Opinion: The depravity of despots

“Hundreds of flowers and candles laid to honour the government critic were taken away overnight in black bags by government officials. Volunteers ripped up flowers and smashed candles.  When challenged by one of the mourners, one of those volunteers shouted, ‘I am a volunteer who fights against traitors'”. Where did this happen? Take a wild guess. 

“A makeshift memorial ..was cleared again on Thursday night, just over 24 hours after hundreds placed flowers, candles, messages and photographs…. Candles, flowers and other items left at the site…are regularly swept away by government employees”. Where did this happen? Take a wild guess.

The first happened a few days ago in Putin’s repressive Russia, the second was in Labour’s Malta.

Worlds apart, but the narrative is practically identical – a government critic who relentlessly exposed the deep-seated corruption of a rotten regime was assassinated.  The official response to the public outpouring of grief and anger was to repress every attempt to honour them.

The man who ordered the systematic sweeping of Navalny’s memorials remains in office and faces accusations of breaching human rights in Ukraine by the International Criminal Court

The man who ordered the systematic sweeping of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s memorial remains in office, a cabinet minister in Robert Abela’s government, despite being found guilty of breaches of human rights

Abela put a stop to the despicable and illegal sweeping of the memorial, but he hasn’t put a stop to the relentless and abusive harassment of government critics, journalists and activists. 

Indeed, he leads the assault against all those who attempt to hold him accountable.  His public mockery of Arnold Cassola, his open incitement against civil society organisations and his hostile aggression towards reporters who dare pose awkward questions elicit a barrage of offensive insults and worse from his supporters.

Furthermore, the Labour Party media, ONE, tirelessly targets critics, inciting its audience in a concerted effort to intimidate, harass and silence them.

Alexey Navalny is dead at just 47 years of age. Recent footage showed him to be fit and healthy, yet one Friday, according to Russian authorities, he simply dropped dead after taking a walk at the notorious IK-3 “Polar Wolf” Arctic penal colony where he was serving a decades-long prison sentence.

The official explanation was that he died of “sudden death syndrome”, a diagnosis reached when there is no other obvious cause of death.  Yet when his mother travelled over 1,000 miles to claim his body, the Russian authorities refused to release it.  They wouldn’t even confirm whether the body was there, and his mother wasn’t allowed into the morgue.

The authorities then changed their tune.  “The cause of death is undetermined”, and further tests on the body were required.  Eventually, last Sunday, his ‘tortured’ remains were finally handed over to his mother, a representative for the family confirmed.

The Kremlin rejected calls for an independent post-mortem, intent on concealing the evidence. That’s a common trick. 

After all, when Ali Sadr Hasheminejad left Pilatus Bank from the backdoor late at night, carrying a bulging suitcase, nobody stopped him.  Only when he’d safely left did disgraced then-prime minister Joseph Muscat call an inquiry. 

Russia is doing everything in its power to cover up the cause of Navalny’s death, as Putin has a vested interest in preventing the truth from emerging. 

Joseph Muscat did the same with Daphne Caruana Galizia when he stubbornly refused to set up a public inquiry, bringing every feeble excuse to justify his obstruction. Only after he was handed an ultimatum by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe did he relent at the very last minute.

Muscat had good reason to block that inquiry, as it showed that his government was responsible for her murder. 

US President Joe Biden declared, “Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death”, and the EU also holds the Russian regime solely responsible.

Navalny’s mother wants to know what happened to her son, but she also wants justice.  Daphne’s mother also wanted to know what happened to her daughter, and she, too, wanted justice

But as we approach the third year since the publication of the Caruana Galizia inquiry, Robert Abela continues to defy justice, refusing to implement any of the multiple recommendations of the inquiry.

Caruana Galizia’s mother passed away without having the consolation that her daughter’s assassination was not in vain.  Robert Abela denied her even the smallest of gestures.

Putin is doing the same and is determined to extinguish any memory of his valiant critic.  His repressive security services arrested over 400 people who dared to turn up to place flowers or candles at the many memorials set up around Russia for Alexey Navalny. 

Labour is busy doing the same with Caruana Galizia, studiously ignoring the inquiry conclusions that the despicable demonisation and systematic harassment of an indomitable spirit who sought to expose Labour’s dark secrets paved the way for her assassination.

Alexandra Popova, the wife of Artyom Kamardin, who is serving a seven-year prison sentence simply for reciting anti-war poetry in Russia, commented, “Navalny’s death shows that absolutely no one is safe”

Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, declared, “Navalny wanted one very simple thing for his beloved Russia – to be just a normal country – and for this, he was killed”. 

Daphne Caruana Galizia, too, wanted one very simple thing for her beloved Malta – to be just a normal country, and for that, she was killed.

Putin thinks he’s got rid of Navalny, but instead, he’s made him a martyr that will continue to haunt him.

Volkov defiantly declared, “Navalny will live forever”.  So will Daphne.


Sign up to our newsletter

Stay in the know

Get special updates directly in your inbox
Don't worry we do not spam
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

The resemblance is uncanny.
The Russian Leader kills of his critic a day before a negotiated exchange deal was concluded.
Putin made sure that Navalny will never lead Russia.
The persons who run the State of Malta found guilty of creating the conditions for its main critic Daphne to be killed Before a major exposure of the greatest fraud , Electrogas , saw the light of day.
The State of Malta made sure that its critics will never lead Malta.

The future beckons and the murdered haunt their murderers for ever.

1 month ago

Absolutely spot on again Kevin as always, we’re only a heartbeat away from the same treatment here if they secure another term. They already consider themselves untouchable and will do anything to ensure that they maintain the power base they currently enjoy, Mafia very single one of them.

1 month ago

Malta & Russia
No one should be surprised if the Russian purchasers of Maltese citizenship are also Malta Labour Party donors.
A matter that needs to be investigated, for sure.

Winston Psaila
Winston Psaila
1 month ago

What a perfect analysis! Put like that makes the two Countries with both their leaders pretty close to Siamese twins.

Related Stories

Opinion: salami slicing
There isn’t a single moment when a particular administration
Opinion: The Kappillan of Malta
I found Father Marc Andre Camilleri’s impassionate apologia for

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo