Conspiracy theorists blame everyone but Putin for Navalny's death (Licensed)

‘It helps the cause’: Conspiracy theorists posit U.S. killed Navalny to help build support for $60 billion Ukraine aid bill

They also blamed the COVID-19 vaccine.


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Feb 19, 2024

Conspiracy theorists are blaming everyone but Russian President Vladimir Putin for the recent death of Alexei Navalny, the 47-year-old opposition leader who had been serving time in a maximum-security prison near the Arctic Circle.

Russian authorities claim Navalny “felt unwell after a walk and almost immediately lost consciousness” last week before succumbing to “natural causes.”

Critics, however, believe Navalny was killed by Putin given that he had been previously jailed and poisoned during his years of protest against the Russian government. Responses to the death were swift, with Western leaders accusing Putin of being a murderer.

But conspiracy theorists, who often defend Putin’s authoritarianism, found a way to blame anything and everything else.

Many pointed the finger at the U.S. government by suggesting that the CIA had somehow infiltrated the Arctic prison to kill Navalny for political gain.

“It doesn’t make sense for Putin to have him killed now. Navalny has been imprisoned since 2021,” one user said. “It does make sense for the U.S./CIA to do so. Which Biden just made clear. It helps the US/Ukraine lobby’s cause.”

A recent foreign aid bill that offers $60 billion to Ukraine passed the Senate but stalled in the House of Representatives, where it was declared “dead on arrival.”

Others spread video of what they said showed Navalny asking a British MI6 officer for $10 to $20 million to overthrow the Russian state.

“Navalny in this video is asking MI6 Officer James William Thomas Ford for $10-20 Million a year to start a color revolution in Russia,” the user Lord Bebo said. “Just in case you wonder why he was arrested.”

In reality, as outlined in a Community Note on the post, the video shows an associate of Navalny describing a fundraising pitch. Navalny was sentenced on charges unrelated to the video.

Incredibly, the anti-vaccine movement weighed in as well by asserting that Navalny had died from the COVID-19 vaccination.

“Alexei Navalny died from the COVID vaccine and the fact that nobody wants to admit it is shameful,” another user said. “Why would you blame Putin for something Navalny did to himself by taking an experimental MRNA vaccine?”

Once again, a Community Note highlights the improbability of such a claim: “mRNA vaccines have not been approved in Russia, Navalny has been imprisoned in Russia since January 2021, so it is very unlikely he has taken an mRNA vaccine. It is thus astronomically unlikely Navalny died of a covid vaccine.”

Another conspiracy theorist argued that blaming Putin was impractical before accusing Navalny of being a neo-Nazi.

“Hilarious how the establishment is pretending Alexei Navalny was threatening opposition to Vladimir Putin,” the user @SocialistMMA wrote. “Alexei Navaly was a neo nazi who was despised in Russia. Why is the west obsessed with siding with and propping up neo nazis?”

Although President Joe Biden previously threatened swift action if Navalney were to be killed, it remains unclear what, if any, action will be taken.

Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, says she believes her late husband was poisoned given the fact that Russian authorities won’t release his body for two weeks.

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*First Published: Feb 19, 2024, 11:56 am CST