BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS

RUSSIA'S GROWING DISSENT

January 26, 2021 Dana Lewis Season 3 Episode 6
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
RUSSIA'S GROWING DISSENT
Chapters
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
RUSSIA'S GROWING DISSENT
Jan 26, 2021 Season 3 Episode 6
Dana Lewis

On this Back Story Dana Lewis speaks to the daughter of Boris Nemtsov who was murdered in front of the Kremlin.  Zhanna speaks of a the birth of a new national political movement in Russia and the desire to remove Putin.

And The Former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov calls on the EU to pursue sanctions to force the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Plus, analysis of what comes next by Russia expert Alex Kokcharov.

Show Notes Transcript

On this Back Story Dana Lewis speaks to the daughter of Boris Nemtsov who was murdered in front of the Kremlin.  Zhanna speaks of a the birth of a new national political movement in Russia and the desire to remove Putin.

And The Former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov calls on the EU to pursue sanctions to force the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Plus, analysis of what comes next by Russia expert Alex Kokcharov.

Speaker 1:

Your father was killed on the 27th of February, 2015 in front of the Kremlin gun down there. It must've been a terrible moment for you and probably still is.

Speaker 2:

It was , uh , uh, the most dramatic moment , uh, in my life. I think it was , uh , and it is still, it's a big tragedy for myself. And at the same time, it was a decisive moment.

Speaker 1:

Hi everyone. And welcome to backstory. I'm Dana Lewis. On this edition, we talked to a young lady whose father was one of the leading opposition figures in Russia. And for speaking up and speaking out in Putin's Russia, it cost him his life. Also the former prime minister, who later tried to run for president and unseat Putin. He speaks on the recent demonstrations across the country corruption in the jailing of opposition figure Alexei, Navalny, and an expert view on what happens now or at John, and then SOF joins us now from Nizhny Novgorod John , how are you? I'm fine. Thank you. And you very well. I mean, it, it, your father was killed on the 27th of February, 2015 in front of the Kremlin gun down there. It must have been a terrible moment for you and probably still is.

Speaker 2:

It was , uh , uh, the most dramatic moment , uh, in my life. Um, so you wanna , you want to talk about my feelings, what I felt when I , uh , learned that my father had been assassinated? Yes , I think it was , uh , and it is still, it's a big tragedy for myself. And at the same time, it was a decisive moment. Uh, back then , uh, there was one question, should I , uh, keep , uh, silent or should I act, and back then it was a moral choice for me. And I understood perfectly well , uh, those risks, which are normally associated with , uh, being outspoken in Russia. Uh, and so I thought for probably one or two days and realized that , uh, I would be called otherwise , uh, it would be a betrayal of my father, and that's why I , uh, played an active role in the whole investigation. Of course, it was pretty clear for me that no proper would be conducted , uh, but I did what I could to push it forward. So we initiated , uh, and we employed some mechanisms of international oversight , uh, of this investigation and the parliamentary assembly of the council of Europe , uh, approved of a resolution. And it basically outlined , uh, uh, those drawbacks, which , uh, they were in the whole investigation.

Speaker 3:

So the drug that the chief drawback would be if the state doesn't want to cooperate and they're not sincere in finding the killer is they're not going to be found,

Speaker 2:

They are not sincere. They can do that. I think it's not a complicated case for them , uh, but , uh, they don't want to , uh, identify most of months , or of course they don't want to identify the motive behind the investigation. These two questions , uh, still remain and answered. So we , uh , had , uh, the same procedure at , uh , there at the OSI . So , uh, we have the official position of two important international organizations regarding this investigation, but I still believe , uh, that , uh, the truth will come out. Uh, but I understand that is almost impossible that we will , uh, get the truth under the current political leadership in Russia

Speaker 3:

Who killed your dad. Do you think

Speaker 2:

You wanna , you wanna , you want me to say that , uh, they S uh, killing was , um, uh, authorized or directly ordered by legitimate Putin? I don't know because we , uh, no , uh , we , we don't know a lot, or we know very little about all the circumstances , uh, of , uh, of, of this murder, of this brutal murder. Uh, we know some , uh, some people who were directly involved and , uh, they were by the way identified, but , uh,

Speaker 3:

Well , these are, these are the guys, these are the guys who pulled the trigger.

