Wikileaks Reveals Alexei Navalny’s US Funding as Washington Exploits His Death

February 24, 2024 (Brian Berletic - NEO) - News of the death of Alexei Navalny in a Russian prison very quickly spread across the Western media, while condemnation of Russia over his death emanated from behind the podiums of Western leaders. Before any investigation could possibly be mounted, the collective West concluded that the Russian state was responsible for Navalny’s death.

The disproportionate concern US President Joe Biden showed for a Russian citizen dying in a Russian prison versus President Biden’s silence over the death of American citizen Gonzalo Lira in a Ukrainian prison, raises questions over the motivation behind this “concern.”

Far beyond hypocrisy, the US and its allies are less concerned about Navalny’s death than they are about how it can be leveraged to advance their foreign policy objectives vis-à-vis Russia.

The New York Times, in an article titled, “Navalny’s Death Raises Tensions Between U.S. and Russia,” would claim:

President Biden blamed President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia personally on Friday for the reported death of the imprisoned Russian dissident Aleksei A. Navalny, and cited the case in pressing House Republicans to approve military aid to Ukraine in its war with Moscow.

As part of the process of exploiting Navalny’s death, not only are the circumstances surrounding it being distorted, so too are the events of Navalny’s life.

Many news articles ran with headlines like CNN’s article“Putin saw an existential threat in Navalny, the opposition leader whose name he dared not mention,” the BBC’s article“Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most vociferous Putin critic,” or Al Jazeera’s article“Alexey Navalny: An archenemy Putin wouldn’t name and Kremlin couldn’t scare.” These articles all contain different variations of virtually the same narrative that Navalny was a prominent opposition figure, a successful politician, and an “existential” threat to the current Russian administration.

Yet, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite being active in Russia, Navalny’s largest support base was actually located in Washington, D.C. And it is the Western media itself that has revealed this.

Even with Al Jazeera’s recent article attempting to convince readers Navalny was the “archenemy” of the Russian government, further down in the article it admits:

Only 19 percent of Russians approved of Navalny’s work and 56 percent disapproved of what he did, according to a February 2021 survey by the Moscow-based Levada Center polling organisation.

How does an opposition figure with only a 19% approval rating in any way threaten a government whose leader, President Vladimir Putin, enjoys an approval rating over 80%?

Some may question the polling data, after all, the Levada Center producing both numbers is based in Moscow. However, the Levada Center is actually funded by the US government through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED*), according to the NED’s own website.

The US NED* funds political opposition groups around the globe with the ultimate objective of achieving regime change in targeted countries and producing resulting client regimes that pursue US interests, even at the cost of the targeted country’s own interests.

We know this because the Western media admitted this as well.

The Guardian in a 2004 article titled, “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” in regard to street protests in Ukraine admitted:

…the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milošević at the ballot box.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in Central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.

The article admits that the US government used the National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute, both subsidiaries of the NED*, to organize this political interference.

If the US government was funding organizations all along Russia’s borders, the next question is: Who was the US government funding inside Russia itself?

The answer is Alexei Navalny and the network of political opposition surrounding him. The many obituaries published recently across the Western media list the names of political organizations Navalny founded, including “Democratic Alternative” or “DA!”

US diplomatic cables, made available by Julian Assange and his Wikileaks project, revealed “Democratic Alternative” was being funded by the US government through the National Endowment for Democracy.

In a November 2006 cable titled, “A Guide to Russian Political Youth Groups: Part 1 of 2,” it’s admitted that:

Mariya Gaydar, daughter of former Prime Minister Yegor Gaydar, leads DA! (Democratic Alternative). She is ardent in her promotion of democracy, but realistic about the obstacles she faces. Gaydar said that DA! is focused on non-partisan activities designed to raise political awareness. She has received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, a fact she does not publicize for fear of appearing compromised by an American connection.

“Democratic Alternative,” founded by Navalny, headed by Gaydar, was funded by the US government through the NED*, and was part of opposition networks the US was setting up to do in Russia what the Western media admits the US already did in neighboring Belarus, Ukraine, and Georgia.

“Part 2 of 2” of the US diplomatic cable would even mention Russian government efforts to “hasten to irrelevancy” opposition groups, including NED*-funded “Democratic Alternative,” because Moscow was “intent on avoiding the orange- and rose-colored revolutions of its neighbors,” in reference to the US government regime change operations in Ukraine and Georgia.

The Western media itself admits that Alexei Navalny founded “Democratic Alternative.” US cables admit “Democratic Alternative” was being funded by the US government through the NED*. The Western media itself admits the US government funded organizations like this to implement regime change inside targeted countries – in this case Russia.

Alexei Navalny was aiding in Russia what the US government had already done in Georgia in 2003, leading eventually to NATO-trained troops attacking Russia in 2008, and did again in Ukraine in 2014, leading to NATO-armed and trained forces killing Russian-speaking Ukrainians along Russia’s borders and threatening to attack Crimea following a 2014 referendum resulting in its return to Russia.

Another key element of the West’s attempts to exploit Navalny’s death is an effort to depict him as a pro-democracy, progressive liberal activist, when in reality – and again – according to the Western media itself – he was nothing of the sort.

In fact, this is admitted even by US government-funded media like Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In their 2021 article, “Navalny’s Failure To Renounce His Nationalist Past May Be Straining His Support,” they admit:

On February 23, the prominent NGO Amnesty International withdrew Navalny from its list of “prisoners of conscience,” a designation reserved for people imprisoned for who they are or what they believe. Amnesty said Navalny, who is in prison on what he and his supporters call trumped-up charges aimed at silencing him, fell short of its criteria because of past statements the rights watchdog perceived as reaching the “threshold of advocacy of hatred.”

Much of the attention focuses on Navalny’s unabashed endorsement of nationalist causes in the late 2000s, including his appearances at the Russian March, an annual event that gathers ultranationalists of all stripes in Moscow but has dwindled in size in recent years. In response, the liberal Yabloko party expelled Navalny from its ranks, but under the banner of a new group called the National Russian Liberation Movement in 2007 he released YouTube videos describing himself as a “certified nationalist” and advancing thinly veiled xenophobia.

And by “ultranationalists,” the US government-funded media organization means Neo-Nazis.

This is the very unflattering reality of Navalny’s politics and “activism,” a reality the Western media previously admitted, and a reality the same Western media is now trying to paper over.

The true story of Navalny’s political life was one of unpopular and unsuccessful foreign-funded sedition using toxic ideologies incompatible to the values the West claims it represents. Following Navalny’s death, his US sponsors are attempting to wring out any remaining value Navalny might serve in advancing the US policy of encroaching upon, encircling, and eventually overthrowing the current Russian government – a policy not of “freedom and democracy,” but one of violence, interference, and subjugation.

Only by papering over the truth, can the collective West hope to successfully use Navalny’s death to depict Russia as a threat to the civilized world. By exposing who Navalny really was in life, the West’s attempts to exploit him in death can instead serve as a warning against US foreign policy as the real threat to the civilized world.

*-is banned in Russia

Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.