Why Aren’t More Russians Sympathetic to Navalny?

Opinion polls suggest that a) most Russians don’t believe that Alexei Navalny was poisoned, and b) far more Russians think that his imprisonment is fair than think it is unfair.

Why is this?

I discuss various theories in my latest piece for RT, which you can read here. Possible answers include:

a. Russians’ brains have been addled by state propaganda.

b. ‘The slave soul of the Russians’, which makes them resent anything that represents freedom.

c. Navalny himself – just not a very likeable guy.

d. Navalny’s association with the liberal opposition, a group that, in light of the experience of the 1990s, is considered by many to be irredeemably corrupt, as well as lackeys of the West.

e. Crying wolf – Russians don’t trust the source of the story that Navalny was poisoned, i.e. the West. This may be due to the extreme hyperbole that Western media and politicians have used in recent years.

Take your pick as to which you think is correct.

21 thoughts on “Why Aren’t More Russians Sympathetic to Navalny?”

    1. Indeed. Replace “Russians” by e.g. “Jews” or, God forbid,”Blacks” in statement (b) and you may be in for serious trouble.

      Of course, in RT article itself, it is clearly stated that (b) is a “popular answer among Russian liberals”. Yet, not everyone reading this blog post will click on the link or read that article through. Obviously, Russian readers of this blog are unlikely to miss the sarcasm, however, as listed above, (b) does seriously grate on the ears.

      So, Paul, just a friendly advice – phrasing/referencing such statements a bit clearer is probably a good idea.


    2. Not mentioned is F, namely that Navalny is full of it, relative to the Yves Rocher and Kirovles situations, as well as the knowledge of his BS pranks, which include not seeking standard permission to hold demos and other types of gaslighting.

      That last point relates to Navalny supporter Artemi Panarin:


      Take time off from work (in this instance playing hockey) as Putin gets the blame.

      On this particular matter, Slava Malamud made the rounds spewing collapsible BS before those in media who didn’t challenge him on account of their bias and ignorance.


  1. Obviously knowing that he has 1-2% support generally and that his crimes are actually fraud on a French company, not something made up by Putin, has some effect.
    I think you are skipping the point of all the hustling over Navalny. The point is to boost the reputation of his handlers in the west, and allow them to brag what a great job they are doing (as they burn their fading asset and move on to new targets). No one is seeking to impress Russians or ordinary westerners.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Navalny’s education and whatever possible involvement with the CIA while attending Yale Univresity may also make Russians understandably skeptical of him.


    1. I hope that Simonyan, and other Russian government connected folks are reading this thread. Ditto some of the other threads at this venue.

      A few too many people are clearly playing out of position.



  3. Navalny’s source of income is another moot point. Liberal media in Russia always label him as a “politician” (he isn’t!) and as the leading “oppositionist”.

    An oppositionist is not a member of the “opposition” in the State Duma, which opposition, parliamentary opposition, has been the Communist Party of the Russian Federation since the end of the USSR.

    Other Russian media refer to him simply as a “blogger”, better still, as an “unemployed blogger”.

    As regards his being a “politician”, I remember how Sobchak took him to the cleaners during a TV interview when Navalny was attempting to run for president. She asked him what his fiscal policies were. He hadn’t a clue how to answer: he couldn’t state the average income in Russia, if I rightly remember, and explain how he was going to finance the big hand-outs to all and sundry that he had promised if elected.

    Navalny simply proposes that the removal of Putin from his position as head of state, together with the party “United Russia” will lead to a “beautiful Russia”.

    Navalny is a street corner demagogue in the hire of the USA.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Navalny is the “Sneaky Pete” of Russian grifters, always on the bleeding edge of new technology, especially when finding ways to move money from somebody else’s wallet into his own. If I am not mistaken, he was the first Russian “politician” to figure out how to use Yandex to get his followers to electronically transfer $$$ from theirs into his bank account via his blog.

      A few years later, Navalny started riding the bitcoin wave. Some creative reporters just happened to notice that every time, after a major bitcoin money-raising campaign, just like clockwork, Navalny and his family would go off on some swanky expensive vacation, like to Thailand, for example. And the fun part is, he never has to account for a single kopeck! Navalny is a money-making machine of the purest calibre! To his credit, he realized, as far back as 2010 that it was time to change his methodology, from brick-and-mortar scams like KirovLes, to more ethereal electronic cons.

      Also, remember, everybody, as I keep reminding: KIROVLES spelled backwards is SEL VORIK! [“The little thief went to jail.”]

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, try to look at what point in time the ‘Russian grifters’ or the oligarchs shifted from good, red carpets rolled out, to Vorik in ‘the West’. There may be such a shift, and it may have to do with capital flight or loan gains. Who exactly sponsored the takeover of central Russian industries?


    2. Oh, I remember his “program” from when he “run” for president. Yes, he actually published one, and it was the thing tha cemented my deeply negative opinion of him. Implemented as-is it would just collapse Russia! Other liberals were saying “wtf is this”! And quickly purged it from their memory lmao.


  4. Professor, I liked your RT piece quite a lot. This paragraph made me laugh out loud:

    This followed a rather less scientific survey conducted by the Prague-based Current Time News (operated by the US government-run RFE/RL) which sent a journalist to the town of Pokrov, where Navalny is imprisoned, and asked locals what they thought of him. Answers included statements that “I hope he croaks” and “enemies of the people should be shot.”

