The remarks of the Press Secretary of the Russian Embassy Sergey Skorodumov on the article of Julia Fedotova about Alexei Navalny published by The Malta Independent on Sunday on March 14, 2021
The portrait of Alexei Navalny depicted by Ms Fedotova requires a few additional touches. Not many people know that in 2007 Alexei Navalny was expelled from the opposition party “Yabloko” over the organization of the so-called “White Marches”, and his numerous ultra-nationalist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic statements towards migrants from Central Asia and Russian ethnic minorities. He never denied his nationalist rhetoric, which was one of the reasons Amnesty International has recently stripped him of his 'prisoner of conscience' status.
On February 2, 2021 Moscow City Court changed Navalny’s suspended sentence to jail time for violating the terms of his probation in the Yves Rocher case. Navalny was accused of fraud and money laundering, both offences for which the EHCR recognises similar sentences/verdicts imposed in other countries.
As for the alleged poisoning of Navalny, Russia is still waiting for details of Navalny’s medical tests from Germany authorities and from Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We cannot begin investigation based only on “highly likely” concept. We are confident that it also would never be considered sufficient for initiating judicial proceedings in any court in the EU.
Navalny does not enjoy the widespread popularity in Russia as Ms Fedotova would have us believe. In fact, the Russian majority perceives him as a paid personality who craves publicity and whose agenda is to demonise the Kremlin. This was confirmed in November 2020 by a survey initiated by the Levada Center, a Russian independent, nongovernmental polling and sociological research organization. The survey indicated that only 2 percent of respondents were ready to vote for Navalny as a potential president of Russia.
By contrast, 76.7% of the Russian electorate voted for Vladimir Putin during the 2018 presidential elections. Furthermore, 73,9% of Russian citizens residing in Malta also voted for Vladimir Putin in the presence of independent observers providing objective reporting on the electoral process.
Ms. Fedotova’s assumption that once Navalny obtains the authority to make decisions, it will automatically cause “an incredible increase in demand for Maltese passports and will also considerably encourage tourism from Russia” simply does not withstand any criticism.
Though Russia and Malta may have some differences when it comes to politics that never stopped our countries from fruitful and mutually beneficial cooperation. Moreover, in the last official communication between the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Maltese counterpart Evarist Bartolo, the bilateral relations were described as “an example of equitable and respectful cooperation since proclamation of Malta’s independence in 1964”.
While everyone is surely entitled to his own opinion, it is necessary to consider all the facts if you intend to make an informed, reliable and evidence-based judgement.