t diminish the heroism of the Russian people.

Over 2,000 Ukrainians were awarded the socialist country’s highest military honor, Hero of the Soviet Union. The present Ukrainian regime has demolished thousands of monuments commemorating anti-fascists.

Nazis murdered more than a quarter of the population in Belarus, which was occupied for three years. Partisans there played a vital role behind enemy lines, blowing up railway tracks and attacking enemy forces.

Although the Nazis didn’t occupy the Uzbek Soviet Republic, 420,000 Uzbeks died fighting them. Uzbeks are among the peoples from the former Central Asian Soviet republics that Navalny wanted to round up and kick out.

The unity achieved in defeating the Nazis can be seen in the backgrounds of Soviet leaders. Riding on horses together in Moscow’s Red Square at the 1945 Victory Parade were Marshal Georgy Zhukov, who was Russian, and Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky, who was Polish.

Gen. Ivan Chernyakhovsky, the youngest general appointed to lead an entire front, was Jewish. And the Commander-in-Chief was the son of a shoemaker from Georgia.

Navalny spat on this history. He issued a video portraying himself as a dentist and compared migrants from other former Soviet republics to cavities, calling for their deportation. Navalny claimed that in order to prevent the rise of fascism, fascist round-ups of migrants had to be carried out. 

A tragic defeat for all workers

The overthrow of the Soviet Union in 1991 was a bigger and more dangerous defeat for humanity than Hitler coming to power by smashing the German working class. Like the bloody overthrow of Reconstruction in the United States, which guaranteed hell for Black people, the demise of the Soviet Union had terrible results.

Living standards fell as production plummeted. Millions became jobless as socialist economic planning was abandoned. Even the death rate dramatically increased.

The Soviet Union itself was broken up as ethnic hostilities increased. This break-up was imposed despite the overwhelming vote in a March 17, 1991, referendum to preserve the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Seventy percent of people in Ukraine voted to keep the USSR.

Industries built over a dozen five-year plans were practically given away to a new class of big thieves known as oligarchs. U.S. and European capitalists hate Belarus because it’s the only former Soviet republic that didn’t conduct these fire sales of socialist property.

Navalny never attacked this criminal privatization and didn’t call for a redistribution of wealth to benefit the working class.

Instead, he appealed to smaller shareholders and wannabe capitalists. Navalny’s attacks on governmental corruption ignored the immense loot stolen by the new billionaire class as well as foreign thieves like ExxonMobil.

U.S. stooges

What sealed the capitalist counterrevolution was Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s Oct. 4, 1993, military assault on the Russian Parliament. President Bill Clinton and the corporate media were cheerleaders for this massacre in which hundreds were killed. 

Three years later the U.S. Government got their stooge Yeltsin reelected in 1996. A Time magazine cover chortled: “Yanks to the rescue. The secret story of how American advisors helped Yeltsin win.” 

Just as Yeltsin got rid of a troublesome parliament, Ukraine’s elected government was overthrown with Washington’s support during the orchestrated “Euromaidan” revolt in 2013 and 2014. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland admitted to CNN that the U.S. spent $5 billion on the takeover. 

Trump supporters were seeking similar results to what occurred in Moscow and Kiev when they were allowed to attack the U.S. capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Ukrainian fascists secured their victory by burning down Odessa’s House of Trade Unions in May 2014 and murdering at least 48 people there. It was in reaction to this fascist coup that workers in Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine set up their own governments.

The Russian Federation intervened in 2022 to protect Eastern Ukraine from an impending invasion orchestrated by the U.S. and NATO. To the Pentagon, the Russian Federation’s 6.4 million square miles of territory needs to be occupied.

Working and poor people shouldn’t be fooled into supporting the NATO war in Ukraine. Like Boris Yeltsin, Aleksei Navalny was another stooge of U.S. big business.

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