How do you make a good propaganda film? How do you expose it before it wins a truth-telling award and embarrasses the prizegivers — before they discover it’s a propaganda pseudo-documentary that has been nominated for an “Oscar” – before the white envelopes are opened before millions of people on Oscar night, March 12th?
“Navalny” is a slick production full of easily-documented fabrications, disinformation, with lots of clever visuals to distract and manipulate viewers. It is about Russian political activist Alexei Navalny, who according to the respected Levada Institute has shown 2% support in Russia. But he and the film have a great deal of backing in Washington and London. Will they make sure the film wins, and the Oscar is theirs?
The three people credited as the production’s authors are Canadian Daniel Roher; he admits he has never visited Russia nor speaks Russian. Bulgarian Christo Grozev of Bellingcat; this is an organization openly hostile to Russia which acknowledges financing by governments of the U.S, UK and Europe. And Russian Maria Pevchikh; she has worked for Navalny’s organization but has lived mostly outside Russia since 2006 and in 2019 obtained a British passport. None has made documentaries before. CNN and Der Spiegel, which have put their names on the findings, acknowledge they joined an investigation by the group Bellingcat. This challenges the film’s credibility as an independent production.
The film’s hero, Alexei Navalny, has strong Washington ties. In 2010, at 34, he graduated from the Yale Greenberg World Fellowship, which was originally called White House Fellows under Bill Clinton’s presidency. The first program director of the Yale World Fellows was Dan Esty, energy and environmental policy adviser for the 2008 Obama campaign.
When Navalny returned from the U.S. to Russia, he started an anti-corruption campaign. It was endorsed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He went to work for an Open Society Foundations program financed by George Soros, who supported a network of opposition NGOs in Russia before being banned in 2015. Navalny is also allied with exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky; he was jailed for ten years for documented tax evasion using offshore shell company transfer pricing to launder profits of oil company Yukos, which he obtained through the infamous corrupt loans for shares deal in the Boris Yeltsin years.
However, Navalny has had his own criminal fraud problem, along with his brother Oleg.
In 2008, when the state-owned Russian Post decided to end collecting parcels from clients’ distribution centers, Oleg Navalny, persuaded several companies to shift to the privately owned Chief Subscription Agency (GPA), not revealing it was a company he, Alexei and their parents had just set up in tax haven Cyprus. Later, Yves Rocher Vostok, part of the French cosmetics firm, sued that they were deprived of free choice and weren’t told GPA was using subcontractors which charged around half as much as they paid GPA and that the Navalny cutout kept the difference as profit. A court gave Alexei a suspended sentence of 3 ½ years and his brother a prison sentence of the same term.
Continue reading the full article at The Komisar Scoop.