    This jibes with my own unscientific study of the Russian press. I love to read the comments, which often make me chuckle as well. Recently there have been some articles on Navalny’s experiences in the colony. Commenters routinely mock Navalny’s work ethic, as in “He works for 2 hours, and all of a sudden he has a bum knee.”
    Technically, I think the prisoners are supposed to put in a 8-hour working day, but seems like Navalny is always finding creative ways to skip out of his duties.
    You’ll often see a commenter proposing that all the Liberals should be shot, and then another commenter will come back with something like: “You don’t need to shoot them, just make them work for 2 hours a day, and they’ll shoot themselves!”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve always found Russians pretty politically sophisticated, political discussion is relished after 70 years of having little by way of freedom of speech, so they are much more tuned in than westerners especially the British and the Americans. The problem is that Navalny is simply not a credible person let alone ‘politician’ the support he has garnered is by virtue of his anti corruption work (and the many young people who think that owning an iphone is the meaning of life and Starbucks make great coffee) In short Navalny is a clown and he is run by western clowns (MI6/CIA/etc) it is such a transparent operation that he is not believable as a character one would ever seriously consider voting for. He’s a failure of the West and their complete misunderstanding of Russians and their mindset/mentality, added to which he really has never had anything to offer has he? It will be interesting to see what happens when he is eventually released, things are changing quickly in the world and in Russia, I doubt he will have any base left in a couple of years so … maybe another quick trip to Germany, to stay this time.


    1. It’s like that old Soviet “anekdot”:

      Question: What’s the difference between a Soviet citizen reading “Pravda” and a US citizen reading the “New York Times”?

      Answer: The Soviet citizen knows he is reading propaganda.


  6. Forgive me for Off-top, but back to the issue of whether or not there will be Ukrainian invasion of Donbass. I have been very worried about this all week, all the signs and portents seemed to point to imminent Ukrainian attack and ensuing war between Russia & Ukraine.

    However, this morning, as I skimmed Russian news, I sensed a certain subtle change in the Force. I could be very wrong and I might have also misread Zelensky’s trip to Turkey (Zel all over the place seeking counsel and support for probable invasion) and what Sultan Erdoğan told him, because it was highly ambiguous and could be read in two different ways.

    Anyhow, I also happened upon this article in RT, I barely skimmed it and usually I don’t read the comments because RT commenters are mostly awful Troglodytes, but I made an exception, and this user, Rocky_Fjord encapsulated pretty well what I think happened in his comment:

    I do believe Zelensky already capitulated, after he learned of US and NATO betrayal by their signaling they were not going to fight against Russia. Then Erdogan met with Zelensky to kind of soften the blow in a face saving gesture, agreeing that Ukraine needed to get into NATO. Fat chance of that since NATO has no appetite to get into a fight with Russia.
    I think it’s over. The western media squelched all mention of Zelensky’s capitulation, in an effort for him to save face. Russian news may have held back a bit for not wanting to rub it in. Unless there’s some new development, I think the Ukraine crisis is over, and Ukrainian troops will pull back.

    I think Rocky is probably right, and I hope he is right! The p;roof of the pudding will be watching to see if the Ukrainians pull back their troops. They have quite an amassment going on, including an astounding number of tanks and drones.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Простите, что пишу на Русском, но английского языка я не знаю. Я психолог и прочитал вашу статью. Разрешите я чуть-чуть с вами поспорю. Так вот. У Русских людей нет рабской психологии, наши мозги не затуманены пропагандой и Навальный достаточно симпатичный парень. В чем же дело, спросите вы. Почему большинство Россиян не за Навального? Здесь все просто.
    1. Никто Навального и не воспринимал, как Аппозицию. Навального воспринимали, как блогера, который писал о Путине. Большинство Россиян и не слышало о Новальном, пока запад не раздул шумиху вокруг этого человека. Запад сделал из него звезду.
    2. В психологии Россиян то, что они не верят людям, которые не доказали свое дело делами. Спасал ли Навальный детей? Может спасал собачек? Может он герой? Нет. Это человек, который пиарит себя за счет имени Путина. Вы не считайте Россиян дураками. Мы не любим тех, кто хочет сделать себе имя за счет других.
    3. Насчет рабской психологии. В чем вы это увидели? В том, что мы принимаем то, что творит власть? Вы думаете решения власти сказываются на жизни простых Россиян? Нет. Если доходы Россиян упадут в разы. Если у нас отнимут свободу самим делать свою жизнь, то мы восстанем, но если все хорошо, то зачем что-то менять? А что делал Навальный? Он провоцировал беспорядки, он хотел сместить Путина. А если сместить Путина, то вы поручитесь, что жизнь Россиян станет еще лучше? Готовы взять за это ответственность? Или в это нужно просто ПОВЕРИТЬ?
    4. Насчет пропаганды. Большинство Россиян за тех, кто делает хорошо. Если мы видим, что кто-то делает плохо, то пусть он хоть запропагандируется. Мы то видим, что он творит. А слова… Слова – это птичка. Она улетела и ее не поймаешь. Если запад говорит, что Путин плохой, но мы видим, что он творит, то вы думаете за кого мы будем? За Путина, конечно. Мы не верим СЛОВАМ. только ДЕЛАМ.

    Liked by 1 person

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