It has been two bad weeks for Bitcoin and anti-Putin activists in Russia. First on August 20, opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned, then on August 31, the famous blogger Igor Zhukov was beaten near the home by strangers.
Not only have they been two of President Putin’s most outspoken critics, but they have accepted Bitcoin (BTC) donations in the past, although their support for the cryptocurrency may not spur these attacks. They are likely to be silenced because they are political activists opposed to the Russian government, and concerns about the withdrawal of donations led them to accept cryptocurrency as a side effect. If true, this will not differ from WikiLeaks, which decided to accept bitcoins after the US government forced PayPal to close its accounts.
For more than a decade, Navalny was seen as Putin’s biggest (and perhaps only) rival. Over the years, he was subjected to many physical attacks and charges in court.
Zhukov is only 22 years old and a committed libertarian; He first received public recognition in 2019 for his YouTube videos in support of political protests in Moscow. He was soon arrested for participating in unauthorized protests. After that, he was sentenced to three years in prison, which the opposition considered a victory.
Many believe the Kremlin orchestrated this latest wave of attacks on political opponents. The situation could also have been exacerbated by the situation in neighboring Belarus, where tens of thousands of people protested against what they consider to be a rigged presidential election. Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko may be in real danger of losing his power for the first time since taking power 26 years ago.
While both people have become supporters of Bitcoin out of necessity, this shows only a robust and viable alternative to the tyranny that decentralization provides.