Sunday, February 14, 2021

Yavlinsky Attack on Navalny Hurts Democratic Opposition and Helps Putin’s Fascist Regime, Skobov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 13 – Grigory Yavlinsky and his Yabloko Party which has backed him in his criticism of Aleksey Navalny has harmed the democratic resistance to Putin’s fascist regime and thus intentionally or not helped strengthen the Kremlin against the possibility of change for the better, Aleksandr Skobov says.

            Yavlinsky and Yabloko have the right to make that choice, the Moscow commentator says; but it is critically important that everyone recognizes what their choice is. They have decided to come down on the side of the regime and against that of those who are really struggling against it (

            And that is the case, they commentator says, even though in his article, Yavlinsky has raised two important issues: the far greater impact Putin’s constitutional changes have than many imagine and the risk that that hopes for horizontal social integration in post-industrial societies are quite likely misplaced and that steps must be taken to overcome that trend.

            But “the vileness” of what Yavlinsky and Yabloko have done cannot and must not be ignored. It is of course possible to criticize someone who is the victim of illegal state actions, but this “always has moral limitations,” the most important of which is that the critic must not say things that justify such illegal actions.

            Suggestions by Yavlinsky indirectly and his supporter Sergey Ivanenko in terms that “it is not Putin who has already led Russia toward fascism but Navalny and his supporters who are irreversibly doing so now” are not only wrong but impermissible because they suggest that Russians should work to block the opposition, something that helps the fascist regime.

            What Yavlinsky and Yabloko are doing thus “in fact helps the Kremlin weaken the Navalny movement, the pressure on the dictatorship internal and external, and seeks to convince people not to go into the streets” against Putin, Skobov says.

            It is of course true that such a position has a right to exist just as the position which holds that the democratic opposition is destroying Russia and leading to its “enslavement by trans-national capitalism.” But everyone must understand that “by occupying such a position, you are making a definite choice and standing on a particular side.”

            Skobov says that he “like many other supporters of ‘a European choice for Russia’ occupy a diametrically opposed position to Navalny’s. I consider,” he continues, “that the philosophical basis of the movement started by Navalny are the values of freedom, law, social justice and human dignity, that is, European democratic values.”

            “This movement is the only real political force in Russia standing in opposition to the fascist dictatorship of Putin,” and therefore it must be supported, not attacked, Skobov argues. Yavlinsky and his Yabloko Party “today are struggling against ‘a European choice for Russia’ and in fact are accomplices of Putin’s fascist dictatorship.”

            That makes it impossible for t hoses who support that choice to support him, with one exception, Skobov says. If Yavlinsky and Yabloko are subjected to direct repression, he would support them just as he would support “members of Stalinist organizations” who fell victim to illegal actions by the regime.

            Navalny and his movement understand as Yavlinsky and his do not that fighting that regime won’t be an easy and quick struggle and will inevitably involve victims. That is the way of the world in dictatorships based on force alone. “This is a war in which sometimes one has to throw cavalry against tanks.”

            In such a situation, “no one thinks that the cavalry can defeat the tanks. No one expects that the Putin dictatorship will be overthrown in the near future. But it will be overthrown only by those who pass through this phase.” And because that is so, Navalny’s people are “right and Yavlinsky isn’t.”

            “Yavlinsky and his comrades in arms are sowing the most harmful illusions that it is possible to avoid this, that one can seek ‘constructive dialogue’ with the Putin regime, and that if pressure is not put on the dictatorship, then all this can be avoided,” Skobov continues. But that is not only nonsense but undercuts the chances for a better future.

            In fact, the commentator argues in conclusion, Yavlinsky and Navalny have entirely different views of the ruling elite. “Yavlinsky believes in the possibility of compromise with it. He wants this compromise. Navalny by means of his ‘Putin palace’ film and other investigations is explaining to people that no compromise with this ruling elite is possible.”

            That is not because they are rich but because the Putin ruling stratum lacks “any conscience or morality. It has too low a sense of social responsibility.” And because that is so, Skobov says, it must be replaced entirely because only in this way can Russia have a better future. Those like Yavlinsky who don’t understand this are thus especially dangerous.


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