Speaker 2:

I mean , I mean , we have to basically , uh, not we, but the central investigative committee has to , uh, interrogate , uh, rums on Kuduro , uh, who I believe was directly involved in my father's as destination. And it was my request. I filed this requests on a number of occasions, but of course the central investigative committee , uh, does not do its job properly and they are doing it intentionally because , uh, effectively , uh, there , uh, top Russian officials blocked this investigation and it is itself a crime to block , uh, criminal investigations and at least , uh, and I , I said it six years ago and I would like to repeat it right now that [inaudible] best political responsibility for my father's murder.

Speaker 3:

I knew your dad. And , uh, I liked him a lot as a journalist for NBC. I was based there originally in 1998 when the financial crash happened. Uh, and he was one of the first people I interviewed and he talked about how he was removed as deputy prime minister, because he wanted to close all the banks down, all of these corrupt dozens and dozens of banks. And , uh, they were trying to clean up the system and in the end, Yeltsin buckled under the pressure probably of oligarchy. And , uh, but, but then I followed your father also in Sochi when he ran for mayor , um, and asked him why you, you know, look, he was a governor of new Janine Novgorod region, and then he was deputy prime minister, and then suddenly he's running for mayor in Sochi. And the question was why, and obviously we knew the Olympics were going to go there, but , um , following him around in Sochi and Gary Kasparov was there. Um, and he just said, look, we have to start somewhere again to build a bridge of democracy, a free media , um , and then return Russia to back to development again, instead of this stillborn dictatorship. Um, and he was deeply inspired to do that. So it's a terrible loss for Russia, because if he had stayed as a , as a big political player in Russia, don't you think it would be a very different country today?

Speaker 2:

So, first of all, I would like to follow up on , uh, your , uh , uh , most recent remarks and just add to it that my father , uh, also , uh, participated in the original elections in the city of jaroslava and in 2013, he won their elections. He had got elected to the , uh, regional parliament or , uh, of the province of Urus Lovell. And he worked there quite effectively, I should say yes. And , uh, I think that , uh, he was not , uh, an arrogant person and he , uh, wanted to do something , uh, on any level and he was effective and he had a lot of experience in government governance , uh, for example, the region of [inaudible] . Um, so , uh, it's difficult. Uh, I would say yes, if, if my father , uh , had been elected president , uh, in 2000, we would have lived in a totally different country. Uh, of course,

Speaker 3:

What was the point of, and by the way, many people thought that Boris Yeltsin was grooming him to take over , um, and that he would be president one day. And so it was this great opportunity missed by, I think a lot of people think, but what was the point of silencing him , uh , within assassination, because he had been critical of the administration and Putin and the Kremlin for many years, what was the point of it?

Speaker 2:

We can make guesses, but we cannot be so sure of our guesses. Uh, so you know that , uh , Russia is a repressive state , uh, it's governed by an autocrat. And of course, all , uh, leaders of the Russian opposition are under threat and on the attack, they can be killed. They can be thrown into prison, they can be poisoned. So it was the case with Alex [inaudible] , uh, he was poisoned with Navi , choke a nerve agent, but he managed to survive and was a miracle. So it is how old , uh , autocratic States , uh , behave. There is nothing new about it. They're afraid of losing power and the ultimate goal for any older crowds and put in is by no way, an exception is to retain power presumably full life. So, and of course they are afraid of , uh, any people who , uh , oppose, who are critical of the government , uh, why they, why they, why they chose my father as a target that I don't know, I want to get an answer to this question. It's an important question. Uh, but he was the powerful voice and he was , he was an experienced politician.

Speaker 3:

He was a powerful voice for sure. And I completely agree with you, John. And some people say maybe because that's when the invasion of Ukraine was taking place in the Crimea and he had, he had certain facts on what was sticking out .

