Alexey Navalny, a Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist, warned that dictators will use Twitter’s decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump from its platform as a pretext to silence their political opponents.
Navalny would know. When the Russian government prosecuted him for embezzlement, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the cases violated Navalny’s right to a fair trial, but Russia prevented him from running for president of Russia in 2018 due to these convictions, anyway. Navalny claims his name cannot be mentioned on Russian television. Russian President Vladimir Putin refuses to refer to Navalny by name and The Wall Street Journal has described Navalny as “the man Vladimir Putin fears most.” …
The Russian politician insisted that Twitter did not really ban Trump for violating the rules. “I get death threats here every day for many years, and Twitter doesn’t ban anyone (not that I ask for it). Among the people who have Twitter accounts are cold-blooded murderers (Putin or Maduro) and liars and thieves (Medvedev). For many years, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have been used as a base for Putin’s ‘troll factory’ and similar groups from other authoritarian countries,” he explained. … ”
“And yet, it was Trump who got banned publicly and ostentatiously. Such selectivity indicates that this was an act of censorship.” …
“If you replace ‘Trump’ with ‘Navalny’ in today’s discussion, you will get an 80% accurate Kremlin’s answer as to why my name can’t be mentioned on Russian TV and I shouldn’t be allowed to participate in any elections,” Navalny argued.
“This precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world,” he warned. “In Russia as well.”
“Every time when they need to silence someone, they will say: ‘this is just common practice, even Trump got blocked on Twitter’,” Navalny warned.