Navalny Aide Warns Against Broad Sanctions Against Russia

But not because it would hurt the people, but because it would be 'good for the Kremlin'

Editor’s note: Interesting insight into the minds of the Western-backed liberal opposition. They oppose broad Western sanctions on Russia. So far so good. You’d think it would be because they don’t want unnecessary hardship imposed on their people. But no, it turns out their actual and only rationale is that such sanctions would be an “enormous opportunity for the Kremlin”, the 145 million of their countrymen aren’t even part of the calculation.

Untargeted sanctions against Russia from the West over the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny would be, paradoxically, an “enormous opportunity” for Moscow, a top aide to the politician said Tuesday.

“Any time a huge round of sectoral sanctions is adopted somewhere in Europe, they open a big box of champagne in the Kremlin,” Leonid Volkov told DW’s Konstantin Eggertin in an interview in Berlin.

Germany is considering broad sanctions against Russia in response to the near-fatal poisoning of Kremlin critic Navalny last month. His aides have accused the Russian government of ordering his poisoning, an accusation Moscow has denied.

“[Russian leadership is] very happy because every round of wide sanctions gives enormous opportunity for the Kremlin propaganda to support its narrative, like: ‘the whole West is against us,” Volkov said.

Better to target corrupt elite

The West should instead consider sanctions against individuals that would target Russian President Vladimir Putin’s lieutenants and inner circle, Volkov said.

“Billions of dollars stolen from Russian taxpayers are converted to luxury homes in London, hotels in Austria, chateaus in France, etc., etc …” Volkov said. “This is all dirty money, laundering money that corrupts European politicians, but that also corrupts European political institutions. And at some point, this has to be stopped.”

German threats to respond by cancelling the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline deal with Russia appear “artificial,” the aide said, cautioning against the move.

“I know there is already a debate [about the gas project] in Germany … on the fate of Nord Stream 2,” Volkov said.

“When they try to connect it with the use of chemical weapons, it sounds like — for Putin and his propaganda, also — it sounds like they are being opportunistic.”

Navalny has been recovering in Berlin and said he intends to return to Russia.

Putin sees West as ‘hypocrites’

Volkov, who has worked alongside Navalny for years, said he hopes the poisoning will change the way Germany interacts with Russia.

The “bridge-building strategy” Germany has employed for years with Russia is something Putin always considered a weakness, he said.

“When people try to approach [Putin] and try to discuss something … he was always thinking of his counterparts as hypocrites,” Volkov said. “Talking liberal values, talking freedoms, but actually they need [him].”

“‘Whatever I do, they will always again approach me because they are hypocrites and cowards,'” Volkov said, attributing the thought to the Russian president.

“That is the only outcome of all the attempts to build bridges with Putin.”

Source: Deutsche Welle

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