Talking about Navalny on Al-Jazeera

I joined a panel on Al-Jazeera’s show ‘The Stream’ today, to discuss Alexei Navalny. The video is embedded below.

The key moment for me was when another guest, Roman Dobrokhotov, said that things in Russia would be very different if millions of people protested ‘and that is what is likely to happen.’ It strikes me that these people are living in a world of fantasy, in which they will be able to mobilize vast hordes onto the streets and bring about a revolution. At the same time, they are obviously rather isolated even within the opposition movement. This became clear when Dobrokhotov called Yabloko party leader Grigory Yavlinsky ‘Putin’s man’, who does whatever Putin tells him to (which is clearly not true).

Anyway, decide for yourself.

31 thoughts on “Talking about Navalny on Al-Jazeera”

  1. Starting off with the input of a Pussy Riot member and the other two panelists, this is to be expected from Al Jazeera.

    No pointing out that the poisoning (specifically Novichok) claim remains unsubstantiated.

    Dobrokhotov has the gall to call Russian TV (apparently the top 3 news channels) propaganda, given his input. D’s comment about Yavlinsky being Putin’s guy is pathetically laughable.

    Alexis (“scholar of authoritarianism”) wasn’t impressive.An overwhelmingly one-sided show, you were the proverbial “adult in the room”. Nonetheless, I would’ve liked to have seen a more forceful offset.

    AJ’s labeling of the diaspora is disingenuous. Alexander Kabanov and his clique don’t represent all, or necessarily most of the Russian diaspora.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. > Dobrokhotov has the gall to call Russian TV (apparently the top 3 news channels) propaganda

      Especially amusing because he said it while on Al Jazeera, which is literally owned by the government of such a shining beacon of democracy as Qatar.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My take on what these guys had to say was a strange composite of “Russia BAD, Navalny GOOD”, and “Things will change, just wait” – Yes, it *would* be different if there were millions protesting for Navalny, but there aren’t, and aren’t likely to be. So, barring some extraordinary change, everyone except our host is likely to be surprised and disappointed. Echo chambers can mislead anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. At one time I thought the Al Jazeera was a possible alternative to MSM, about ten or so years ago.
    They have managed to change to the typical anti China and anti Russia anti Iran crap.
    I think the Emir had to ingratiate himself with the USA and likely Britain.
    Not worth my time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As bad as it is, it’s still better than CNN and MSNBC and (especially of late) a good number of BBC segments.

      What’s lacking is the utilization of relatively objective media critics who shouldn’t be confused with Brian Stelter.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. “At one time I thought the Al Jazeera was a possible alternative to MSM, about ten or so years ago.”


      Yeah… Whatever “street cred” they’ve got during the Iraqi War is gone now. Now al-Hinzira is just a trashy outlet serving the kaffirs and mushriqs in charge of the United Murtad Emirates. Takbir!


    3. Yeah, Al-Jazeera is still a bit more critical of Israeli policies in the occupied territories than western MSM but other than that it is just a standard MSM channel that follows Washington’s foreign policy line.

      Even RT isn’t what it used to be. There’s way too much tabloid-style crap and its critical coverage of US/western politics is very much watered down compared to its heyday during the last years of the Obama administration. It’s particularly weak when criticizing America’s Iran policy.

      I think both AJ and RT got spooked by the rabid reaction in DC to “foreign disinformation” and lost their edge. At least RT isn’t completely subservient to the west like AJ has become.


  4. At YouTube, the first two posted comments and some others thereafter give faith to the belief that public at large has a noticeable element seeing thru the bias of Al Jazeera:

    Once again noting that polls of the public’s impression of the media in general aren’t high.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The end of Navalny as a person of political interest?

    “Then something inexplicable commenced from the point of view of both professional political operation and banal common sense.

    In the following hours, Alexei Navalny repeatedly called Ignat Artemenko a ‘doll’ who ‘does not understand anything’ and who is ‘traded’ by his family. He said that ‘his relatives will strangle him tonight.’ And when the veteran’s grandson asked the blogger to ‘remain a man’ during the testimony, Navalny’s response included shouting that ‘the only problem with your grandfather is that he raised a grandson who is a prostitute.’

    The main result of today was the public elimination of Alexei Navalny himself as a socio-political figure, as well as dealing a fatal blow to his own organisation and to the Russian anti-state opposition in general.”


    1. Fascinating!
      “The question is a medico-psychiatric one. It was first made public by Navalny’s treating doctors at the Charité clinic in Berlin. These doctors, it was, who revealed that Navalny was a heavy user of lithium and benzodiazepine drugs. They published this in a set of four data tables they attached as appendices to their case report on Navalny.”

