Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in an article in Time magazine on Monday called Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin an “evil madman” with nuclear weapons and veto rights in the UN Security Council.
“World leaders spoke hypocritically for years about pragmatism and the advantages of international trade (with Russia). Thus, they positioned themselves to benefit from Russian oil and gas, while Putin’s grip on power was getting stronger and stronger,” Navalny says in the article.
He further added, “the question before us, how to stop an evil madman with an Army, nuclear weapons, and a member of the UN Security Council, has yet to be answered. And it is we who must do it.”
Putin “has reminded us once again that the road that starts with ‘a little election fraud’ always leads to a dictatorship. And dictatorships always lead to war. It is a lesson we should not have forgotten,” he stressed.
Navalny, who is serving a nine-year prison sentence, recalled that “between sanctions and military and economic aid, this war will cost hundreds of times more than those lucrative contracts, the signing of which used to be washed down with champagne.”
“Putin has reminded us all of the duck tests: if something looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then, probably, it is a duck,” he noted.
In this regard, he said, “if someone destroys the independent press, organizes political assassinations, and clings to his imperialist delusions, then he is a madman capable of causing a bloodbath.”
“You should not have welcomed him with open arms at international forums. Right now, Putin is teaching the lesson of how to nullify the economic gains achieved by a country for 20 years,” he points out the sharp contraction due to Western sanctions for Russian military intervention in Ukraine.
Putin, who launched last February 24 the so-called Russian “special military operation” in Ukraine, was included by Time in the list of 100 most influential personalities in the world in 2022.
The list also includes the Ukrainian president, Volodymir Zelensky, the commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valery Zaluzhny, and the Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2021.
Poisoned in August 2020 with a Russian-made chemical weapon (Novichok), Navalny, who accuses the Russian secret services, who are allegedly following the Kremlin’s orders, of the assassination attempt, returned in January 2021 to his country after several months of convalescence in Germany.
Within two weeks he was arrested, imprisoned, and sentenced to two and a half years in prison, and since then the West has been insistently demanding his release.