Navalny, Putin, and Stalin

Demonstrations Saturday in support of detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny were the biggest protests to go ahead without an official permit for many years. An estimated 20,000 to 40,000 people turned out in Moscow, and overall up to 100,000 were on the streets in about 100 cities. Over 3,000 people were arrested — another record — but there was no evidence of the kind of widespread police brutality that might trigger public outrage.

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We should be watching closely. While I consider myself an optimist, I can’t help but wonder if the old Stalin quote will once more ring true:

When there’s a person, there’s a problem. When there’s no person, there’s no problem.

Josef Stalin

Putin already tried to have Navalny assassinated. Will he try again? And, if he succeeds, will someone else rise in his place or will that be enough to silence the Russian people?