Putin opponent Alexei Navalny arrives in Germany for medical care after possible poison attack

Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who is in an induced coma after a suspected poisoning, arrived in Berlin on a special flight early Saturday for treatment by specialists at the German capital’s main hospital.

A representative of the German NGO Cinema For Peace that arranged the flight confirmed that the plane had landed and that Navalny was in stable condition.

“Navalny is in Berlin,” spokesman Jaka Bizilj told The Associated Press. “He survived the flight and he’s stable.”

He said all other information on the 44-year-old’s health would have to come from his family and the German doctors now looking after him.

“He’s being treated at the Charite hospital,” Bizilj said.

Navalny, a politician and corruption investigator who is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, was admitted to an intensive care unit in the Siberian city of Omsk on Thursday. His supporters believe that tea he drank at the airport before his flight was laced with poison, and that the Kremlin is behind both his illness and the delay in transferring him to a top German hospital.

When German specialists arrived aboard a plane equipped with advanced medical equipment on Friday morning, Navalny’s physicians in Omsk initially said he was too unstable to move. His supporters believe this was a delaying tactic to allow traces of any poison to leave his system.

Deputy chief doctor of the Omsk hospital Anatoly Kalinichenko eventually announced that Navalny’s condition had stabilised and that physicians “didn’t mind” transferring the politician, given that his relatives were willing “to take on the risks.”

It would not be the first time a prominent, outspoken Russian was targeted in such a way, or the first time the Kremlin was accused of being behind the operation.

In November 2006 former Russian KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned during a meeting in London.

My husband, Sasha, known to the rest of the world as Alexander Litvinenko – who left Russia for Britain after exposing Vladimir Putin’s corruption – was fatally poisoned after he drank from a pot of tea laced with radioactive Polonium in a London hotel. His killers were sent, it is widely believed, on the orders of Putin. Neither of the two men accused of assassinating my husband has faced justice and requests for their extradition to the UK have been ignored. One, Andrei Lugovoi, is even a prominent politician in Russia. It makes a mockery of the idea of justice. So the apparent poisoning of a public critic of Putin this week did not surprise me. Poisoning – so cruel, so barbaric – should always be surprising. But when I saw the news of what appears to be an attempted assassination of Alexei Navalny my first thought was a resigned, ‘Not again.’

Marina Litvinenko

Putin is also widely believed being the attempted poisoning of another former spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, in Salisbury, England, on March 4th 2018. Both survived. The British government has named Major General Denis Sergeyev and Colonels Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga of Russian military intelligence (GRU) as the perpetrators.

It is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia... This is part of a group of nerve agents known as Novichok. Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world leading experts at the laboratory at Porton Down, our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and would still be cap able of doing so, Russia's record of conducting state sponsored assassinations, and our assessment that Russia views defectors as a legitimate target for assassination the government has concluded that it is highly likely Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal

Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Putins Russia Book Cover

The list of Putin's "alleged" victims is long. They appear to have accelerated and to have become more brazen since the introduction of a set of amendments to Russian legislation known as FZ153 in 2006. It is enlightening to note that when the amendments were presented to the state Duma - the Russian parliament - the first deputy to sign was Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the notorious Russian facist.

These amendments give Putin, as head of state, the power to authorise the "elimination" of extremists at home or abroad. In this case, any critic of the state, or its head, can be defined as "extremist" should Putin wish it.

Possibly the first to die under the new powers was Russian Journalist Anna Politkovskaya, prominent critic of Putin and the author of Putin's Russia (2004).

She was shot dead in a stairwell outside her apartment in St. Petersburg on October 7th 2006 - Vladimir Putin's birthday.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon


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