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Navalny’s anti-Putin movement might not survive his imprisonment

Vox.com reports Alexei Navalny’s anti-Putin movement might not survive his imprisonment.

This part of the report especially caught my eye :

At his trial on Tuesday, Navalny — never one to let a public moment go to waste — used the platform to rail against the Kremlin and the autocrat who leads it.

“He’s never participated in any debates or campaigned in an election. Murder is the only way he knows how to fight. He’ll go down in history as nothing but a poisoner,” Navalny said of Putin. “Now we’ll have Vladimir the Underpants Poisoner.”

“I demand my immediate release and the release of all political prisoners. I do not recognize your performance here — it’s a deception and completely illegal,” Navalny concluded before drawing a heart to his wife, Yulia, on the glass cage he was in.

His speech failed to persuade the judge, however, who promptly sentenced Navalny to three and a half years in prison, with a little less than a year taken off for time previously served under house arrest. Which means Navalny now faces roughly two years and eight months behind bars.

That’s the rub with Navalny: Style often subsumes substance. Returning to Russia from Germany was a stunt, and there’s no other way to see it as Navalny prefered jail in Russia over freedom in Germany. Why? 

Navalny attracts attention simply because of his name; he’s a crusader, and that means anything he does will generate news coverage. But for the next 30 or so months, unless he’s released from prison early (and as Vox notes that almost certainly would come with exile), he will have zero ability to communicate directly with the public.

Strange choice.

While the U.S. waits for Iran to blink

Stubbornness is not an admirable trait. It suggests either a sense of superiority or arrogance in the person who demonstrates it. Right now, the new Biden administration is demonstrating stubbornness when it comes to Iran.

The Iranian government has dropped several hints — the latest being a CNN interview with the country’s foreign minister — that it is ready for dialogue with the U.S. The Biden administration’s response: Chill out. There have been no overtures from the administration since it entered power almost two weeks ago.

Such an attitude is not becoming of leadership. 

During his inauguration address, President Biden spoke of healing. Healing cannot be reserved only for Americans, who after four years of white-hot political rhetoric (not to mention a failed coup) made clear Biden meant a new beginning, an opportunity to think about the direction the country was heading in the initial years of the 2020s. 

Tehran is offering the proverbial olive branch. The time is now, not tomorrow and not next week, for Washington to accept it. Doing so would be consistent with Biden’s call for healing.

CNN: Iran is ready for a new relationship with the US, but the clock is ticking, says Foreign Minister Javad Zarif

This news ought to set off a few unnecessary alarm bells throughout the U.S.: Iran says it’s ready for a new relationship with America. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made that remark in an interview with CNN.

The irrational fear and anger much of America has about Iran — borne from 40+ years of one official statement after another claiming Iran is led by a hate-filled regime that has to be taught a lesson in American leadership — will lead to knee-jerk responses. One already can hear the “You can’t trust Iran” cry echoing across the land.

The narrative must change, and new leadership in Washington could allow for that to happen. But Americans can do their part as well; question the U.S.-led narrative and ask why the stated benefits of such a narrative might not be based in reality.

Sputnik V vaccine has 91.6% efficacy against symptomatic Covid, Russian trial suggests

In other words, the vaccine is effective. But, hey, let’s let Russiaphobes go berserk over that news.