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If Navalny were able to enter Russia’s election, it’d be better for everyone, except him

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First off, let’s be clear about something. If you consider Alexey Navalny to be the leader of the Russian opposition, then you have to believe Libertarian Gary Johnson is his equivalent in the United States. Because they are both the most popular figures in non-systemic movements with minor support in their countries. They equally have limited access to their respective mainstream domestic press, but boast fanatical followers who offer committed online support.

For instance, Johnson won 3.2 percent in the 2016 American Presidential Election and Navalny has consistently received a rating of around two percent in independent Russian opinion polls. Indeed, only this month, he tied with the Foreign Ministry’s press secretary, Maria Zakharova, in a survey of the popularity of public figures. Which gives you an idea of how marginal he is in Russia.

Now, some will argue this point is redundant because America is a more competitive democracy than Russia, but scratch beneath the surface and you will find fewer differences between the two main US parties than the six outfits that currently sit in Russia’s Duma (lower house of the parliament). And, when it comes to foreign policy, both the Duma and Congress have little difficulty finding unity these days.

Nevertheless, I believe the Russian authorities would be better off killing the nationalist with kindness and bending over backward to facilitate his participation in politics because his legal difficulties are giving him a legitimacy he wouldn’t have otherwise. They are also fueling a Western narrative which seeks to discredit Vladimir Putin’s genuine popularity in Russia.

On Monday, the Russian Central........

© RT.com