No, this post is NOT a theatrical a review of the latest “modernistic” staging of a Chekhov drawing-room comedy.
Actually, this is an important Russian political story (INVOLVING NAVALNY) which has been going on for at least a month, but, like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, this story flew under my radar, even though I am supposed to be the “Navalny Expert” of the Anglophone/Russophile blogosphere. But better late than never, so here it is.
This story concerns some serious criminal allegations which intrepid blue-eyed anti-corruption hero Alexei Navalny has lodged against Russia’s Prosecutor General, Yury Chaika. (In Russian “chaika” means “seagull”, hence a series of puns and allusions.)
In the interests of fairness, I am going to present this as a “cat-fight” between Navalny and Chaika and summarize the case for each side. Both Prosecution and Defense. Although, in this case, the ProsecuTOR has become the ProsecuTEE – heh heh! At the same time I plan to present this story as a play in Four Acts, combining elements of Chekhov’s “The Seagull” with Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. I am allowed to do this, in our post-modernistic world of contemporary theater. This is MY interpretation, and nobody is allowed to put artistic limits on my Genius!
Directors Notes, Or “Where The Heck Is My Clown Wrangler?”
Let it be known to the world that Navalny started this cat fight.
Navalny produced a 45-minute movie accusing Chaika of providing “krysha” (=”protection”, in Mafia-language) to an international gang of thieves and murderers. And ever since his movie came out, Navalny and most of the Russian online press have been on a glee-spree, leaping up in the air and clicking their heels; while high-fiving one another that they have FINALLY scored a hit against such a regime stalwart as Yury Chaika.
Not to worry – I’ll tell Chaika’s side of the story too, thin and sparse as it is. (Mostly, Chaika has been keeping his mouth shut and letting others counter-attack.)
But first a bit of staging to get out of the way:
Should We Do This In Five Acts or Four Acts?
Those in the know, know that Alexei Navalny is an ideological agent of Western interests in Russia. Navalny heads an “Anti-Corruption Fund” which in turn is funded by “anti-regime” patrons such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Bill Browder, along with various other dark forces committed to overthrowing the Russian government. This story began when Navalny emitted a slick (Hollywood-level production values) film entitled “Chaika: A Criminal Drama in Five Acts“. Being a stickler for literary references, I myself insist on confining this drama to FOUR acts. To keep within the confines of Chekhov’s play. I mean, if you are going to ride on the back of a literary allusion, then you have to do it properly.
Act I: How to Catch the Conscience of a King who Has NO Conscience?
The role of Konstantin Gavrilovich Treplev is played by Alexei Navalny, who also doubles as Hamlet.
The role of Irina Nikolayevna Arkadina is played by Vladimir Putin, wearing a dress. Putin also doubles as King Claudius.
So, in the actual Chekhov play:
Act I takes place on the estate of a certain Mr. Sorin, not to be confused with George Soros. Sorin is the brother of the famous (but aging) actress, Irina Arkadina. Irina’s moody Hamletesque son, Konstantin, has written and directed a play, which he presents to his mother and the other guests on Sorin’s estate, using Nina as his lead actress. Irina Arkadina (being a Freudian behemoth) viciously mocks her own son’s play, thus virtually castrating him in public.
So, my version of the play begins with Ekaterina Vinokurova standing up at King Putin’s live-streamed annual press conference on 17 December and asking a “provocative” question as prompted by “Navalny’s List”. See, Navalny on his blog, suggested to journalists which hardball questions they should throw at Putin, and his suggested questions included asking about the the Chaika allegations.
Obediently following Navalny’s script, Katya asked Putin about Chaika’s alleged corruption. The audience at the press conference broke into applause at her daring-do. Putin responded with an ironic smile and gently deflected her question with a bland, “We must look into this. Everything has to be done according to the law. Blah blah blah.”
So, what exactly was Katya talking about?
So here is what Navalny has to say about Chaika.
- Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika has a son named Artem Chaika.
- Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika has another son named Igor Chaika. Of his misdeeds we will speak later.
- Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika also has a second-in-command (=Deputy Prosecutor General) whose name is Gennady Lopatin.
- Lopatin has an ex-wife named Olga Lopatina.
- Artem Chaika and Olga Lopatina purchased a hotel together. This is a luxury, 5-star resort hotel located in Halkidiki, Greece.
- Olga Lopatina also purchased another business, along with her partner, a woman named Angela Tsapok, this one being a sugar company.
- Angela Tsapok is the wife of Sergei Tsapok, a notorious Russian mobster who died in prison last year.
- Sergei Tsapok was the head of a criminal gang which committed a series of crimes, including a notorious mass murder, i.e., the Kushchevskaya Massacre, in 2010.
- Navalny claims that, before their eventual fall, the Tsapok gang got away with a lot of crimes because they were “protected” by local prosecutors. With the implication being “Wink Wink – Nudge Nudge”
[to be continued]