No, Donald Trump is not the same as Alexei Navalny

(Michael Probst/Associated Press)

No, Donald Trump is not the same as Alexei Navalny

On Ed

Jonah Goudberg

February 19, 2024

Alexei Navalny didn’t just die. He wasn’t just that


. He was tortured to death.

It didn’t happen on the rack or halfway through, but Vladimir Putin, who had tried to take him out earlier, killed Navalny slowly anyway.

Putin sent the Russian dissident and anti-corruption activist to the gulag with the aim of crushing him with forced labor, isolation, hunger and poor medical care until he died. Russia’s claims that he died of sudden death syndrome, even if true, doesn’t change that, as being poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent (2020) and thrown into an Arctic labor camp (2023) supposedly increases the likelihood enlarged to fall prey to SDS.

The question of whether the timing of Navalny’s death was intentional matters geopolitically, but not morally.

If Putin were to order Navalny’s death on Friday, it could shed light on his state of mind. Was Putin sending a message ahead of next month’s elections in Russia? Does that message reflect confidence or uncertainty? Was Putin buoyed by his recent military successes in Ukraine or related political victories in the US Congress? Perhaps Navalny’s death was a thumb in the eye of the West, coinciding with Navalny’s death

Munich Security Conference


Or was he, as some Russian propagandists have speculated, somehow motivated by Tucker Carlson’s treacherously tasteless comments a few days earlier?

On his way back from an interview with Putin and celebrating Russia’s superiority over America in a series of embarrassing videos about supermarkets and subways in Moscow, Carlson appeared at a forum in Dubai. When asked why he had not questioned Putin about the then-living Navalny, Carlson shrugged.

and said

, Every leader kills people. Some kill more than others. Leadership requires killing people. Putin undoubtedly agrees.

That is, if Putin didn’t want the world to know about Navalny’s death


The world would know nothing about it on Friday. The revelation itself is a statement in itself.

What Navalny’s death and his life say


about Putin’s Russia should be obvious to anyone who doesn’t believe leadership requires murder.

What it says about the moral rot among parts of the American right is another matter. For many right-wing and Republican figures, the real lesson of Navalny’s murder is that Navalny = Trump, in Trump’s words: pardoned. writer Dinesh DSouza. The plan of the Biden administration and the Democrats is to ensure that their main political opponent dies in prison. There is no real difference between the two cases.

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich agreed about X




: Navalni


is a brutal reminder that jailing your political opponents is inhumane and a violation of every principle of a free society. Look at the Biden


The government is speaking out against Putin and his imprisonment of his main political opponent, while Democrats in four different jurisdictions are trying to turn President Trump into an American Navalny. The hypocrisy and corruption of the left is astonishing.

DSouza and Gingrich were hardly only by indulging in this grotesque exercise in Soviet-style propaganda. On Monday, Trump himself invoked the comparison on social media. His first mention of Navalny’s name was not to condemn his death or Putin’s role in it, but to portray himself as an American Navalny. The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me increasingly aware of what is happening inside us


country, he declared before airing the usual selfish grievances.

Condemning such false moral equivalences was once central to American conservatism. Ronald Reagan’s U

United Nations.Na

Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and National Review

founder William F. Buckley led those who denounced the anti-Americanism inherent in equating undemocratic and democratic regimes. When someone told Buckley that the US and USSR were the same because they both spent a lot on the military


he replied, “That’s like saying that the man who pushes old ladies out of the way of an oncoming bus is the same as the man who pushes old ladies in front of an oncoming bus.” Both push old ladies around.

Trump is not an innocent anti-corruption crusader who is brutalized and murdered for standing up for democracy and the rule of law. Nor is the Moscow subway system built with slave labor a major indictment of America, as Carlson insinuated.

There are plenty of plausible criticisms of the lawsuits against Trump, but even if you agree with them all (I don’t), the idea that Joe Biden is the moral equivalent of Vladimir Putin is a smear not only of Biden, but of America itself. There’s one reason we know it’s not true: Publicly criticizing Putin’s treatment of Navalny could land you in a Russian cell. Criticizing Biden’s (alleged) treatment of Trump could land you in a Fox News studio.



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