The high-praise and awards given to Navalny, the 2022 documentary about Alexei Navalny, is yet another example of Western media fabricating a “hero” to serve the “villain Putin” narrative. But Jacques Baud sets the record straight, in his book, The Navalny Case: Conspiracy to Serve Foreign Policy. In other words, this “hero” is yet another “weapon” in the on-going efforts to bring about regime change in Russia.
We are deeply thankful to the publisher, Max Milo, and to Colonel Baud, to allow us to bring you an excerpt from this excellent book. We are certain that you will want to get a copy and tell all your family and friends about it. The book entirely and deftly derails the “heroism” of Alexei Navalny—by way of truth.
Western Conspiracy Theory
First of all, it is necessary to understand what “conspiracy” (or “conspiracism”) is. In the past, conspiracists were those who planned plots. Today, the term designates those who see plots everywhere, planned and implemented secretly by leaders and their secret services, with an obscure goal; their reading being seen as exclusive. Conspiracy is most often the result of an incomplete vision of events, either because the information does not exist, or because it is deliberately hidden (or classified), or because it is not sought. These “holes” in the information allow our prejudices to take hold and open the door to conspiracy. Countries described as “authoritarian” stimulate our imagination. We readily attribute to them plots hatched by their secret services—under the occult guidance of their leaders—to eliminate individuals they do not like. For example, it is still suggested that the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006 was the work of the Kremlin, although the perpetrators were members of the Chechen mafia. The alleged “sponsors” have not been found, but the Russian government continues to be accused simply because the journalist was critical of it. Two years later, France 24 claimed that Karinna Moskalenko, a lawyer for the journalist and the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, had been poisoned with mercury, suggesting an attempt at intimidation. But a few days later, French investigators found that the mercury came from a thermometer accidentally broken in her car, before she bought it. So, nothing…
More recently, Western accusations have focused on North Korea, where opponents are constantly being eliminated… and then resurrected! In August 2013, the French and English-speaking media echoed the propaganda of the South Korean far right and announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un had allegedly had his girlfriend Hyon Song-wol shot… But she reappeared in May 2014 on television! In June 2019, the British newspaper The Mirror noted that reports of her disappearance had been “greatly exaggerated.” Indeed!
In May 2015, our media announced that Kim Jong-un had his aunt Kim Kyong-hui poisoned because she opposed the construction of an “acquaparc!” However, in January 2020, she reappeared in public alongside Kim Jong-un, and the BBC even mentioned that she had a new role within the regime. General Hyon Yongchol, head of the Armed Forces, is said to have been eliminated with an anti-aircraft gun as part of “serial executions.” But the “disappeared” general reappeared the next day and we learned that he had simply been sacked!
In February 2016, the Western media announced the elimination of General Ri Yong-gil, Chief of Staff of the People’s Army. He reappeared a few months later, at the congress of the Communist Party… with a promotion! On May 31, 2019, the Western media—such as the New York Times, Reuters and others—announced that Kim Jong-un “had collaborators executed” to “take revenge.” Among them was Kim Hyok-chol, who had been one of the negotiators at the summit with President Trump; yet, on the same day, he was seen in public, attending a performance by his wife.
Same scenario with China, which has become the target of the United States with the rebound of its economy after the Covid crisis: the “mysterious” disappearance of Jack Ma, founder and director of the online retailer Alibaba, triggered the fantasies of conspiracy theorists, who evoked a “purge,” while the day before Fox Business claimed that he had not disappeared. He reappeared in the media in January 2021.
In short, we don’t know anything about all this and so we invent. For each of these “disappearances,” our media and other “experts” have elaborated explanations and thus given a logic to events that have simply never taken place. This is exactly the definition of conspiracy: by believing to see conspiracies everywhere (especially where there are none), we connect facts (sometimes real) to give them an appearance of coherence. This is the mechanism used to create alternative explanations for the 9/11 attacks, the Roswell incident in 1949, or the presence of aliens in “Area 51” in Nevada. Journalists and researchers do not help to bring rationality and measure back into the debate: Pascal Boniface, director of the Institute for International and Strategic Relations (IRIS), knows better than the CIA director what provoked the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan; Renaud Girard, a journalist for Le Figaro, has “proof” that Russian agents were behind the Vrbětice explosion in 2014, while the president of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, claims to have none; Conspiracy Watch freelancer Antoine Hasday knows better than President Barak Obama why he did not intervene after the Ghouta chemical incident in August 2013 and “knows” that Navalny was poisoned by Russian agents, while the German government has never claimed this, as we shall see.
