The Word on the Week

Alexei Navalny

Alexei Navalny                      Word on the Week               17th February 2024.

Alexei Navalny died this week.   He is the most recent and perhaps the best known of Putin’s political enemies.   He loved Russia and held to a vision of a future time when his beloved Russia would be free.   

The 47-year-old blogger had survived poisoning attempts and years in some of Russia’s most notorious jails.  His group had exposed corruption at almost every level of the Russian state – frequently targeting President Putin himself.  

From prison, by various means, Alexei was able to access the internet where he maintained his criticism of Putin.   His last postings earlier this week showed that even interment in Kharp Penal Colony in the Arctic circle could not break his spirit.   He leaves behind a loyal wife and family. Also his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK).  No doubt it will continue to expose Putin.

Apparently Alexei had become a thorn in the flesh to Putin.   His courage was amazing.   His following were difficult to control.   There was also the fact of his surviving an attempt to kill him with the deadly Novichok poison.   This had only increased his status both at home and abroad.

It was in 2020 on an internal Russian flight that the poison was applied.  He took ill immediately and the plane landed in Omsk. That emergency landing saved his life. A German-based charity persuaded Russian officials to allow him to be airlifted to Berlin for treatment.

Sometime later the German government revealed that tests carried out by the military found Alexei had been contaminated with “a chemical nerve warfare agent of the Novichok group”. The Kremlin denied any involvement and rejected the Novichok findings.  

This denial came despite the fact that Putin had twice used the substance to kill people in the UK.  These were the days when he wished to prove to his enemies that he could reach them wherever they took refuge.

Lord Acton first coined the phrase in 1887, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.   Proof of its accuracy is being played out before our eyes.   What are we to make Vladimir Putin?   A person who appears to have many options when it comes to killing critics!

Scripture records a time when his enemies were trying to kill Jesus.   His accusers claimed Abraham for their parentage and cast doubt on Jesus’ legitimacy.  Then Jesus made the case for their father to be the devil.   In trying to kill him they were doing the devil’s work.   The devil had been a murderer from the beginning (the devil incited Cain to murder Abel: Genesis 4) and there is no truth in him (John 8 verses 39 to 44).    Murderers and liars are doing the devil’s work.

The Apostle John returns to this theme in his letter.   This time he claims that sinning is of the devil.   But adds the good news that the reason the Son of God came was to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3 verse 8).

Look to Jesus and believe, even Putin, or you and me and have eternal life ((John 6:40).