With the eyes of the anti-Russian western mainstream media focused on Alexei Navalny’s latest antics in Moscow, it seems appropriate to discuss just what constitutes a ‘Russian opposition leader’ in the eyes of western mainstream media pundits who are both misinformed themselves and seek to pass that misinformation on to their declining audience.
With this in mind here are 5 ways to become a Russian opposition leader….in the eyes of the west.
1. Don’t Be An Actual Opposition Leader
Russia has a vibrant opposition movement that receives millions of votes during both Duma and Presidential elections. Since 1993, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation led by Gennady Zyuganov and the conservative/proto-populist LDPR founded and led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, have been consistent political forces to be reckoned with.
More recently, the moderate socialist Fair Russia Party (sometimes called a Just Russia) led by Sergey Mironov have also done well.
These are the opposition parties which have contended with the governing United Russia Party during much of the period where Vladimir Putin has been the most popular figure in Russian politics. Compared to the United States which has only two major parties, Russia has four.
Perhaps America needs foreign funded NGOs to organise marches in the streets to give a fairer deal to smaller parties like the Libertarians and Greens who don’t have any Federal representation?
2. Receive At Least One, But Ideally Several Criminal Convictions
Most notoriously, self-appointed Russian opposition leader Boris Berezovsky, gained infamy in Russia for covertly funding Chechen terrorists during the North Caucuses conflict of the 1990s.
After running away to Britain where the UK press worshipped Berezovsky as a kind of champagne soaked saint, he received two criminal convictions in Russia, one in 2007 for embezzling money from Aeroflot and another in 2009 for defrauding major Russian car manufacturer AvtoVAZ.
But Berezovsky was not exceptional in this respect.
Disgraced business tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky is frequently held up in the west as a kind of hero of liberalism in spite of the fact that the only thing he is liberal about is his financial ethics. He has been convicted and imprisoned for tax evasion, fraud and embezzlement. After being released from prison he quickly fled to Switzerland.
Although in his early life he had few political ambitions, his time as a felon led Khodorkovsky to transform himself into an instant opposition leader. Of course the western media portray him as a kind of leader in waiting, even though he probably couldn’t even be elected dog catcher anywhere in Russia.
Of course Alexei Navalny himself has been twice convicted in matters related to embezzlement.
Boris Nemtsov may have felt left out, only being convicting of offences relating to disrupting public order.
By contrast none of Russia’s actual opposition leaders have a criminal record.
3. Support Regime Change In Kiev
Whether Berezovsky’s financing of 2004’s so-called ‘Orange Revolution’ in Kiev, Khodorkovsky’s speeches in favour of regime change in Kiev in 2014, Dmitry Voronenkov‘s opposition to Crimean democracy or Alexei Navalny’s marches in favour of the fascist regime that took power in Kiev, all roads must lead to fascists, nationalists and war-hawks in Kiev if one is to be taken seriously by the west as an ‘authentic’ Russian opposition leader.
It seems that it is not enough to oppose the Russian government, one must also support illegal regimes that are openly hostile not only to the Russian state but also to Russian people, not least those being slaughtered in Donbass.
It takes a certain amount of self-hatred in order to be let into the prestigious club of western approved ‘Russian opposition leaders’.
4. Don’t Live In Russia
Apart from criminal records and support of far-right anti-Russian foreign regimes, Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky,and Voronenkov had something else in common. They each planned to lead their opposition revolutions from outside of Russia. It’s rather hard to be taken seriously as an opposition figure, when one prefers to sit in London, Geneva or Kiev than to get work done in Moscow.
5. Avoid Popularity At Any Cost
One needn’t be a criminal or emigrant in order to disagree with Russian government policies. Indeed Russia has legally registered liberal parties who take a European stance on major political issues. The fact is that few people vote for them in spite of having both the Moscow Times and Echo of Moscow acting as their home grown media bullhorns in a modern Russia which has extremely open free speech laws.
The fact of the matter is that a handful of criminals in addition to some honest but out of touch homegrown liberals, are not democratically popular in Russia. It’s one thing to support democracy, but in elevating these obscure figures to the position of the ‘opposition in waiting’, western governments and mainstream media are doing the opposite of promoting democracy.
They are in actual fact, suppressing democracy, as the majority of Russians simply do not care for liberalism or globalism. It was tried in the 1990s and the legacy liberalism left on Russia was one of economic collapse, international humiliation, increases in health problems, inflation, prostitution, drug use and a suicide epidemic. It’s no wonder that Russians have solidly turned their back on those offering the road back to the dark 1990s.
So there you have it. Follow these five easy steps and YOU TOO could be a self-appointed, western approved, Russian opposition leader.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.