© RIA Novosti / Ramil SitdikovAlexei Navalny, "anti-corruption" campaigner or U.S.-sponsored controlled opposition?
In recent months it's come to light that the U.S. government and allied Western powers have arrayed all of their economic, social, political, martial, and propagandizing forces against Russia and the leadership of its president, Vladimir Putin. Some of the policies, strategies and approaches towards destabilizing Russia are out in the open. Some less so. But this is where it gets most interesting. For while it was fairly easy to spot some of the aggression aimed at Russia from without, seeing it occur even more covertly from within is another story. Which brings us to some recent news.

The western media is now carrying the story of a protest on the streets of Manezh Square in Moscow which occurred on Tuesday, December 30th. At the center of the rally was Alexei Navalny, self-proclaimed "anti-corruption" blogger and head of the largest opposition movement of the leadership of Vladimir Putin and his administration in Russia. Navalny was just convicted of defrauding a cosmetics company of about $440,000 and given a suspended sentence of 3 1/2 years. Relating to the same case, his brother, Oleg, will be sent to prison for the same period of time. In 2013, Alexei Navalny was also tried and convicted of embezzling over $500,000 from the state-owned timber company Kirovles, where Navalny worked as a volunteer in 2009.

© APNavalny breaks house arrest to join his supporters in Manezhnaya Square, Moscow.
Even though Navalny, a lawyer and activist, was meant to be under house arrest for the prior case, he arrived at the rally to decry his brother's sentence and to speak out against the Putin government which, Navalny asserts, had political motivations for prosecuting the brothers.

As could be expected, there were pro-government protestors on the scene countering the anti-government protestors who could be heard echoing Navalny's sentiments given in prior public speeches and blog posts: "We are the power!" and "Russia without Putin!" Addressing the notion that the Navalny cases were politically motivated, President Putin's past comments have been interesting: "There should be no illusions like when someone is calling for everyone to catch a thief, giving this person a license to steal. But this also does not mean that someone whose views differ from those of the authorities must be put on trial and dragged to prison."

Putin minces no words here, but there is more to the story that Putin, perhaps strategically, has chosen to leave out from his public comments on the cases involving Navalny.

Beneath the surface controversy of Alexei Navalny's relative guilt and improprieties, and the likelihood of him being a 'pot calling the kettle black' - and that there may be a political game of cat and mouse going on, there are some deeper questions about who Navalny is, what he's actually doing, and who's backing him. After all, he's head of the largest opposition movement in Russia at what is a most critical time in the country's history. And in politics, most things don't happen by accident.

Navalny the "activist"

From here we get a little bit about Alexei Navalny's background and some of the things he's done to make him well known as 'Putin's biggest political foe' in Russia:
Aleksey Navalny is a 37-year-old Russian lawyer and a political activist who has gained tremendous media popularity, especially in Western media, since 2009. He is known for publicly criticizing the administration of Vladimir Putin and the level of corruption in the country. He was also instrumental in organizing numerous sanctioned and unsanctioned protests in the Russian capital, leading to his and his supporters' repeated arrests.

In his earlier political career as an acting Deputy Chief of the Moscow branch of the social-liberal Yabloko party, Navalny made headlines by supporting the ultra-nationalist 2006 Russian March, which Yabloko condemned as a program of "fascist, Nazi, xenophobic manifestations" - a sentiment shared by many other media outlets and NGOs.

This led to his exclusion from Yabloko the following year. The unofficial reason for his discharge, however, was his alleged attempt to overthrow the party leadership.

In 2007, Navalny became one of the founders of the Nation nationalist movement. In 2008, Nation was incorporated into a vaguely structured coalition of far-right groups known collectively as the Russian National Movement. It ceased to exist in 2011.

Besides being well-known for his populist but nationalistic political outlook, Navalny is also famous for his political blog which was used to organize mass demonstrations in Moscow during the parliamentary elections in December 2011 and presidential elections in March 2012.

But he really rose to fame in 2010 with the launch of the Rospil project, which quickly became notorious for disclosing alleged corruption by government officials. Navalny used online channels to publish confidential information about oil pipeline giant Transneft's auditing, exposing what appeared to be a multi-million dollar theft during the construction of an Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean oil pipeline. Further whistleblowing activity followed, earning him popularity in social media and the press.
© Reuters / Mikhail VoskresenskiyRussian Nationalist neo-nazis. Yeah, they've got them in Russia too, but perhaps not such easy cannon fodder as the the ones in Ukraine.
Xenophobic with Nazi leanings, a strong political will to power, critic of the pro-Putin government, a degree in law - this passage could have well and ironically been describing Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy "Russians are subhuman" Yatsenyuk.