Speaker 2:

I would, I would, I would, I would say different things regarding what you've just said about Ukraine. Yes. He was working , uh, on an investigative report about Russia's involvement , uh, military actual involvement into Ukraine, but , uh, you have to bear in mind. Uh, their political are in 2014 and 2015. It was very different from what is happening now because Putin , uh , has lost a lot of his legitimacy since 2015. So not back then. Uh, the level of support of Putin was really high. It was literally 87%. So, and , uh, he , uh, of course in this environment, it was way easier to attack , uh, opposition, politicians. And I also think that probably putting head something personal with my father, because my father , uh, I would put it this way. I made really impolite remarks , uh, uh , in regard to Putin , uh, and probably he was really offended with his remarks. I think that he takes a lot of things really personally,

Speaker 3:

If I can ask you then, are there parallels with Alexei Navalny because Nevada needs video of corruption in the Kremlin and Putin Putin's wallets, where he talks in names, names about people who have kept money and shadowy offshore companies for Vladimir Putin, this billion dollar palace. I mean, he is called him a thief and basically called him a mafia leader. Um, it is very personal.

Speaker 2:

I would S I would add to that. He calls him a very old man, and that is really personal. Uh, I cannot, I cannot translate it into English directly , uh, but he , uh, he refers to him as [inaudible] . I have to, if you , if you can, if you can translate it , uh, please do that. So , uh, I think that he regards Novalis as his enemy number one, and of course it's because , uh, of Nevada is , uh, investigations into grant corruption in Russia. And of course, because of his personal , uh, attacks , uh, that are that target mainly put , yes, I absolutely agree. And also Nevada , he is a very powerful politician. Uh, he has a network of offices all across Russia and his infrastructure is extremely efficient. So he managed to bring together active people, very capable of working and very passionate about , uh, bringing change to Russia. Uh, of course all these factors contributed to what had happened to all [inaudible] . I mean, his attempted poisoning.

Speaker 3:

Do you fear for his safety in prison now because they tried to poison him in August? Um, they have , he has since come out with this videotape embarrassing, the, and Putin and all of the people around Putin , um , including the federal security service , uh, you know, all sorts of people in government , um, what's going to happen to him .

Speaker 2:

Oh, well, I would refrain from making predictions. Um, I am extremely worried. Uh, I think that , uh, there are real threats , uh, for him, and that was the reason why I joined the protest in [inaudible] . I think our active , um, engagement can save his life. And I'm not an exception. I'm a citizen of my country. Uh, I don't want my country to be , uh, an unlovable state. I want my country to be a democratic state, and I want , uh, our rights as citizens to be observed by the authorities. And of course, I feel very personal about Aloxi whom I regard as my friend. So we , uh , we were in touch before his detention. So we met on a number of occasions and I do, I truly believe that he , uh, I would like him to be our next president.

Speaker 3:

What do you think is going to happen with these demonstrations? They are calling for more of them. Do you think that the, and how is the Kremlin going to deal with it?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I am not. Uh , um, pre-school who is put in spooks , man . So you have to ask him about , uh, about , uh, their plans. So my plan is the giant , uh, demonstrations on the 31st of January in support of Alexina wildland and in support , uh, of , uh, the idea that we should get rid of our older credit regime, and we should , uh, bring change, bring democratic change to our country. So , uh , I know one , the one thing as we are talking right now, these news came , um, I think one hour, two hours ago. So , um, he is , uh, Allison , Yvonne is not on the arrest till , uh , the 15th of February. So they hearing , uh, regarding , uh, his , um, suspended sentence , uh, is scheduled for the 2nd of February. Uh, but also , uh, there gonna be another hearing on the 28th of January. So , uh, they are going to , uh, consider whether his current arrest , uh, is in with our laws. And so I think that is, it is a reaction to massive protest that we had last Saturday. So I think that's a sign that the authorities I afraid of are big crowds and they cannot ignore , uh, our views, our opinions , and the fact that thousands of people took to the streets, not only in most consent Petersburg, but the nutrient auger , the biggest demonstration, and now in the history of our city and everywhere in big cities, in small cities everywhere, I think we are witnessing now affirmation of a nationwide movement. It is what , uh, we didn't have several years ago. Now it might evolve into yes , a nationwide movement against the current political regime.