It is understandable that the media would seek to maintain an audience by emphasizing sensationalism over accuracy. The real problem is when researchers and our governments start to adapt reality to their prejudices. For beyond the media phenomenon and journalistic ethics, this form of “conspiracy” seems to have become a foundation of our foreign policies, which increasingly boil down to the application of sanctions with disastrous effects.
The fact-checkers themselves are not impartial. Their role seems to be limited to highlighting and supporting “good conspiracies” (such as those that attribute conspiracies to the Russian, Chinese, Iranian governments, etc.) and to castigating “bad conspiracies” (that cast doubt on the previous ones). But this can be explained: some are simply in the service of foreign governments, as we shall see!
Paradoxically, in order to remain objective in this matter, we will base our analyses only on information provided by official services, Western media (including those financed by and serving Western governments), media linked to the Russian opposition and those considered as “foreign agents” by the Russian authorities. We will not consider official Russian or Russian state-funded media.
Who is Alexei Navalny?
The Western media present him as the “leader” of the opposition. However, as an article in the “Checknews” section of the newspaper Libération acknowledges, he is simply the most visible opposition figure. He is part of the so-called “off-system” opposition, made up of small groups often at the extremes of the political spectrum and too small to form parties. Navalny began his career as a businessman in the 2000s. In accordance with a common practice in Boris Yeltsin’s Russia of the 1990s and 2000s, he bought companies in order to privatize their profits (an illegal practice that led to Vladimir Putin’s fight against certain oligarchs, who ended up taking refuge in Great Britain or Israel). In a first case (Kirovles), Navalny was sentenced to five years in prison, suspended.
But the most high-profile case is the one involving the cosmetics company Yves Rocher. This is a relatively complex case, with a tangle of companies and accounts, some of them offshore, which is beyond the scope of this book. The best description of this case can be found in the Yves Rocher press release and on Wikipedia (in Russian!). In short, it is a case of personal enrichment by abuse of an official position, pitting the Russian state against Oleg Navalny, Alexei’s brother. In 2008, Oleg was a manager at the automated sorting center of the Russian Post Office in Podolsk. In order to facilitate the delivery of Yves Rocher products to the sorting center, he pushed the French company to use the services of a private logistics company, Glavpodpiska (GPA). Problem: GPA belongs to the Navalny family. There was therefore a clear conflict of interest between the position of Oleg Navalny and GPA, which gave rise to an investigation for illegal enrichment and abuse of an official position. In addition to this case, which is similar to corruption, there were accusations of overbilling. It is important to note that Oleg Navalny was the main accused, while Alexei Navalny was “only” an accomplice. That is why Oleg was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and Alexei to three and a half years suspended. It was this suspended sentence which, on appeal, was postponed—prohibiting him from leaving Russian territory—before being applied in 2021. We will come back to this. In 2019, Le Monde suggested that the Russian authorities pressured the Yves Rocher company to file a complaint. The daily quoted economist Sergei Guriev, close to Navalny:
I don’t know exactly what leverage the investigators used, but it was important to them that a foreign company was involved. It made the case look solid.
On February 4, the “Matinale” of the French-speaking Swiss radio station stated that “the Russian authorities, who were already investigating the Navalny brothers, put pressure on Yves Rocher in 2012 to file a complaint against them.” A case that—according to the journalist—illustrates “how difficult it is to be a truly free economic actor in Russia.” These are lies: on February 3, the company Yves Rocher, tired of these false accusations, issued a statement, where it declared:
Yves Rocher Vostok has never filed a complaint against the Navalny brothers, nor has it made any legal claim against them at any time.
Oleg and Alexei Navalny took this judgment to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), arguing that it was politically motivated. Contrary to what some Western media outlets claim, the ECHR did not invalidate this judgment, as it did not judge the substance of the case, but its form (such as, for example, the issue of boycotting Israeli products). On October 17, 2017, the ECHR issued its verdict, partially finding in favor of the two brothers on certain legal points and concluding that the Russian judiciary should pay them compensation. On the other hand, it rejected the allegation that their conviction was politically motivated (paragraph 89).
In 2018, Navalny was not allowed to run for president. RFI suggests that the reasons were political. This is doubly untrue: on the one hand, his suspended sentence prevented him from running for office, as is the practice in other countries; on the other hand, his conviction was not politically motivated as we have seen.
Thus, and not surprisingly, our commentators, editorialists and other “experts” are making up stories.