Campaign diary

West’s plot to kill Navalny on Russian TV

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Anti-corruption campaigner Asmolov accuses the FSB on “Sleepers”

by Sarah Hurst

Open Russia has published a preview of a new Russian TV series called “Sleepers” that will start soon on Channel One. The none-too-subtle purpose of the supposedly fictional drama is to show that the West is manipulating an anti-corruption campaigner exactly like Alexei Navalny, called Asmolov, to try to overthrow the government in a revolution similar to those which occurred during the Arab Spring or in Ukraine in 2013-14.

In the first scene Asmolov, a young guy with stubble on his chin, is talking to a woman with short blonde hair and dark lipstick who is wearing a white designer jacket.

Asmolov: I have documents proving that the so-called kickbacks are managed at the highest level. Mainly by the Russian FSB.

In the next scene a Russian official is sitting behind his desk, talking to a younger man in a dark suit.

Official: Who is this Asmolov, anyway?

Younger man: A lawyer. As they like to call themselves, a rights defender.

Official: What is he presenting to the office? Facts?

Younger man: There are no facts.

Official: This Asmolov is a crystal pure person, who is making the office look like a huge bribe-taker, and the main enemy of the hopeful, progressive development of the country. But the dog knew, I’m sure he knew his accusations of corruption were a bluff. That deliveries of gas to China were prepared for a year, and that this isn’t just economically favourable under our current relations with the West, but also a strategy for the development of the country for at least a century.

The conversation continues with the younger man talking about pro-Putin former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, indicating that the show is set during the revolution that precipitated Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of Donbass.

Younger man: They are putting pressure on Yanukovych from Brussels and Washington. His position is extremely unstable.

Official: We warned him that sitting on the fence is always a very unstable position.

The final part of the conversation presumably refers the West sending people to harm Russia.

Official (looking at documents): In two days they were able to send jihadis to us and an expert on velvet revolution.

In the last scene of the preview an eager American diplomat called Michael, presumably based on former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who has been outspoken about Putin, is talking to an apparently older and wiser British diplomat in a fancy restaurant with classical music playing in the background about the possibility of killing Asmolov to make it look like he was murdered by the FSB.

Michael: Pain and fear are what the media today feed on. It’s just a typical reaction to the murder of a public figure. Especially if that public figure accused the FSB of corruption the day before. In Russia they fear and hate the FSB.

British man: Michael, even in Egypt it didn’t go the way we wanted. So in Russia it will definitely not work.

Michael: Why’s that? Look around. There’s a McDonald’s and there’s a Starbucks, nice food here. Are they that different? The system works. The system is everywhere. Why shouldn’t it work here?

British man: It’s Russia, that’s why.

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