      Are German doctors not bound by the same rules as, say, their American counterparts (HIPAA) when it comes to patient privacy?

      “In the following hours, Alexei Navalny repeatedly called Ignat Artemenko a ‘doll’…” This translation is amusing to one living in the U.S. I have to keep reminding myself that Helmer is not an American (he’s Australian, no?) In America, if you call someone (usually a woman) a “doll” that means you like them and think this person is wonderful. I think what Helmer meant to say was that Navalny called Artemenko a “puppet”, which is a different sort of thing.


      1. I guess as it was a case of “public interest” (AFAIK as an example in the US:if the president becomes sick the medical condition will also be published) and a case were a foreign nation was involved and accused.

        That makes it the more suspicious that the so called “analysis” by the Bundeswehr Lab in München – rubberstamped by a lab in Sweden an France (i think) – were ordered a secret.


      2. “This translation is amusing to one living in the U.S.”

        I was wondering about that and the term “political technology”.
        I just pulled up the article and ran it through google translator and …the similar text appeared, however with some minor diferences, using “bloopers” instead of “blunders”.

        My guess is Helmers used a machine translation but failed to edit thoroughly.


      3. Political technology is peculiarly Russian expression. It refers not to technology in the sense we normally think of it (advanced machinery etc), but as a set of techniques used to advanced political goals – media manipulation, etc. There isn’t an exact English equivalent, so the translation ‘political technology’ is fair, in my opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Agreed, I think “political technology” is a fair translation from the Russian but “doll” not so much. I reckon, if Helmer wants to use google translation as his starting point, that’s his prerogative. I never use it myself: Where inter-lingual translation is concerned, I consider myself to be an artiste of the old-school type.


      5. Are German doctors not bound by the same rules as, say, their American counterparts (HIPAA) when it comes to patient privacy?

        Yes, this can only have been published with the consent of the patiences. Incidentially this was initially reported as the reason, the doctors couldn’t talk about specifics.


    2. or his CIA and BND teams in the Black Forest of Baden-Württemberg.
      I would assume that he was protected both in the hospital and down in the South Western tri-border area.(Dreiländereck). But by the CIA?

      But concerning what looked like a cocktail of medicines in his bloodstream, it feels ta parallel may be of interest. It drew more attention over here. Decide for yourself. I am no chemist or pharmacist. Helmer anyway seems to be entertaining the hypothesis of some type of self-poisoning.

      Both a Puzzy Riot member and Navalny were brought to Charité Germany by the same helper or helper network: Jaka Bizilj & the Cinema for Peace Foundation. Bizilj may well have arranged the Hollywood/Blackforest video connection too and chosen the clinic and the rehabilitation center.
      check “advocacy events” 2014
      2014 – Visit of the Olympic Games in Sotchi with members of Pussy Riot [24]

      When he brought Pytr Verzilov, the husband of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova ,to Berlin he knew Puzzy Riot already for at least 4 years. Did he know or sponsor Navalny and his group too?

      On 12 September 2018, it was reported by the media that Verzilov had been hospitalized and was in critical condition in a toxicological department of the Bakhrushin City Clinical Hospital in Moscow. Doctors at the clinic suggested an overdose or poisoning with anticholinergic drugs, which are used to treat a variety of conditions, including dizziness, ulcers, insomnia, and asthma. His relatives suspected poisoning to be the cause, saying that he didn’t take such medicine

      On 18 September, doctors at the German hospital said in a statement that it was “highly probable” that Verzilov had been poisoned, that the cause was being investigated, but that he was going to make a complete recovery.[30] In a statement from the same day, the Pussy Riot group stated that Verzilov was still very confused, and they accused the Russian government of poisoning. They also noted that the poison was designed to leave the victim’s body quickly, so that it would be difficult to prove the exact details.[31]

      Interesting in this context is that the same Prof treated both men.


    3. A “heavy user of lithium” is an odd way of putting it. Lithium is prescribed for bipolar disorder and has zero abuse potential since it doesn’t make you feel good in any shape or form. It’s a mood stabiliser. Benzos are a somewhat different issue but they can also be prescribed in bipolar disorder. If it’s true that Navalny was on lithium that confirms he has a serious mental illness that in my opinion disqualifies him from political office. But taking a mentally ill person off their meds just to see him flip out is a strange and cruel thing to do. Have the man be seen by a psychiatrist and give him back his lithium at least.


  6. This was okay for Al Jazeera which is just like all western MSM in the message it seeks to convey.

    They load the panel to convey that message. It’s more of the anti-Russian media.

