In today’s Times main section.
Especially since I have endless admiration for Aleksei Navalny, the leader of anti-Putin protests, I tend to notice pieces like this, written by Andrew Higgins.
I knew Navalny had been arrested and imprisoned, and then taken to a hospital for what his physician said was probably poisoning — Putin’s fave way of silencing opposition when the opposition won’t shut up.
Then I blinked as I read the first couple of paragraphs. So you can blink, too, here they are:
MOSCOW — As thousands of riot police flooded central Moscow on Saturday to curb protests calling for fair elections, the Russian authorities announced they had opened a criminal money-laundering investigation against an anticorruption organization led by Russia’s most prominent opposition activist.
The case against Aleksei A. Navalny’s organization, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, was opened by the Investigative Committee, Russia’s version of the F.B.I., the state news agency Tass reported. It involved funding for the anticorruption group’s work of 1 billion rubles (around $15 million) in “money obtained by criminal means.”
The money-laundering case is a sharp escalation in the Kremlin’s drive to silence Mr. Navalny, the driving force behind a surge of public dissent in recent weeks, and to snuff out opposition to President Vladimir V. Putin, whose popularity has slumped as Russia’s economy continues to stagnate.
What does this remind you of? Are you thinking about William Barr, his Department of Justice, and his investigations of the investigators whose work contributed hugely to the Mueller Report?
Yeah. That’s what I’m thinking, too. Trump’s “justice department” is utilizing Putin’s thuggish methods and pathology against his opponents.
Did Putin send Trump the Kremlin’s SOP? It certainly reads like it. “If you’re lawless and stealing a shitload of money from your country’s coffers, accuse the people who are exposing what you’re doing of doing what you’re doing, and persecute ’em.”
So many people in Trump’s corrupt, crooked kleptocracy to investigate, to charge, to impeach.