Last updated on August 25, 2020
It seems Putin didn’t keep Alexei Navalny in Russia quite long enough for the poison to get flushed out of his system:
BERLIN — Alexei Navalny, the prominent Russian opposition figure and Kremlin critic, was poisoned, Berlin’s Charité Hospital said in a statement Monday, citing clinical results confirmed by independent laboratories.Although the exact substance that poisoned Navalny is not yet known, it is believed to be a nerve inhibitor, Charité’s statement said. The hospital added that Navalny remains in an artificially induced coma but that “there is no acute danger to his life.”
I’ve sometimes wondered why Putin is so fond of poison, a common form of medieval assassination but not much used in modern times. And why he uses poisons that don’t act quickly and don’t always kill. It turns out there are at least two reasons — it’s deniable, and it sends a sadistic message:
Experts have said Putin's apparent fetish for such a medieval weapon is for two reasons – its “easy deniability” and its “vicious theatricality”.
Mark Galeotti, a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, told Foreign Policy: “One of poison’s great virtues for the politically-minded murderer is their capacity to combine easy deniability and vicious theatricality.
“Even while the murderer denies any role, perhaps with a sly wink, the victim dies a horrific and often lengthy death.
“A message in a poison bottle.”
Victims can spend weeks in hospital fighting for their lives and even if they survive they will have been sent an unforgettable message – don't mess with Putin.
I have to question the “deniable” part, since governments around the world (the US being currently a significant exception) are convinced Putin is behind the poisons, but perhaps that’s the point: it can’t be proved that Putin did it, so he escapes responsibility, but everyone knows he did, so the message comes through.
The more serious part, though, is that it is a sadistic form of attack. Putin uses poison because it is nasty, it is vicious, it is sneaky. It means you can’t trust anyone or anything — such as a cup of tea in at an airport food counter.
Does this remind you of someone closer to home?
Trump has plenty of reasons to suck up to Putin (one of them probably being that Putin might decide to poison him too, someday), but there is certainly the stench of kindred spirit here. Trump’s vicious separation of children and infants from their frantic parents at the border, to take just one example, has the same sadistic quality as Putin’s poisonings.
The major difference between the two is that Putin is more experienced and clever, and is willing to be subtle, whereas the Malignant Mangoface needs his sadism to be open, out front, obvious.
The Politicus is a collaborative political community that facilitates content creation directly on the site. Our goal is to make the political conversation accessible to everyone.Any donations we receive will go into writer outreach. That could be advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit or person-to-person outreach on College campuses. Please help if you can: