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  • Rashid


Updated: Apr 10

Listen to this blog post

Type, erase, repeat. What should be the opening lines of this blog post? When I think of Navalny, I cannot help but hear his classical "Привет, это Навальный" [Hi everyone, Navalny here] from his numerous videos exposing corrupt politicians in russia. I studied these for my PhD and definitely established parasocial relations with the narrator. Charismatic, clever and seemingly invincible, given the history of assaults and poisoning that he experienced. 

Today Navalny's physical body was killed after all. Being a Central Asian I cannot say that I was the biggest fan, but I am dropping tears on the keyboard, nevertheless. He knew what journey he embarked on when entering that Pobeda [Victory] flight back to Moscow three years ago. And just like in that Soviet cartoon, "Pobeda" lost the "po" and turned into "beda" [trouble]. The announced death is not surprising, but is shocking. There will be many hashtags today and a bit fewer on the burial day. Yet this death too will be normalized like millions before and millions to come. Historical memory is mercilessly short-lived. 

I had to pull myself together and write. Sometimes that is the only thing we can do. As a scholar of politics in the digital age, I am in a state of deep worry over the state of affairs globally. The global evil seems to be dancing its triumphal polka on the graves of liberal values that perished along with the rise of disenchantment in democracy and the re-rise of dickhead politics. Angry notes of protest will come from remaining democratic voices in the "West", coy voices of grief and loss will be expressed in autocratic regimes, conspiracies will come from the belligerent mouths of propaganda (a-la "CIA killed him"), a known character will crack open champaign and enjoy his aqua discotheque, while billions will have had yet another day. What you take away from this is your emotion. There is no place for me to inform it.

One thing is certain. Silence will bring us to gruesome times. Normalization of the status quo when liberal democracies seriously discuss whether they should care about constitutional rights is a nightmare that we live in. The only solution is to finally wake up. 

My deep condolences to the Navalny family, FBK team and all the followers of Alexey who believed that the future holds something beautiful. One love.

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