Possibly Putin’s biggest mistake

The death in an arctic penal colony of Alexei Navalny, the thorn in Vladimir Putin’s side for the past decade may prove to be a costly error by the Russian leader as the totem for opposition to the regime has now become something even bigger – a martyr.

Supporters trying to place tributes in Moscow to the anti corruption campaigner are being arrested and world leaders are queueing up to condemn the Kremlin while Navalny’s widow Yulia now finds herself as the new de facto figurehead for those who agree with her husband’s belief that their country is run by crooks.

Much is being said about previous attempts on Navalny’s life, including the smearing of the seams of his underpants with novichok nerve agent in Siberia – which had Yulia not organised his swift exit to receive medical attntion in Germany would certainly have finihed him off in 2020.

When he decided to return to Russia after his recovery he must surely have known what awaited him.

The EU and old Joe Biden are talking about imposing more sanctions on Russia, which is already the most heavily sanctioned nation in the planet, but it’s difficult to know what new measures could possibly result in Vlad undergoing a complete personality change.

What has hardly been mentioned at all worldwide, however, is that despite his stand against corruption in government and the war with Ukraine (which he labelled Putin “stupid” for starting even though he himself considered Crimea to be Russian) Navalny’s politics were distinctly nationalist, going as far as to describe immigrants as “cockroaches” at one point.

So a Russia under Navalny may not have been the seat of democracy that western leaders would have us believe.

But what he has achieved from behind bars and now in death is to coalesce a movement that poses the only viable threat to the country’s biggest murderous despot since Stalin and despite Putin’s ruthlessness in dealing with any opposition to his authority, the seeds of political rebellion have been planted, especially amongst young adults.

The baton has now been passed to Yulia Navalnaya and if she decides to run with it – which is looking likely given her galvanising speech and transformation into a bona fide political figure within two hours of her husband’s death (even though to do so will put her family at even greater risk) – Putin could yet regret pulling that thorn.

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The biggest threat to a Labour victory in the next general election is… The Labour Party.

Sneer and his red right hand Vic Reeves don’t exactly strike me as saviours of the British economy. Saying you’re going to improve public services is one thing, but I want to know how they’re going to achieve this. It shouldn’t be a secret, even if they are saving up the good stuff for the campaign. Where’s the money coming from?

Recent by election results may look impressive, but there’s another factor, and that’s the turnout.

So many people are feeling ambivalent about party politics and disenfranchised by the constant empty rhetoric from performance politicians who put staying on message above providing straight answers to questions that they are voting with their bums by staying at home, which means the next government may be elected by the majority of voters but not the majority of the populace who felt they had no one to represent them.

Labour can’t rely on winning an election purely on the basis that they’re not the Tories. It may seem like power is being handed to them on a plate but there is still a large majority to overturn and you don’t do that by sitting on the fence trying to appease everyone.

Only one thing is going to get millions of disillusioned Brits off their backsides and down to the polling station – credibilty.

And I’m not seeing any anywhere.

Idiots corner

Tipping point

Q: How many wheels doees a quad bike have?

A: Three

Edward Case

Columnist