Saturday, November 27

Navalny calls on West to crack down on corruption on the anniversary of the poisoning

Alexei Navalny, a critic of the jailed Kremlin, called on the West to crack down on corruption on Thursday as he marked the first anniversary of his poisoning.

Navalny, 45, argued in an opinion piece written From his prison cell that corruption is not only an internal problem of countries such as Russia, Eritrea, Myanmar and Venezuela, but “it is almost invariably one of the main causes of the global challenges facing the West.”

He regretted that most leaders see corruption as a “secondary agenda” issue and yet blame it for failures, “either their own or, more commonly, their predecessors.”

He called on the West to take five “realistic and easy-to-implement” steps to combat corruption. These include the creation of a special category of “countries that encourage corruption” to allow general sanctions against them, and the “transparency imposed” by publishing any contracts between Western companies and their partners with countries that pose corruption risks if the contracts are somehow connected. on the way to the state, your official, or your relatives.

He also called for more sanctions against individuals, including “oligarchs, mainly those in Putin’s entourage”, and for countries with already existing tools against foreign corruption, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, to use them more effectively.

“The sad fact is that even Western law enforcement agencies treat corrupt foreign officials with child gloves,” he wrote.

“You do not need money, soldiers, reconfiguration of industry or world politics to start acting. Only political will, which, sadly, is often in short supply,” he added.

His comments were published in various European outlets, including The Guardian (UK), Le Monde (France) and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany) on Thursday. Navalny was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok on August 20, 2020, while traveling in Russia to support opposition candidates before the parliamentary elections.

‘A pre-planned provocation’

He was flown to Germany, where he spent five months convalescing and was arrested by Russian authorities on the day of his return to the country and then sentenced to 2 and a half years behind bars for failing to respect the terms of his probation for a previous conviction. . for embezzlement while he was being treated in Berlin.

He has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating his failed assassination, which the Kremlin has strongly denied. Moscow also says it doubts its fiercest critic has been poisoned and accused the West of “Russophobia.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said, for example, on Friday that “the actions taken by the German authorities over the past 12 months clearly show that a pre-planned provocation was carried out against Russia.”

In a statement issued earlier this week, it said the allegations were “unfounded” despite multiple labs confirming traces of Novichok were found in samples from Navalny.

He reiterated allegations that Germany has not produced any evidence and suggested that Berlin and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons acted together to “screw things up in order to hide the truth.”

Ultimately, he sought to discredit Navalny as the country’s most prominent defender of democracy, describing him as a “blogger” and accusing the West of collecting “fake news concocted” by his team “to get involved in the internal affairs of our country. “

The Russian authorities also recently ordered the closure of the Navalny Anti-Corruption Foundation, after calling it an “extremist” organization.

Relations between Russia and the European Union, already tense since Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, deteriorated further after the attempt on Navalny’s life. Brussels imposed sanctions on prominent Russian officials for the poisoning.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to meet Putin in Moscow on Friday for his last in-person meeting before he resigns next month. He is expected to bring up the Navalny treatment, among other topics, including Ukraine, Belarus, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and the latest developments in Afghanistan.

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