Navalny and Yatsenyuk also want their respective countries to be more aligned with the EU and the West in general, and resent anything that alludes to the "influence" that the current Putin government has on Russia or Ukraine. Unlike Yatsenyuk however, Navalny has had little to no success marshaling support from the fascist Russian 'Nationalists' with whom he has rallied every year since 2006 in an event called the 'Russia March' in Moscow. In 2011, before his house arrest, Navalny became a co-organizer. As one might imagine, this has resulted in the bafflement of his main base of 'liberal' supporters who have no political or ideological ties to the Nationalists. Maybe he was finding the 'liberals' a little too peace-loving and decided he needed to run with an angrier crowd; one more willing, he might have thought, to throw molotov cocktails at the designated enemy and, well, start a revolution.

Navalny and the wily West

As indicated, Navalny is incredibly popular in Western media circles. From an article written in 2012 by William Engdahl we learn:
It's also instructive to look at the leading opposition figures who seem to have stepped forward in Russia in recent days. The current opposition "poster boy" favorite of Russian youth and especially western media is Russian blogger Alexei Navalny whose blog is titled LiveJournal. Navalny has featured prominently as a quasi-martyr of the protest movement after spending 15 days in Putin's jail for partaking in a banned protest. At a large protest rally on Christmas Day December 25 in Moscow, Navalny, perhaps intoxicated by seeing too many romantic Sergei Eisenstein films of the 1917 Russian Revolution, told the crowd, "I see enough people here to take the Kremlin and the White House (Russia's Presidential home) right now..."[13]

Western establishment media is infatuated with Navalny. England's BBC described Navalny as "arguably the only major opposition figure to emerge in Russia in the past five years," and US Time magazine called him "Russia's Erin Brockovich," a curious reference to the Hollywood film starring Julie Roberts as a researcher and legal activist. However, more relevant is the fact that Navalny went to the elite American East Coast Yale University, also home to the Bush family, where he was a "Yale World Fellow." [14]

The charismatic Navalny however is also or has been on the payroll of Washington's regime-destabilizing National Endowment for Democracy (NED). According to a posting on Navalny's own blog, LiveJournal, he was supported in 2007-2008 by the NED. [15] [16]
In his article entitled Exploring the possibility of a 'Russian Maidan,' Tony Cartalucci expands on Navalny's U.S. connections and backing:
The political front that will take to Russia's streets has already long been identified. It includes the same brand of extreme "nationalists" and ultra-right groups seen overrunning Ukraine's political order. This includes literal Neo-Nazis. One of the prevailing figures among Russia's ultra-right is US-backed Alexey Navalny - billed by the West as an "anti-corruption activist," who is in all reality a neo-fascist operating openly in the service of Wall Street.

Alexey Navalny was a Yale World Fellow, and in his profile it states:
Navalny spearheads legal challenges on behalf of minority shareholders in large Russian companies, including Gazprom, Bank VTB, Sberbank, Rosneft, Transneft, and Surgutneftegaz, through the Union of Minority Shareholders. He has successfully forced companies to disclose more information to their shareholders and has sued individual managers at several major corporations for allegedly corrupt practices. Navalny is also co-founder of the Democratic Alternative movement and was vice-chairman of the Moscow branch of the political party YABLOKO. In 2010, he launched RosPil, a public project funded by unprecedented fundraising in Russia. In 2011, Navalny started RosYama, which combats fraud in the road construction sector.
The Democratic Alternative, also written DA!, is a US State Department National Endowment for Democracy (NED) fund recipient, implicating Alexey Navalny as an agent of US-funded sedition. The US State Department itself reveals this as they list DA! among many of the "youth movements" they support operating in Russia:
DA!: Mariya Gaydar, daughter of former Prime Minister Yegor Gaydar, leads DA! (Democratic Alternative). She is ardent in her promotion of democracy, but realistic about the obstacles she faces. Gaydar said that DA! is focused on non-partisan activities designed to raise political awareness. She has received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, a fact she does not publicize for fear of appearing compromised by an American connection.
That this funding is nowhere on NED's official website indicates that full disclosures are not being made and that NED is engaged in clandestine funding.

Navalny was involved directly in founding a movement funded by the US government and to this day has the very people who funded DA! defending him throughout Western media. The mention of co-founder Mariya Gaydar is also revealing, as she has long collaborated, and occasionally has been arrested with, Ilya Yashin, yet another leader of a NED-funded Russian "activist" opposition group.
Given these connections, and one more thing he seems to have in common with Yatsenyuk (a political alliance with the U.S.), it is not surprising that the U.S. State Department felt that it must weigh in on Navalny's court case:
In Washington, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said the U.S. government was troubled by the verdict, which "appears to be another example of the Russian government's growing crackdown on independent voices."
If one wasn't aware of Navalny's U.S.-backing, one might reasonably ask what business is it of theirs anyway? But fomenting dissent and starting or appropriating 'color revolutions' is what the US government is in the business of doing - to meet the goals of world hegemony. For another instructive case of how the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) works, read about their long reach and hand in the protests of Hong Kong last year - and note that China - Russia's most important economic and political ally - is the U.S.'s other big target for destabilization from within.

