Global Insight: Navalny's death could further isolate Putin

Vladimir Putin needs to watch for "international blowback", including on the battlefield in Ukraine, following the suspicious death of Alexei Navalny.

International relations specialist Prof Robert Patman says the death of the Russian opposition leader is likely to have unintended results for Russia’s regime leader at home and abroad.

Speaking on Global Insight, Prof Patman said Navalny left behind a well run organisation opposing Putin and exposing corruption, which Navalny’s wife has said she would continue to operate.

"Domestically, it could actually make life much more difficult for Mr Putin than he anticipated," Prof Patman said.

"You can kill individuals, but you can't always kill the ideas they represent."

Navalny died a month ahead of Russian elections and within a week of the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has died in an Arctic penal colony aged 47. Photo: Reuters
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died in an Arctic penal colony. Photo: Reuters
Internationally, his death, coming on the back of United States reluctance to fund further support for Ukraine, could actually make it harder for Russia to hold on to neighbouring territory it has occupied, Prof Patman said.

"I think the unintended consequence may be to stiffen European resolve. They know exactly what sort of regime Mr Putin is operating."

This appears to already be happening.

The European Union has just given the Ukrainians €50 billion (NZ$87.3b) in support.

"In addition, Denmark, in a remarkable gesture in the last seven days, has made its entire military stockpile available to Ukraine."

And Germany is on the verge of making long range missiles available to Ukraine.

"It may be that there's going to be international blowback for Mr Putin."

On Global Insight, Prof Patman, of the University of Otago, also discussed the "quite baffling" support of many countries in the "global South" for Putin’s Russia and detailed the impact of United States domestic politics on Ukraine’s chances of ousting the Russian invasion.

Full interview: 


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