Speaker 3:

If your father was alive today, what would he be saying? Do you think,

Speaker 2:

He'd be saying

Speaker 3:

These demonstrations about an avant that they knew each other? Of course,

Speaker 2:

Of course they work with the charter . My father was very supportive or like Saint of Alexander valine , uh, or he would have joined the protests for sure. I think that he would , uh , have been real outspoken. Uh, he would do everything to , uh, defend Alexina volley because he always , uh, he always defended all political prisoners and he , uh, participated in one man protests in support for political product , uh, prisoners all the time. I think that , uh, he would have been really inspired with what , uh, I swore last Saturday, very martial arts ,

Speaker 3:

Knowing your dad. I think he would be inspired. I know he was tough and he was open and democratic, and I think he would be very proud of genre Nimsoft today. So,

Speaker 2:

So probably I will have a chance to ask him one day though. I'm not a religious person.

Speaker 3:

Are you going to last question? I know you've done journalism. Are you going to go into ,

Speaker 2:

I'm still a journalist? What

Speaker 3:

Are you going to go into politics in Russia?

Speaker 2:

Uh, no. Uh, so I basically, I founded the bore center foundation for freedom in Germany. It's registered in Germany and , uh , now I'm focused on the development of the abortions of foundations of freedom. And I find this job really interesting. And I think , uh, we ha we don't have a lot of impact because we are a smaller organization, but we have some input and I want to grow this organization to make it really impactful. We have very few organizations such as the bore center foundation. Uh, it's a policy organization. Yes, we are focused on education on journalism next like that. I am a journalist , uh , uh, till 2020, I worked for Dutch Valley , the German public broadcaster. I interviewed the world leaders , um , in many, in many countries of the world. Um, now I'm, I'm a freelance journalist and I am working on my own projects. Uh , basically all these projects and I'm in English. So I want to switch to English language, journalism, wish me luck ,

Speaker 3:

Good luck. And really it was a privilege knowing your dad and it's wonderful meeting you. And thank you so much on it .

Speaker 2:

Thank you very much. Have a nice day. Good luck to you.

Speaker 3:

All right , Mikhail, Cassiana joins me now from just outside of Moscow. He is a Russian politician who served as the prime minister , uh , from 2000 to 2004. And I've interviewed him many times and respect his opinion very deeply on what's happening inside Russia, Mikhail, some stunning events , uh, on the weekend. When you take a look at the, not just the numbers of people, but when you take a look at the landscape of protests, I mean, close to a hundred of them, right across the country.

Speaker 4:

Yes. Landscape geography as like we say, geography is amazing. It's never happened before in Russia in the last , last 20 years. In fact, it's more than the 500 cities in the old Russia, just , uh, on the streets of conduit , more than a hundred cities, people appear to , to protest, to protest against , uh , against what's what going on in Russia, in the country and protests against arrest of Alexander Berlin .

Speaker 3:

What got them out there? Is it just Navani's arrest or is there more to it

Speaker 4:

Deeper in fact, people already are tied to of , um , uh, uh, and the discontents by the circus radiating . It has been the Kool-Aid that . And , uh , um , I will say a little less behavior of , of, of authorities on many, many respects. Uh, uh, I would say , uh, of , of authorities to establish some kind of a channel for communication with the, with the society. And , uh, uh , I would say elegant behavior, et cetera, et cetera. But the three gov, this was arrested of [inaudible] who after poisoning came back to Moscow and was arrested at the airport. People were shocked, shocked by that. And a blast on that off the recent , the movie, I would say video reach a place , an interim [inaudible] about the corruption route here , man , the game , of course , uh , just added to these two disrespect as well, too.

Speaker 3:

I sat through that entire video. Um, and I was, I thought it was remarkable. It's very detailed on the corruption of, of Putin , uh, people around him, hundreds of millions of dollars taken this palace near the black sea, you know , Putin shrugged it off this week and kind of smirked. And as you said, arrogantly responded, you know, maybe one day he'd like to have a winery, but , uh, the Kremlin has just said, all of this is false and fiction. Is it fiction? Or is it real?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, all people of course believe is real. It's not necessarily to be registered as a, as ownership box . In fact, just two minutes, two main factors that, that , uh , the , the sky was locked around that. And , uh, but for, for, for, for, for aircraft and the final quarter ,

Speaker 3:

No fly zone by the FSB, the federal security service ,

Speaker 4:

Uh, it was done officially by ministry of transportation because of their authority. But of course , uh , uh, of course I'm the, I'm the security and the whole, the whole area is under security of FSB or secret service, which protects the people. Um, high-level people around it . That's why people, people of course have no doubts , uh , about, about it

Speaker 3:

And are people outraged. I mean, you know, people are struggling during the pandemic. The economy's not good, their stagnation in Russia. I think that when they take a look at this monstrous palace that, you know, it looks like another Versailles, they must be furious.

