The warden and guards of the Navalny winter residence are presumably ignoring the defection of Russian security service officer and Putin intimate Gleb Karakulov, yet another omen. In the fullness, the people of Pokrov, like the German neighbours of Auschwitz, should be made to tour the cells of Penal Colony No.2 inevitably murmuring among themselves about knowns and unknowns.
Navalny was possibly the first Russian casualty in the recent war against humanity, Europe and the Ukraine. While vast resources have poured into NATO members and aspirants close to the Russian border, Navalny has had to bear a chilly winter, while sick, as a compulsory guest of the Lock Up Putin Rivals Club, with very little to subsist on. A long line of dissenters have followed Navalny into the dissolute world of the Russian penal system and now journalists are joining them as extreme suppression becomes the order of the day with each battlefield defeat in Kherson, Kharkiv and Bakhmut. They now include foreign journalist Evan Gershkovich of the famous Wall Street Journal which was oblivious to the reality that Russia is now a closed society and all journalists should leave, to be followed by all diplomats. Truth is dying of loneliness in that bitter land.
Putin in defeat and retreat is holed up in one of his many doppelganger offices from the Black Sea to Moscow, thinking his legerdemain can fool a well-informed outside world. His self obfuscation extends to the prowess of the Ukrainian military on the battlefield, the resilience of all Ukrainians and the creep of domestic explosions to not only his front door but others like him.
Ignorance is bliss and fear is a consuming conqueror. As Ukraine receives shipment after shipment of tanks and sophisticated weapons to let loose on a much diminished opponent, the bizarre actions of the Kremlin, including the egregious arrest of young Evan, reveal that they are truly unnerved. Perhaps even the chief fantasist Lavrov suffers from itchy feet.
At some point boycotts will reach the nations that remain friendly with Russia, abstain from UN votes or provide any support, many of which derive substantial income from tourism. Ethical consumers know where to avoid and what to buy, the environment is not the only pressing reality. Perhaps leaders could also start by leading with a general snub of the Security Council until it returns to planet earth.
Peter Polack is a former criminal lawyer in the Cayman Islands for several decades. His books are The Last Hot Battle of the Cold War: South Africa vs. Cuba in the Angolan Civil War (2013), Jamaica, The Land of Film (2017) and Guerrilla Warfare: Kings of Revolution (2019).
He was a contributor to Encyclopedia of Warfare (2013). Polack worked as a part-time reporter for Reuters News Agency in the Cayman Islands 2014-16. His work has been published in Small Wars Journal, Defence Procurement International, American Intelligence Journal, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center magazine, Military Times, Foreign Policy News, EU Today, Radio Free Europe, VOA Portuguese, South Africa Times, Africa Monitor, Folha de Sao Paulo, NODAL Cultura, Caribbean Life, Jamaque Paradis, History Cooperative, INews Cayman, Jamaica Gleaner, Miami Herald, Reuters and The New York Times.
His latest book entitled Soviet Spies Worldwide: Country by Country, 1940–1988 is published by McFarland. The book is a compendium of Russian espionage activities with nearly five hundred Soviet spies expelled from nearly 100 countries worldwide. In April 2021 he completed Only the Young Shall Die by with Jack McCain USNR about raising the age of military enlistment. He is currently doing research on a curated collection entitled War In Pictures of almost 1,000 images throughout several conflicts over many centuries.