Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
My apologies, I didn't think I was painting a rosy picture by stating Russia isn't the hellhole it used to be in the 90's.

Anyway, I was talking about Russia's internal development, whereas your counterpoints are 2/3 external issues. Thus I hope you don't mind if I address the last one first.

Mr. Navalnyi is by no stretch of imagination "opposition leader". For some reason western media thinks he is, even if his support is less than The Official Monster Raving Loony Party has in UK. And just like Lord Buckethead, his value in Russian politics was mostly entertainment. Even Russian independent media calls him "oppositionist" or "blogger".

The leader of Russian opposition is Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party holding 10% of the seats in State Duma and being very critical of the government. Communists also have two governors and over 400 seats in regional parliaments. In presidential elections Zyuganov gets 20%-30% of the votes, so he's an actual political force. And according to Levada polls, Zyuganov is the most trusted opposition politician, with 9% or Russians trusting him.

Next in line is Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democrats, with 9% of the seats in Duma, 3 governors and close to 300 seats in regional parliaments. At the moment Mistushin's cabinet has confidence of Liberal Democrats, and a lot of Russians believe they just pretend to be in opposition, anyway.

So, when Russia has actual opposition figures with actual support of millions of citizens, why on earth would Putin even notice Russian Lord Buckethead, not to speak of poisoning him with banned military grade neurotoxin on a public place?

Navalnyi's foundation wasn't even the biggest anti-corruption agent in Russia. Far from it. And, to quote the man himself from this June, his foundation "is pretty much over". The foundation tried to attack businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin (yes, "Putin's chef" and the owner of the "Kremlin troll factory"), but was caught faking the evidence in a documentary, lost in court and now owns millions in damages to Prigozhin personally.

The anti-corruption foundation is also under investigation for money laundering, so if the somebody was after Navalnyi, they surely got him by the balls without any attempt on his life needed.

This probably won't make you even consider the possibility that maybe Putin wasn't behind what happened in Tomsk, but to others it may at least give a pause.

Now, what happened in Tomsk seems to still be a mystery. What we know for a fact is that neither the doctors in Omsk nor in Berlin found any poison or toxins in his body. First report of neurotoxins was from German Military, but they refused to reveal what exactly was found, how it was found and where it was found. Then we hear from OPCW that they analyzed Navalnyi's blood and found some biomarkers related to organophophates but not to banned chemicals.

So, we don't actually know if he was poisoned, and if he was, with what he was poisoned. When asked, Germans refuse to tell.

What we do know, though, is that his symptoms were not those of one poisoned with nerve agent. He did not convulse, foam, vomit or die.

So, to counter you: it wasn't opposition leader, it very likely wasn't Putin, and we really don't know if it was poisoning.

Oh, and getting out of the country while under criminal investigation and during corona lock down was such a feat many people in Russia think he must have good friends in Kremlin...

As for the other two points about Russian influence, what can I say?

According to an Article in Business Insider, the idea that Russia was supporting right-wing movements appeared sometimes in 2009, pushed by think-tanks, but without any evidence. The article was written in 2014, and yet there still was no evidence of this whatsoever, even though most of the western media was now taking it for granted.

The only evidence of this ever brought forward is that National Front got a loan from Russian commercial bank. Nobody ever claimed Kremlin even knew about this loan, or could have had any influence over the bank.
The other, I think, was a Russian car repair shop owner in Berlin funding AdF, but later he turned out to be Ukrainian, so that went away.

As for Putin forcing half of the UK to vote for Brexit, I can refer to recently published British Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee's "Russia Report". They called the most vehement Russophobes available to find evidence and proof beyond any doubt that Russia was behind all the bad things ever happened to Britain, but specifically investigate how Russia interfered with Brexit campaigning.

And they found nothing beyond a lot of allegations in media. None of the allegations had any substance, or evidence of interfering. Not even MI5 could help them. Their conclusion, though, was that UK government had failed to look hard enough. There had to be evidence, since it's obvious Russia interfered, even if there was no evidence. Can't argue with people like that...

Now, why stuff about Russia in British media may be somewhat economical with the truth, you may want to check out Integrity Initiative.

For examples of what proper interference in national politics actually looks like, see Belorussia, Venezuela, Greece or Columbia.

For what's it worth, during the campaign no Russian official expressed any preference either way. They just hoped that whatever happened, it would not cause any disturbance within EU, which is Russia's biggest trade partner. It may be really difficult to comprehend, but Russia prefers a stable Europe for it to make money out of. Brexit has a potential to damage that.

EU without UK may not be as Russophobic as with UK, but for Russia it's Germany that drives EU's anti-Russian policies, whether it's Ukraine or Nord Stream 2. And Brexit really did not change that in any way.

Sorry for a way too long post, even if this is the redacted version.

by pelgus on Wed Oct 14th, 2020 at 01:11:01 PM EST
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Excellent post, which I hadn't read when I wrote my comment above. It really is the guts of an excellent diary... A diary doesn't have to have all the answers, just enough logic or evidence to ask some cogent questions you may not get in the MSM...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 14th, 2020 at 02:49:34 PM EST
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Plenty of background in my diary of Dec. 2018

Hybrid Warfare: Statecraft Integrity Initiative

Typical for organized propaganda ...

Fake news hoax exposed: NY Times podcast star lied about joining ISIS

In the UK hundreds of millions is spend on militarized propaganda.

The Great British Brexit Robbery

How the Pentagon paid a British PR firm $500 million for top secret Iraq propaganda

No surprise for other powers using similar propaganda: China, Russia, Iran, UK, UAE, Qatar, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Oct 14th, 2020 at 05:11:18 PM EST
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Behind Cambridge Analytica lay a bigger threat to our democracy: Facebook

Gets only more nefarious ...

How QAnon uses religion to lure unsuspecting Christians

US: Religious data platform 'targets mentally ill, vulnerable people' | DW |

Democracy in Decay: Steve Bannon & Jordan Peterson

In a climate of suspicion, roguish buffoons like Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and Boris Johnson have lied and cheated their way to high office. The moral landscape has altered to a point where the truth doesn't seem to count for much anymore.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Oct 15th, 2020 at 07:37:52 PM EST
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... and a Conservative nominee to the SCOTUS forced through by Republicans ... fundamental Catholic professing the right for religion to interfere in individual rights ... a cult follower of People of Praise

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Oct 15th, 2020 at 07:46:33 PM EST
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