Continuing my post, based on this piece by Elena Kalashnikova. The title of the piece translates as:
The film director who perished in Africa was a victim of discords between Sobchak and Navalny
The (documentary) film director in question being Alexander Rastorguev. From the very title, we can see that Elena blames Ksenia Sobchak and Alexei Navalny for Alexander’s death. Not sure I personally buy that. There was a certain chain of events, to be sure:
If you read my post from yesterday, you will see that Navalny incited Rastorguev to do something unethical which he shouldn’t have done; and this action harmed Sobchak’s reputation. In response, Sobchak complained to Rastorguev’s employer (Radio Liberty), who fired the investigative reporter.
Which chain of events led to Rastorguev taking the assignment from Khodorkovsky which led him into the Heart of Darkness (=my literary metaphor here) in Central Africa. Which trip got him ambushed and killed in very short order. Some say, by robbers. Some say, by turbaned Arabs. Some say, by Kremlin-friendly Russian mercenaries who go by the mysterious-sounding name “Wagner”. Wagner, of course, being the composer of the famous “Ride of the Valkyries” which soundtrack accompanied American helicopter pilots in the Hollywood-Vietnam version of Conrad’s novel, aka Apocalypse Now! Well, some of these extended metaphors are so obvious, they practically write themselves.
Anyhow, from my point of view, Sobchak is blameless. In this affair, at least. She did all the right things (well, at least from her own point of view) and cannot be held accountable for Rastorguev’s death. Even Navalny — well, the guy is a crook and a slimeball, everybody who ever has dealings with him, leaves just a little bit lighter in the wallet and a little bit worse off — ask the recently-deceased Petr Ofitserov if you don’t believe me — but the guy is no killer and certainly did not intend for Alexander to die. As they say on the American cop shows: The people responsible for Rastorguev’s death are the people who gunned him down.
Speaking of which, I saw this piece in Vesti, I don’t know any more details, but apparently the Africans were able to retrieve the bodies of the three Russian reporters; which bodies were flown back to Moscow yesterday via Air France. The bodies are slated to go directly to the morgue, and most likely set for autopsies by the Russian forensic authorities.
But returning to Elena’s piece: She hammers on the theme that Rastorguev’s career was well and truly destroyed on that fateful election day of March 18. The next series of quotes comes from Albina Kirillova, a documentary film-maker who used to work for Dozhd TV. One must remember here, that the world of the professional Russian Opposition (Opps) is that of a relatively small but cohesive subculture, in which everybody knows everybody. Although not necessarily monolithic on every point of the party platform, the Opps share a generalized world view that is pro-Western, pro-American, pro-NATO, pro-Ukrainian government, etc. (again, with certain individual exceptions). They very firmly dislike their own current government (of President Putin and United Russia), in fact the only Russian government they ever liked was that of Boris Yeltsin, in the 1990’s. Again, I am generalizing here; but these are very solid generalizations. The Opps have very little political support inside Russia and would not be able to win any seats in a federal election. Which is why some of them (openly) admit that their only hope of ever coming to power would be via a Western-sponsored coup, as happened in neighboring Ukraine.
An objective anthropologist studying this subculture might also note the strange fact that, whereas most of these people are honest-minded ideologues, they broadly accept as their Glorious Leader a man who is a convicted felon and quite clearly a sleazy crook and sticky-fingered con man. I am talking about Alexei Navalny, of course.
Despite their conviction that they live in a totalitarian state, the Opps actually reside in a free country, in which they have their own TV channel, radio stations, and full access to social media. On her Facebook, Albina mourned her deceased friend Sasha Rastorguev by hurling imprecations at Ksenia Sobchak: “You [addressing Sasha] found yourself on the edge of a cliff. The whole of the election day Sobchak was directing well-aimed fire at you, knowing full well that she was destroying your career. The same career which paid for your flat. On the 15th of the month your rent was due.”
Continuing her post-mortem cry of anguish, this time turning her rage against Navalny, Albina wrote in a published letter addressed to the deceased: “This vile dirty history with the (election) leaflets came about because you wanted to shoot a film for Navalny. That was the only reason. Because you lived in a world where the Hero, in exchange for access to His Person, can demand whatever he pleases of one…”
Albina went on to say: “Sasha never had any goal of getting rich. Sasha was the most humble and honorable man who, after that very Sunday, March 18, thanks to Sobchak and Navalny, came to be known as the major crook in the Russian presidential elections.”
Another person blaming Sobchak for Rastorguev’s demise is a pundit named Nikita Daniuk, who works for a Russian Think Tank called the Institute for Strategic Research. Daniuk: “In my view, if Sobchak had not made such a big deal about the election (blank forms), then these journalists would have continued to work peacefully.” Daniuk reckons that Navalny coordinates his activities with America-connected organizations such as Radio Liberty. He doesn’t think Navalny would have undertaken this particular scam (with the blank forms belonging to Sobchak) without knowledge of his American handlers. [yalensis: Not necessarily buying this, as it would presume the American handlers are micro-managers and fully in control of their own Sneaky Pete character!] Under this theory, after the scheme was discovered by Sobchak, then Navalny and his American handlers would have simply thrown Rastorguev under the bus. The overriding rule in all of this being: The Asset Navalny Must Be Protected At Any Cost.
But wait, there’s more! It turns out that Sobchak’s attacks against Rastorguev began a week before the election. So it’s not as simple as we thought, and the plot continues to thicken like the smell of napalm in the morning….
[to be continued]