“Don’t be afraid. Take to the streets, not for my sake, but for your own sake and your future. The only thing to be scared of is your own fear.” — Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition leader after being arrested by Vladimir Putin

Is Alexei Navalny crazy or crazy like a fox?

Russian leader Vladimir Putin poisoned Navalny with Novichok, a lethal nerve agent five months ago. Navalny miraculously emerged from a coma and recovered in a German hospital in Berlin.

After using up eight-of-his-nine lives, Navalny returned to the Rodina last week only to be arrested by Putin’s goons at Moscow’s Shermetyevo Airport. He was immediately imprisoned. Why would he take such a risk? Did he deliberately end his exile and force the issue by placing himself as close as possible to his mortal enemy, Putin?

Before departing Germany, Navalny posted a two-hour video with architectural drawings of Putin’s $1.35 billion, 17,700-meter palace secretly located on 30-square miles of a warm beautiful peninsula facing the Black Sea.

Almost DailyBrett has always been a fan of Ian Fleming’s 007 novels with exciting plots of diabolical villains poised to unleash widespread unpleasantness on the denizens of Planet Earth. Whether James Bond was played by Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig, the bad guys always resided in heavily defended sinister compounds of enormous wealth.

Don’t remember any of the novels or movies reaching Putin’s extreme of secure opulence (e.g., no fly zone, military barracks) and over-the-top luxury. Besides an Italianate palace, Putin’s pad includes two helipads, a subterranean hockey rink, a vineyard, an amphitheater, a casino, a plush lounge with a stripper’s pole and a lap dancing couch.

There is also a cavernous bath tub for two or more, and of course an ornate four-poster bed.

Even though there is the aforementioned no-fly zone, a camera-equipped drone captured images of Putin’s dazzling compound. In he meantime, the average Ivan or Anastasia is barely making enough rubles to get by week-in and week-out Back in the USSR.

Sense Of His Soul?

“I looked the man (Putin) in the eye. I found him very straightforward and trustworthy. I was able to get a sense of his soul.” — President George W. Bush, Slovenia Summit, June 16, 2001

Care to take those words back Mr. President #43?

Has Navalny already performed his public service for the world with his 120-minute video of Putin’s answer to Versailles? The YouTube video has already garnered 90 million+ plus views, particularly within Russia itself.

Almost DailyBrett will make the call: Putin is dirty. Most suspected as much. Now we know for sure.

Considering that Putin almost succeeded in carrying out a “wet work” hit on Navalny as he attempted against other enemies, Navalny had to suspect he was a sitting duck wherever he was on the planet (e.g., Germany). If Putin murdered Navalny outside of Russia, Putin would simply shut down Russia’s media. There would be zero coverage of the story within the friendly confines of the Rodina.

By returning to Russia, Navalny knew he would be arrested or worse. Returning home in a conspicuous way, he forces Putin’s hand. As The Economist contended, if Putin continues to imprison him then Navalny becomes a modern-day Nelson Mandela. If Putin murders him in prison, then Putin is no different than a Mafia-style boss.

Putin has to know that imprisoning or worse murdering Navalny will generate an angrier mob on Russian streets and universal condemnation. Does he lose control? Is the lion’s share of the pressure on Navalny or on Putin?

James Bond movies always have happy endings with the villain finally facing justice. Will this real-life Russian suspense thriller finish with good (Navalny) prevailing over evil (Putin)?

One can only hope.