Wherever there is the U.S. helping their version of Democracy to flourish, we find the CIA giving a helping hand. At least historically.
Navalny's neutralization is not a total loss for the State Department, however. Even though the would-be revolutionary could probably never drum up the support necessary to overthrow, Maidan-style, the hugely popular and well supported government of Vladimir Putin, the U.S. now has the opportunity to publicly exclaim how 'undemocratic' the Russian system of governance is, and have multiple media outlets repeat the charge. Navalny is their tool, just as all of Navalny's supporters are his tools. This begs the question though: how does a guy like Navalny manage to get as many Russian people on his side as he does? After all, many people showed up to protest his court case, and a good number of Russians read his blog and pay attention to his speeches (except for the Nationalists it seems).

The schizoid inside

From what's known about Navalny's criminal propensities, strong ambitions to rule, revolutionary rhetoric, and alignment with fascists - coupled with factors that still make Russia a less than perfect place to live with all that the Russian people are still recovering from since the Yeltsin years; we can recall what Dr. Andrew M. Lobaczewski's had to say in his indispensable book Political Ponerology about schizoidal psychopaths, and the environment in which they operate.
When communities lose the capacity for psychological reason and moral criticism, the processes of the generation of evil are intensified at every social scale, whether individual or macrosocial, until they revert to "bad" times.

When a few generations' worth of "good-time" insouciance results in societal deficit regarding psychological skill and moral criticism, this paves the way for pathological plotters, snake-charmers, and even more primitive impostors to act and merge into the processes of the origination of evil. They are essential factors in its synthesis.

During stable times which are ostensibly happy, albeit marked by injury to individuals and nations, doctrinaire people believe they have found a simple solution to fix such a world. Such a historical period is always characterized by an impoverished psychological world-view, a schizoidally impoverished psychological world-view thus does not stand out during such times and is accepted as legal tender. These doctrinaire individuals characteristically manifest a certain contempt with regard to moralists then preaching the need to rediscover lost human values and to develop a richer, more appropriate psychological world-view.

Schizoid characters aim to impose their own conceptual world upon other people or social groups, using relatively controlled pathological egotism and the exceptional tenacity derived from their persistent nature. They are thus eventually able to overpower another individual's personality, which causes the latter's behavior to turn desperately illogical. They may also exert a similar influence upon the group of people they have joined. They are psychological loners who feel better in some human organization, wherein they become zealots for some ideology, religious bigots, materialists, or adherents of an ideology with satanic features. If their activities consist of direct contact on a small social scale, their acquaintances easily perceive them to be eccentric, which limits their ponerogenic role. However, if they manage to hide their own personality behind the written word, their influence may poison the minds of society in a wide scale and for a long time.

Birds of a feather

In light of the above, we can note that it's not only psychologically impoverished Russians, the U.S. government, and the Western media that are coming out to speak in favor of Navalny. Convicted criminal and former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was released from prison by presidential pardon earlier this year, also had to add in his two rubles:
I am convinced that the authorities are preparing their next nasty trick and are already busy putting together the propaganda stories about how a fifth column is defending the Navalny brothers' criminal group on the orders of the [US] State Department. Deprive them of this pleasure. Bring Russian flags, paint the tricolor on your faces. Because tomorrow it will be you who will be fighting for the future of Russia, a wonderful country in which there live people prepared to fight for justice despite the risk.
So in other words, ignore those nasty rumors of the U.S. propping up Navalny and give yourself over to their version of patriotism. Never mind that Khodorkovsky himself raped Russia of its energy, resources, and stability when he was making hay as one of the richest men in the country. Some sense of patriotism there. And never mind that this ruthless oligarch would have stood to benefit by making many billions more if Putin et al. hadn't caught on to his criminally enforced monopolies and collusion with the West. Also never mind that Khodorkovsky became a "political voice for justice" only after he went to prison; Khodorkovsky's latest statement implores Russians to ignore the 'man behind the curtain' in the hopes of convincing those who are ignorant of how the game is rigged - to stay ignorant with a misplaced sense of justice and patriotism.

It stands to reason then that, in addition to all else, if an individual like Mikhail Khodorkovsky is endorsing Alexei Navalny, there must be something very, very off about Navalny.