Speaker 4:

There's not , there's not a real, I would say a major aspect, as I said, that was like a trigger or just a decent old , or let's say discom thing to discontent and the people , uh, uh, unacceptable behavior of authorities, et cetera. But, you know, just corruption in Russia is always was a problem. And , uh , a majority of , um , of , um , the generations they lived during the corruptions of during Soviet period.

Speaker 3:

I mean, it's one thing, if you have corruption by bandits , it's another thing, if your leader is seen to be stealing billions of dollars from people though,

Speaker 4:

Well, young people for new generation who don't have this in there and their memories, of course, for them, it's like explosion for , for , uh , teenagers and on a cheek talk , uh , just , uh , different movies and the different placement there , of course just , uh , very much created the whole atmosphere around it. But as I say , that's not the main issue for majority of those people who were in the streets. Um , now last Saturday , um, mainly that is , uh, um , uh, I would say , uh , discontent is maturing in their minds . And that's what I would like to say. Just the main, the main issue for these 2021 East just constitutional events , elections to state Duma. And that could be, I would say the critical point for the whole historical, I would say, period of Russia at this moment. And this,

Speaker 3:

The thing is that you have parliamentary elections, the Duma, and they're coming up in September and what what's at stake here.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, that's, that is that's when , uh, that is the issue when , uh , that is the point when people started to understand that , uh , their constitutional rights, they watch our storm or authorities don't allow at all, or in principle, don't allow people to express their, the , the , the , uh , uh , position , uh, to express their opinion. They don't allow opposition parties to participate. They don't allow a position that candidates to participate in elections, or even for those , uh , few , uh, which they allowed to come in. They just then falsified the results. That's what , uh, it happened in December, 2011 and could happen 2022 .

Speaker 3:

You ran for president. So

Speaker 4:

Parliamentary elections, when it goes in present, they cut me from elections. When my supposed to grow, they on the earliest stage one month after registration, they caught me because just them , the stood , that could be a danger , but I mean , I mean, in December, 2010, 2011, there were , there was a results. There was a bill I'm in three elections. And then at that time , um, uh, I would say hundred thousand people in Moscow appeared , uh , Pete on the streets to protest. And at that time , uh, I , sorry, just put started to somehow to relax the situation. Uh, he made a decision to, I would say, ease registration on political parties and some other minor things. But then when demonstrations disappeared from Moscow streets, they stopped all those changes and even , uh , squeeze the whole environment, they won't fill them all

Speaker 3:

Very quickly. What do you think of Nevani ? You know, him, you've met with him many times. You were in a coalition with him where you, at one point what's what's, what's your take on him? I mean, he bravely came back. I don't think a lot of people,

Speaker 4:

His breath cross on. That's no doubt about that. Even for many, many people who doubt about his, I would say political, I would say strength . So political political position, because sometimes people criticize for him , for him for extreme rights, expressions, or extreme lefts expressions, et cetera, et cetera. But he's really a real leader of the, of the protests on the street progress . He's the leader of this and he's leader of youth . That's definitely, there is no any other of such a , I would say it was such a popularity and he's very brave person. And because of his coming back, many people who didn't support him right now change the attitude to miss Nevada that's .

Speaker 3:

So in that video, then we'll come back to that video for a moment. I mean, she called Putin, abandoned a thief. He listed all of the people with their pictures, with their names, the so-called wallets, the people who store the administration, not the administration store, the president's money illegally in the shadows. That seems like an act of,

Speaker 4:

As I say, there is no doubt that a in the , right now, the bright sister presented of a position and no one is a , I would say, have doubts about it . Now that's never going to get out of prison. Uh, I don't, I mean, the prison,

Speaker 3:

Is he ever going to be allowed out of prison after doing that video?

