Alexei Navalny says that the people who help Putin are like Mayor Quimby from "The Simpsons."
Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader who is in jail and a major critic of President Vladimir Putin, compared Putin's "enablers" to the opportunistic mayor from The Simpsons on Tuesday.
"The Simpsons has a character named Mayor Quimby, who is a crook. "Did I hear a briefcase open?" is one of his catchphrases. "I think of him every time I think about how Putin's oligarchs and the people who help them (lobbyists, lawyers, and bankers) are able to stop sanctions even when there is a war going on," Navalny wrote in a Twitter thread.
Navalny started the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) in 2011. In February 2021, he was sent to prison for two and a half years for breaking his parole. In March of this year, he was found guilty of fraud and given a nine-year sentence in a high-security prison. In May, Navalny wrote on Twitter that he was facing new charges that could put him in jail for another 15 years.
The Simpsons character that Navalny was talking about, Mayor Quimby, has been in the show since the second season. He is voiced by Dan Castellaneta, who also plays Homer Simpson and a few other roles. Quimby has a strong Boston accent and is a lot like the Kennedy family in a lot of ways.
Quimby has also been accused of stealing tax money and taking money from the mob, among other financial crimes, on the show. This is where Navalny says he sees similarities with people who help Putin.
Navalny started his thread by saying, "Since the war in Ukraine started in late February, Western leaders have been clear that Putin's oligarchs and bribe-takers will soon face sanctions and won't get away with it this time. They did, though."
The activist went on to say, "On the one hand, the European Parliament, the U.S. Congress and Senate, and national parliaments all agree that bribe-takers and warmongers should face harsh punishments."
On the other hand, when it comes to doing real work, everything in the executive branch falls apart. It doesn't happen. He wrote, "The leaders give big speeches, but the decisions don't get made."
In a series of 28 tweets, Navalny named businesspeople like Alexei Miller, the head of Russia's state-owned energy company Gazprom, and oligarch Roman Abramovich as examples of well-known Putin supporters who have not been sanctioned.
"No one is calling for these Putin fans to be killed on the spot, or for their yachts and homes to be set on fire and destroyed. No, we only want to stop people from traveling and freeze their assets. He told them, "If they hate the West so much, they shouldn't go there!"
Navalny asked voters and lawmakers in Western countries to "put pressure on the executive branch and force them to stop engaging in demagoguery and urgently get down to massive personal sanctions against Putin's thieves."
Tuesday wasn't the first time that Navalny brought up a pop culture reference while talking about important things. After he was found guilty in March, he said something from the HBO show The Wire.
"9 years. So, just like the people in my favorite TV show "You only do two days," they would say on The Wire. That's the day you go in and the day you get out.' I even had a T-shirt with this slogan, but the prison took it away because they thought the print was extremist," he wrote in a tweet on March 22.
Newsweek asked the Russian foreign ministry and Navalny for their thoughts through the Anti-Corruption Foundation.