While there are varying opinions about the late Arizona Senator John McCain‘s policies, it’s undeniable that he was a fierce critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin and his authoritarian style of rule. McCain’s adversarial stance toward Putin was so strong that he reportedly chose to send a message to both the Russian leader and President Trump after death, by choosing a noted Russian dissident to be one of the people carrying his coffin at his funeral.
As POLITICO points out, McCain was highly involved in planning his own funeral, and in doing so he chose Vladimir Kara-Murza as one of his pallbearers.
Kara-Murza was poisoned twice and suffered organ failure both times. He was most likely targeted due to his “democratic opposition to the Putin regime” and by being included in McCain’s funeral, it puts Putin’s alleged crimes, along with Trump’s perceived subservience to him, front and center on the world stage.
The funeral cortege, or procession, is often one of the most-watched parts of any televised memorial service, and McCain appears to have chosen his pallbearers with that in mind. He picked some, such as former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), to represent his time as an Arizona congressman, senator and presidential contender. Others, such asformer Defense Secretary William Cohen, honor his service as a naval aviator and prisoner of war, and some are friends, such as the actor Warren Beatty.
McCain was a huge supporter of Kara-Murza and took to the Senate floor to bring world attention to his case after he was poisoned eight months ago. Speaking to POLITICO, Kara-Murza said McCain “knew how it was going to end, and he was planning everything.”
Russian media called McCain “an implacable enemy of Russia.” Nothing could be further from the truth. He was an enemy of those who have turned Russia into an autocracy (and looting ground) at home, and into an instrument of aggression abroad.https://t.co/RbvYEiRu5e
— Vladimir Kara-Murza (@vkaramurza) August 28, 2018
“We all knew this day was coming, but hoped against hope that it would not be coming so soon,” he wrote. “He was a true leader and a dear friend, and it will always be among the greatest blessings of my life to know him.”
While Trump’s bitterness towards McCain was voiced by his petty raising and lowering of the White House flag, McCain’s posthumous dig at Trump is much more poignant, dignified, and eternal.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore (Flickr)