Speaker 4:

That's interesting story right now, there is a discussion about that. In fact, I will tell you on this stage, that behavior of Portugal and the sorority with respect to , um , [inaudible] needs , I would say freedom depends on the position of , uh , leaders of European union , uh, for Russia, for Puccio positional European union. It's very important Russian economy in a very poor position at this moment. And , uh, at least not in relations, economic relations in particular with European union, that's important issue for Mr. Porter. And that's why, that's why , uh , he, I feel he wants and his people around. They want, they want nobody to put the , to put to jail for a long time, but the situation could change. They could somehow to reconsider their emotional or you to this move in. And somehow, somehow just to get a little bit back to the reality and to even legal justice and to release him from these, that would say , uh , convincing what they just artificially created on this stage. And , uh, but in any case he would not be released , uh , completely, but it could be, he could be put on the , in the, in the, in that arrested at home, but not in jail.

Speaker 3:

So you're saying the EU, which is wobbly and wavering on Russia and sanctions. And they met this week and they kind of came up with no decision, which is pretty common for the EU, but they are going to come to Russia. You urge them to take those sanctions. Otherwise, if they don't keep the pressure on Nevada and he may spend a long time in prison,

Speaker 4:

I have to express just the whole, the whole, I would say, Oh, to, to, to what's happened around my body . When it , first of all, at the issue, number one, that is , uh , application of , uh, of, of nerve agent luggage that is prohibited. And I, as I understand from all those reports, that there is no doubts of , um, uh, uh, organization of , uh , recognition of chemical weapons that the post maybe joked , and there was application of this in Russia is the same

Speaker 3:

Chemical weapons convention.

Speaker 4:

That is a violation of the month on national law. That's the issue number one, which could be considered. And secondly, of course, more internal issue like Noah and his arrests there , the human rights abuse, et cetera , but the previous , the , the , the , the , the , the , the primary issue, of course, Navy Nichelle ,

Speaker 3:

Ricardo Cassiana hallways , and Hunter to talk to you. Good to see you.

Speaker 4:

Thank you very much.

Speaker 3:

Alex Cook chiro is a political risk analyst, and he knows Russia well, Belarus and other parts of Eastern Europe. Hi, Alex, pretty remarkable scenes we've seen , uh , in Moscow and right across the country all the way up to a lot of our stock.

Speaker 5:

Uh, yes, it was quite sizable turn out , uh, in more than a hundred cities across the country from Vladivostok and Yakutsk in Eastern Russia , uh, in Yakutsk people , uh , turned up to protest despite minus 52 degrees Celsius , uh, all the way to the Western cities of Colombian grads, Saatchi and St . Petersburg. So we wanted significant turnout.

Speaker 3:

What do these demonstrations represent? Is this just about the jailing of Nevada County , or is it more,

Speaker 5:

It is a combination of factors and arrest of Nevada was one of those factors. Another factor was a release of , um, a film by Nevada , the steam about allergic , uh, corruption , uh, in the Russian administration and allergic unexplained wealth enjoyed by Alex. Have you seen the video? Yes. I've seen the video. Uh,

Speaker 3:

I think most people, I mean, I think we have to talk about it for a minute, because just saying there's a film out there is not enough. First of all, it is almost two hours. It is very detailed by Alexa and the Valley and his team going through Putin's accumulation of extreme wealth , um, over 20 years. And he named his names, he does flow charts on, he calls them his wallets. Uh , he shows this palace that he has built near the black sea that supposedly could be a billion dollars by their numbers, interior pictures, orders for furniture. And I mean, he really directly goes after president Putin saying that he's a thief and he's surrounded by thieves any stolen from the country. And people have to go to the street and fight this so that the thievery ends it's very powerful.

Speaker 5:

It is. And , uh, it's, it's a very, you know , uh , very interested in film and dozens of millions of people worldwide, not only in Russia have watched it , uh, it is obviously the blockbuster of , uh, uh, you know, of Russia in 2021. It's been watched by nearly a hundred million people, which is remarkable when , when you think about it, if she

Speaker 3:

Gonna get out of jail, I mean, I think that Putin and the Kremlin knowing them the way I do, and I was in the country for 12 years. Um, the Putin's can not take this not personally. Um , and I think they're going to throw away the key.

