Who Is Alexei Navalny? The Sharp & Threatening Opposition To Vladimir Putin
Alexei Navalny is a character you have surely heard spoken of during the last few months. He is a Russian politician and one of the only real figures who position themselves in opposition to wannabe Tsar, Vladimir Putin.
Navalny made international headlines in August last year after he fell desperately ill on a domestic flight in Russia. The Kremlin has poisoned ‘unsuitables’ before. Navalny was rushed to a Berlin hospital deemed as a safe location for treatment as it dawned on both Alexei and his people that the Kremlin may be behind his sudden sickness. Navalny came close to death but triumphed over the poison. He spent five months in Berlin.
In the five months that passed during Navalny’s recovery much was revealed. It turns out that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok (a favourite of the Kremlin). This confirmed what the world already suspected that the Kremlin had attempted to assassinate an opposition politician. Putin is the king of disinformation so despite the fact everyone kind of knows a thing, no one can be sure they know it.
Putin and The Kremlin were hoping that despite the failed attempt on Navalny’s life, the effect would ultimately still be the same, no more Navalny. Like Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky and so many other Russian dissidents before him, once the threat to life becomes clear, Russia no longer becomes a place of safety and refuge.
It was plain as day to Navalny, his family and even the rest of the world that The Kremlin wanted him dead… and yet, not only has Navalny returned to the motherland, but he continues to tirade against Putin and The Kremlin. The power of this signal is the epitome of Skin In The Game. It is why thousands of people are protesting in support of Navalny and it is why global support is completely in his corner.
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You Signal By Taking Risk – Credibility Is Gained By Owning Your Risk
Navalny owns his risk.
His risk exposed is considerable. Not only is his life quite clearly on the line, but Navalny also faces the Russian courts under the guise of farcical charges.
Navalny returning to Russia exposes him to significantly more threats, both numerous and severe, than had he simply deferred to the route of his comrades and taken up a nice job in London and criticise the Kremlin from abroad. Russia can control the domestic narrative, so although the rest of us in Europe hear about all the terrible things happening in Russia from the mouths of these ex power brokers, the people that need to hear the message most, the Russians, never hear the whole story.
Navalny knows this, and did not want to be yet another Russian yelling about Putin from the comfort of a Kensington apartment. Navalny is willing to die on his shield for his cause. The essence of having Skin In The Game. For this Navalny yields, enormous credibility and through his bravery empowers thousands of people to support his message as well. Those very same people, who might have otherwise weened back onto the RT teet.
Why Do We Remember The Spartans?
These were a but a small number of proud people from a single island. Yet they have towered over much larger and more significant cultures to sit atop the hill of what our modern culture views as bravery, aesthetics and traditional masculinity and femininity.
Spartan mothers would infamously send off their sons as they left for war with the following message…
“(in reference to the warriors shield) You return with it, or on it” – Spartan Mother.
This is Skin In The Game. It is a question of honour. It is a question of pride. It is a question of authenticity and credibility. Who are you if you do not act as you say.
Navalny is acting as he is saying. Which in regular circumstances does not even warrant a pat on the back. But against the opposition Navalny faces, for him to act out what he stands for deserves a round of applause.
Navalny will either defeat the enemy and return on his shield, or he will die fighting on it.
Skin In The Game.
Skin In The Game Might End Up Saving Navalny
The ironic side to all of this is that Navalny’s brazen return to Russia and the support his doubled down credibility reeps, is that it might actually be the very thing he needed to do if he was ever going to win in the first place.
We are but play things for the gods. This ironic take is for their amusement. Our drama is their theatre.
You signal by taking risk, and you gain credibility by taking risks in public. The more authenticity and credibility you have the more the power and effect your actions have. Navalny is standing in legitimate opposition to one of the most corrupt politic leaders in the world. There is very obvious precedent for what happens to people like Navalny.. and yet he persists nonetheless.
Navalny’s attempted assassination brought attention to him. Navalny’s return to Russia has galvanized millions outside of Russia to his side and even potentially millions internally as well. Thousands are marching against Putin and with Navalny, but unlike the staged opposition Russians have become desensitised too – these protests carry legitimate threat.
Navalny’s ownership of such extreme risk might end up yielding such extreme reward. Time can only tell these things, but for us we can firmly state that Alexei Navalny is the epitome of what it is to have Skin In The Game.
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