Staunton, August 21 – One of the reasons Aleksey Navalny has attracted so much support among Russians (as well as so much criticism by non-Russians) and so much fear and hostility in the Kremlin is that the Russian opposition leader combines a commitment to liberal ideas with support for Russian nationalist causes, Sergey Khazanov-Pashkovsky says.
Navalny isn’t perfect as far as Russian nationalists are concerned or even as a politician, the Riga-based Harbin portal commentator says; but compared to all other prominent politicians, it should be “an affair of honor of each Russian patriot” to back Navalny as much as possible now and in the future (harbin.lv/aleksey-navalnyy-i-russkoe-natsionalnoe-dvizhenie).
Not only has Navalny been expelled from the Yabloko Party for taking part in a Russian March but he has worked with the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) and “openly declared that nationalism ‘must be at the core of the political system of Russia,” meaning “genuine nationalism” and not “Soviet patriotism or various pseudo-patriotic Kremlin ideas.”
Moreover, Khazanov-Pashkovsky continues, “Aleksey Navalny has been one of the few politicians who belongs to the democratic camp who is not afraid to openly raise the question of inter-ethnic conflicts – in the first instance in connection with mass migration (legal and illegal) from the countries of Central Asia and interaction with people from the North Caucasus.”
Navalny did not get swept up in the Crimea is Ours euphoria, but at the same time, he stressed that the return of Crimea to Ukraine should be discussed rather than automatically assumed by a post-Putin leadership, despite his own Ukrainian roots and the fact that many of his close relatives still live there.
Navalny has made many political mistakes, the Harbin commentator says; but he has been right more often than wrong – and he has to be compared with others in the arena rather than by some abstract standard that no one there could possibly meet. Faute de mieux, Khazanov-Pashkovsky says, he deserves the support of Russian nationalists.
And there is an additional reason for backing him, the Harbin commentator says – the ways in which the Kremlin has attacked him. Such measures, Khazanov-Pashkovsky says have “only increased his popularity and the growth of his supporters.” Russian nationalists whatever their differences should be among them.