Speaker 5:

I think it is increasingly likely that Nevada only will remain in prison for an extended period of time. The fact that he was reportedly targets of an assassination back in August last year when , uh , he was poisoned re again, reportedly with a Novick choppy chemical agents back inside in Siberia suggests that , uh , you know, the rust , some strong , um , decisions , uh, which are made by very senior people in Russia , uh, regarding the Valley ,

Speaker 3:

He says Putin would have had to sign off. There's just , nobody else would have allowed a political assassination to take place.

Speaker 5:

Uh, pretty much so. Yes. And , uh , it does sound credible that , uh, um, an order of political assassination of this magnitude would come from very high up in the Russian, in the Russian leadership,

Speaker 3:

If you're good at managing risk and assessing risk in Russia, is this just another attack or do you consider it a new chapter because we've had journalist and it pulled a coast Gaia that was shot at her apartment before because of her reporting on Chechnya, Boris, Nimsoft an opposition figure killed, I mean, literally right in front of the Kremlin. Um, but I mean, the Valley is a very high profile opposition figure for them to take him out now. For what reason? Why,

Speaker 5:

Honestly, we don't know why, you know, if there was an assassination order , uh , we don't know why the timing was in August, 2020. The fact that Nevada has survived it and recovered and decided to come back to Russia , um, obviously sends a strong signal to the Kremlin that he intends to fight, and he intends to , uh , continue his opposition to the Kremlin and to poutine . And it only sends signals to the Kremlin that , uh, in order , uh, to mitigate , uh, Nevada and other opposition figures , uh, the criminal Kremlin must do something. And I think it looks increasingly likely that he will stay in prison for an extended period of time. And the fact that, you know, I think the fact that the way this large protests , uh, it's only , uh, it's only adds to this because if now Nevada said free, it would suggest that the protests work and that the Kremmling , uh, can be pressured into releasing , uh, arrested , uh, political opponents by large-scale turnouts , uh , uh, during protests .

Speaker 3:

Do you think that the Kremlin and Putin are caught in a corner? I mean, they said that they would arrest him the Valley. If he came back, probably hoping that he wouldn't come back, he came back, he forced their hand, and now they're stuck because if they let them out, they look too soft and that's not a good thing in Russia if they keep them in, it's going to keep firing the street and protests .

Speaker 5:

Yes. But I think, I think the calculation is very similar with calculations, which were happening back in 2003 with , uh, businessmen Mikhail. Khodorkovsky there have been threats of his arrest, which he ignored. And he came back to Russia. And despite the fact that he was given multiple warnings, that there will be prosecution against him, unless he stops pursuing political goals , uh, and leaves the country altogether. Uh, he would face an arrest. He disobeyed, he decided to continue , uh, with his political agenda and he was arrested and he spent more than 10 years in prison. And I think it's increasingly likely I see these parallels with Khodorkovsky. And I think it's increasingly likely that the Kremlin will , uh, we'll , we'll keep Navantia in prison for an extended period of time. Despite the fact that , uh, eight, eight, eight is likely to be a trigger to , uh, protests .

Speaker 3:

How do you read Novotny ? I mean,

Speaker 5:

Kremlin's perspective, the protests are not life-threatening. They were not yet the way they were quite significant, quite large, but , uh, you know, in Moscow, there are different estimates between 20 and 40, maybe 50,000 people turned up 15 million people, 50, even 50,000 is not significant for protests. So from Kremlin's perspective , uh, Nevada only doesn't come on the streets. Um , so , uh, he cannot mobilize enough people to create genuine threats to the Kremlin,

Speaker 3:

But he's a popular figure. And they've just made a very popular now. I mean, they've made them , some people have even used the word Mandela . I don't think he's Mendela figure yet, but he's certainly in re in Russia terms, he's not a holder Kowski who was a rich oligarch who ran oil companies and was arrested off his private jet. I mean, Nevada money is, is a pretty common guy. He's a lawyer. And you know , he's not living beyond his means. And suddenly a lot of Russians will identify with him and support him. I mean, you've got videos on Tik TOK where school kids are taking down portraits of Putin and putting up portraits of Nevada County and they have received millions of views.

