Added in translation II

It’s good to know that Edward Luttwak put things straight when the Italian new agency Adnkronos asked his view on President Biden’s “killer” interview:

Biden spoke the truth: Putin is a murderer [assassino]… In Berlin, where Navalny was hospitalized, they proved he had been poisoned with Novichok, which is only produced by one organization in the world, the Russian FSB… [Navalny] is an international hero; he has an organization capable of organizing [sic] protest rallies in all of Russia, and very capable people at the media level. Those Europeans who are turning their backs on him are blind: he is going to take part in the next election and Putin will have to renounce the pretense of democracy or the Kremlin; the regime is wobbly and the Russian economy is in a poor condition.

Technically, some of these statements are dubious but can be fixed easily. That only “organization in the world” might be something else than the FSB but must be a Russian state actor. The Kremlin’s persecution has weakened Navalny’s organization but some popular movements are resilient to decapitation. Navalny might be barred from the next election but would still play a major role in it. The Russian economy doesn’t seem to be collapsing but hasn’t grown for ages and there’s no growth – not even a hint – on the horizon. To add to this, Biden’s characterization is probably based on other cases on top of Navalny’s.

…[T]he diplomatic convention of being polite to the adversary’s leader would mean, in this case, turning one’s back on a hero… If Biden had said, ‘no, Putin is not a murderer’, he would have turned his back on the hero Navalny, who is Putin’s probable successor.

Again, this last statement may sound a little too strong but Navalny’s combination of personal courage and political talent is unprecedented. Not since the era of Soviet dissidents have we seen such self-sacrificial readiness to take on the Kremlin’s vicious regime. It is probably incomprehensible to European leaders – who have never taken serious personal risks in their lives – as well as to Putin, a cunning but cowardly little man.

The Italian word assassino, unsurprisingly, comes from the same origin as assassin. From those occult roots, it has mutated into a mere murderer. Ironically, it can also mean an incompetent, inept actor, a bungler.

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