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elbanditoroso's avatar

Why is Putin allowing Navalny to live? Why hasn't he had Navalny (in prison now) killed, like he does with other dissidents?

Asked by elbanditoroso (33227points) July 23rd, 2023

I can think of two reasons:

1) Navalny’s popularity – if Putin has him killed, then the country will rise up and finally overthrow Putin. And Putin is already weak from the Ukraine war.

2) Foreign relations – if Putin has him killed, then even the countries that currently support Putin will say “enough”.

What’s your take? There are no wrong answers.

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15 Answers

Zounderkite's avatar

A lot of Putin’s allies are either puppets (Belarus) or don’t care about assassinating dissidents (China). So I lean towards the first explanation, though I think there might be an added element of not wanting to admit that Navalny is such a threat to him.

filmfann's avatar

Navalny is a dead man walking. Putin will put him down.

kritiper's avatar

Don’t be in such a hurry! Give it time!!!

flutherother's avatar

Putin tried to murder Navalny a few years ago using Novichok but the attempt failed.

Jeruba's avatar

Hmm. Interesting thought: If Putin released Navalny and let him run without interference, would he solve Putin’s problem for him? If he spearheaded a takeover, Putin could possibly be ousted in a way that saves (some) face and shunted off to retirement without having to accept a humiliating defeat by Ukraine.

Although I suppose for Putin losing power would be worse than death. And he has said that the moment he steps aside, they will have him “up against a wall,” meaning a firing squad. So no, maybe not.

Meanwhile, I don’t think Putin wants to elevate Navalny to the status of martyr and symbol. Better just to keep him contained.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t understand why Navalny went back to Russia. If I was his wife I would never forgive him.

I think Putin wants to be able to say he didn’t kill him, even though it seems to me to be a plain fact that he tried at one point. Watch the Navalny documentary, it’s unbelievable.

Maybe Putin finds joy in keeping him in prison. He’s a sadist.

jca2's avatar

Good point by @JLeslie. Maybe in prison, he can fuck with him, deprive him of sleep, give him shitty food, isolate him, interrogate him, all kinds of things to make Navalny’s life a living hell.

flutherother's avatar

Overseas critics are murdered, critics at home face a show trial. It’s democracy Putin style in a country stuck in 1984.

Smashley's avatar

Dictators prefer to break people rather than kill them. Killing is more of an expediency, when breaking them would take too much political capital. If you kill them, you just have to deny it, but it doesn’t kill what they represent. Martyrs can be powerful symbols. So you put them on ice: it removes their direct power, creates room for counter-narratives about their crimes that you can blast through state media, and might eventually lead to them breaking down and saying whatever you want them to say, just to stop the torture. Nothing defuses a movement like having the leader acknowledge the error of their ways.

JLeslie's avatar

Putin will never admit he was wrong.

Zounderkite's avatar

@JLeslie I think @Smashley meant using torture to get Navalny to acknowledge (or “acknowledge”) the error of his ways.

Pandora's avatar

Martyrs are hard to kill. If he kills him he makes him one. It would make him appear weak and fearful and can have a cascading effect that he won’t be able to control.

Then there is the rumor that Putin is a dead man walking so maybe he no longer really cares. He knows his people see him as a shit leader for going into Ukraine but he wants his legacy to say he made Russia whole again however his legacy will have the added elements about him being a weak man who can’t take criticism and being a tyrant against those that opposed him.

LadyMarissa's avatar

He’s become a desperate man. He screwed up going into Ukraine. His oligarchs are turning against him. The whole world is watching his every move. People are coming after him left & right. He’s getting old, tired, & sick. His ego won’t allow him to admit defeat. He’s attempting to show a kinder, gentler side & failing miserably. Wagner Group attacks & his reaction was to send Prigozhin to Belarus. Everybody was betting he’d be dead by now & it appears he’s not. Quieter than he was before he got a slap on the wrist but not dead. Now Navalny is sitting in jail. Torture seems to be the only logical explanation for both men. Putin is getting old & scared & possibly not enjoying his sadistic side as much as he used to. I keep hearing that he has an incurable form of cancer & he’s just biding his time until he breathes his last breath. An ill brain doesn’t think as fast as a healthy one, so maybe he’s dealing with senility & not sure which way to turn…that we’ll NEVER hear as long as he’s breathing!!!

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

1) Navalny’s popularity – if Putin has him killed, then the country will rise up and finally overthrow Putin.

No, because the Ukraine war is far worse

2) Foreign relations – if Putin has him killed, then even the countries that currently support Putin will say “enough”.

No, because the Ukraine war is far worse.

I have no idea whey Putin hasn’t murdered Navalny.

Smashley's avatar

Also, if you hold a person, you can extort and intimidate those who care about them. It’s far more pragmatic when you think about it, like shearing a sheep versus slaughtering it. The best revenge is living well, or something like that.

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