    The chap


  7. Reminds me about from Maoist or Trotskyite sects in Europe of the 70s. According to them “all the others”, including all sects except themselves, were in the pay of Capital, but that didn’t matter because they (i.e. themselves) had the Masses behind them.

    It’s easy to develop a dreamworld if you only keep to yourself and refuse intercourse with people from the mainstream.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What I would also like to ask is why is the diaspora (some) so invested in being negative about a country they have left?

    Especially in this case people who don’t want to obey the laws that the majority consent to ?


    1. “What I would also like to ask is why is the diaspora (some) so invested in being negative about a country they have left?”

      It’s not necessarily the diaspora (diaspora includes descendants of those who emigrated) but the actual emigrants. And it seems understandable: they made a big decision, and they need to keep justifying it, convincing themselves it was indeed the right decision. A self-validation of sorts.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Those are often the people who left decades ago as political dissidents, and never went back. In their mind, Russia is eternally frozen in the distant time of their departure. They have no clue how things actually are in Russia now, they just filter what they hear to fit their outdated picture.

      Also, there are two additional aspects.

      First, culturally, immigrant Russians perceive their relationship with the host country through the prism of Russian hospitality customs. They see it as impolite to support Russia in an organized fashion, in the same way as it is impolite for a guest to organize activities in a host’s home (unless the host approves). They are usually extremely uneasy about publicly voicing any opinions that may be perceived as confrontational vis a vis their host country. As a result, you only hear from the Russians who are negative; the rest keep to themselves, and only express their views to their friends and family.

      Second, and most unfortunate… it has been a long-standing cultural tradition for educated, “worldly” Russians to trash their country in order to emphasize their “worldliness”. It’s not unlike teenagers bitching about their parents, and just as immature. It can take completely grotesque forms, especially among the younger Russians living back in Russia (who are, in fact, anything but worldly; when I hear them speak, especially when they speak bad English, I literally squirm, it’s so embarrassing). And some of them, if not most, never grow out of it …

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Those are often the people who left decades ago as political dissidents, and never went back.”

        That’s a funny way to spell: “Galut intelligentsia and sausage migrants”.That one prof in the their segment talking about “open letter” nonsense, Lola – was he ever a “dissident”?

        Nah, I’m shamelessly stealing Yakov Levin’s nomenclature and here and call them for who they are – weaponized migrants.

        “They are usually extremely uneasy about publicly voicing any opinions that may be perceived as confrontational vis a vis their host country. “

        Suuuuuuure they are! 🙂 Does the recent example of Illarionov not serve as a very, ah, “showy” example? 😉

        “It’s not unlike teenagers bitching about their parents, and just as immature.”

        Well, thank you, Lola! Now we know the right diagnosis. Russian intelligentsia (and, by extension, any “non-systemic opposition”) is merely stuck in the puberty, incapable to grow up.

        Which means – Russian opposition is made not out of hamsters, but out of lemmings. All reports of the young age and first time participants in the protests are, therefore, for naught – the bulit in turnover level ensures they won’t become regulars and, therefore, “professional oppositionists”.


  9. It would be funny were it not to show the utter incompetence of the EU:

    “The latest (breathtakingly stupid) EU plan to try to scare “Putin” (here “Putin” is the collective Kremlin boogeyman, not necessarily VVP): Svetlana Tikhanovskaia has appealed to the wife of Navalnyi, Iulia, to become the “she president of Russia”. Yes, seriously. Iulia Navalnaia as President of Russia!

    As for Navalnyi’s supporters in the EU, they have decided to create a Russian government in exile. Again, this is not a joke.

    And, just to make sure that the Empire can win the battle for the “hearts and minds” of the Russian people, the Brits are now counting (again) on Pussy Riot to release a song in support of protests. Again, while this does sound like a joke, it is not.

    Now comes the best part: there are a lot of signs that the EU will, again under the pious pretext of “solidarity” follow the 3B+PU politicians and, if not recognize such a government in exile, at least treat its members as real officials. That is also supposed to also terrify the Kremlin, I guess. But if that is the best the EU can come up with, VVP and the people of Russia, can sleep in peace.”


  10. There is a completely biased and superficial presentation. Surprising that Irrussianality has presented this. But it is the “Navalny equivalent” of Trump Derangement Syndrome.


  11. You have to wait until the very end of video to see statistics showing that Navalny is generally considered a flake in Russia. And this is probably an accurate characterization, given his medical history of anti-depressants and other mood altering drugs, not to mention his pancreatitis and diabetes. But, sure, you can find Ukrainians around who will paint hagiographic pictures of him as some sort of hero and turn to the ever-ready USA peace-loving NGOs for friendly support.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s