Speaker 5:

Yes, nav only is quite popular, but we have to remember that his popularity mostly lies with the urban middle is in Moscow St . Petersburg and other larger cities across Russia. And he is still some way off from, you know, popularity amongst various social classes across the country, live in , you know , across different types of localities.

Speaker 3:

Although you saw protests and 11 times zones. I mean, I don't want to overstate the demonstrations either because I think they are still relatively small, but the , the width and the breadth of them across the country shows you that he is tapped into digital media. He is tapped into social media , um , and people now are not getting their news on Navalny from the main Kremlin television stations who get their programming from the Kremlin. I mean, this guy has real support out there in social media with young people , uh , with different age groups in the demonstration . So you can't exactly put a limit on this and say, it's going to end a certain way. We really don't know, do we it's the beginning.

Speaker 5:

Yes. Uh, and I'm not going to dispute this , uh, the fact that these protests took place across the entire country in , in very diverse cities. And , uh, there were, you know, a lot of protests, a lot of protests who actually turned up for the first time to protest, which I think is quite important. Uh, but from the prominence perspective, it's still not enough to , um, to generate genuine threats to the continued , uh, uh, rule of the, of the ruling elite. So of Putin and his administration

Speaker 3:

Read is right. And I think the Kremlin will dig in here and they're not going to give any ground which leads to more confrontation and more demonstrations in the meantime, last question to you because you deal with risk and you , you deal in , uh , with corporate risk as well. A lot of people, I mean, foreign companies, a lot of them left Russia anyway, with , with the first rounds of sanctions. But do you think that there will be more sanctions because there are certainly a call for that?

Speaker 5:

Well, we've seen these calls for more sanctions by the European union specifically in response to , um, you know, to, to, to, to, to Nevada is the rest and to the use of heavy force against protestors . But also we have to remember that , uh , there are calls , um , for new sanctions in the U S and they STEM from , uh, other things , uh, which also include allegations of cyber attacks by , uh , reportedly Russian actors against us government and us private sector funds. Uh, the cyber attacks, well , very much large scale, and there have been statements from the , at that time. It was still , um, we , uh , team of , uh, president elect by the now president Biden that there will be consequences and that there will be , uh , sanctions coming in response to these , um, incidents. So I think we're likely to see more threats of sanctions and potentially more sanctions . But the big question is what the sanctions will be from the European union. I think personal sanctions against individuals in the , uh, in the criminal administration are more likely rather than , uh , economic sanctions. There are a lot of business interests in the European union, which , uh , still favor doing business in Russia. We know that Russia still supplies a lot of gas and oil to the European union and the infrastructure projects in place, despite the fact that that's subject to us sanctions. Um, so I think is going to be a very mixed picture. Uh, the European union sanctions are less likely to be economic and more personal targeted sanctions against the specific individuals.

Speaker 3:

Let's end where we started when you saw those images on the weekend and how many different cities they were in and watch them unfold through the day. What was your reaction? What did you think?

Speaker 5:

It was impressive. I expected that there will be protests , uh, on, on that day, but I didn't expect that they will be, you know, across the entire country across , uh , so many cities, over a hundred cities across Russia, and they will be such a big turnout. And also I got the impression that the protesters this time around , uh, appear to be somewhat more assertive in their actions and less frightened of the police. And this could mean that could be, can be potential change in the way these protests , uh, uh, take place in the coming weeks. It will be another protest on 31st of January. It's a good

Speaker 3:

Point because I was watching in Moscow where they were fighting back with police St. Petersburg, where they were pelting them, showering them, burying them with snowballs and fighting and pushing. And , uh, yeah, it's, it's got the potential to kind of spin into a more violent showdown as these continue Alex Cook tariff . Thank you so much.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much. Thanks a lot. Have a good evening. And that's our second backstory on Russia unrest. So much to play for in the country. Putin is getting old and it feels like he's been the president forever 20 years is forever polls show. Most Russians want change. And the question is, will there be a peaceful transition or just more repression and stagnation in that great country? I'm Dana Lewis, please subscribe to the podcast and I'll talk to you again.