I started writing this 24 hours after hearing about Alexei Navalny’s death on 16 February 2024. As I tried to digest the news, I was stunned and cried, and I felt furious. All at the same time.
Navalny was only 47 and had a wife, Julia, and two children (aged 15 and 23).
He returned to Russia in January 2021 after he was poisoned by Novichok in the summer of 2020 and treatment in a Berlin hospital. After leaving the Berlin hospital, he recuperated in the Black Forest near where I live and that is when I became interested in his activities. It was amazing that he survived the attack on his life. And it was surprising that he chose to return to Russia after the murder attempt - he knew he would be arrested upon arrival.
So why did he do it? Why did he go back to Russia? Because (in our language) he has (HAD) a Vervain personality. This means he put his mission above his person. That mission was, initially, to expose corruption in Russia, but he grew into becoming the larger-than-life, charismatic, and eloquent leader of the opposition. His cause was, along with other members of the opposition, fighting for a free and democratic Russia. Of course Putin felt challenged and threatened, and Putin even childishly avoided mentioning Navalny’s name. Putin talked about Navalny as ‘a poor excuse for a politician’ and ‘a certain political force’. Putin called Navalny ‘the character you mentioned.’
Navalny was banned from television, from elections, charged with anything and everything and, in the end, put away in an icy prison 40 miles (about 64 km) beyond the arctic circle. During his time there he was kept in solitary confinement for 308 days, and otherwise subject to overcrowding, abuse by guards and inmates, denied access to healthcare, experienced food shortages, freezing cold, intentional and regularly interrupted sleep, and inadequate sanitation. He had to finish his meagre soup within 10 minutes or face punishment. We can barely contemplate what Navalny went through in that horrendous place. But he never fell into victimhood, he remained defiant and cheerful, at least when speaking during his multiple trials. (There must have been a degree of Agrimony here - hiding suffering behind a cheerful face.)
Navalny, the man Putin was so frightened of. In the end, only Navalny’s imprisonment (and ultimate death) was Putin’s solution to dealing with him. Now, (a few days after Navalny's death) even putting flowers down and paying tribute to him at memorials in large cities is the 'crime'. Over 400 people have been arrested for doing that. Navalny's crime was standing up to Putin. Film of mourners in Berlin and Russia. (Skip the ads.)
I seriously wonder how Putin gets up in the morning and looks at himself in the mirror. How can one have even a scrap of self-respect with so many deaths on one’s conscience? Does he even feel? (I'm thinking of the people who have died due to his war on Ukraine war along with his murdered political opponents.)
That, in a nutshell, is the difference between Vine and Vervain. A Vervain personality has a following and can win people over for their cause with their convictions and enthusiasm. Vervain people have a heightened sense of injustice. (I'm in a Vervain state by writing this piece.)
Vine (in the negative state) is a ruthless tyrant using fear to get people to 'follow' him. I have already written about The Evil of 'Vine' in a blog piece following the start of the Ukraine war two years ago.
Change of topic. My next further training BC-ACE workshop is coming up in September. Details here.
Photo credits: Navalny in the Black Forest: dpa/Uncredited/navalny/Instagram/dpa.