Come and receive me, “Alexei Navalny asked his supporters in a message broadcast on social media. The most visible face of opposition to the Kremlin must land at Vnukovo airport, outside Moscow, at the end of the day, from Germany. In addition to the crowd , the authorities have also been challenged and must wait for him. On Thursday, prison services announced that they would be “obliged” to arrest Navalny for violating parole terms after being sentenced to prison for embezzlement.
Alexei Navalny, 44, and his Anti-Corruption Foundation are the stone in Vladimir Putin’s shoe – a stone that insists on jumping from finger to finger. The Russian president and those close to him have reacted with ice: they usually avoid even saying the name of the man who in August was urgently hospitalized after feeling bad during a flight. Transferred to Germany, the analyzes carried out detected that he had been exposed to the nervous agent novichok, created in the time of the Soviet Union.
The “Berlin patient”, as the president said, was treated with disarming statements by the Russian leader: “He has the support of the American special services (…) and for that reason he must be watched by the special services. to say that it was necessary to poison him. If we wanted to do it, the case would have been concluded. “ Putin also tried to convey a message of infallibility from the secret services, which clashes with reality: Navalny himself, corroborated by the personal doctor, claims to have been the target of poisoning in 2019, when he was arrested and was hospitalized with an allergic skin reaction. The case of the poisoning of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter with novichok in England, ended with discharge from both of them and the suspicion of authorship by two Russian military secret service agents, GRU.
The apparent contempt for the man who since 2008 denounces corruption in his country hides the Kremlin’s concern in a year in which there are legislative elections. Navalny says he was the target of the information agency that succeeded the KGB, FSB. In a video on YouTube, the activist shows the conversation he had with the agent who poisoned him, but Russian authorities have denied any involvement and have refused to investigate the case. Instead, investigators launched a new criminal investigation against Navalny in December on suspicion of appropriating € 3.9 million in donations to their organizations. Regarding the “Berlin patient”, Putin also said that Russia must be “prepared and react to unacceptable foreign interference”. The leader of the only internal frontal opposition to Putin – in power for more than 20 years, and who could remain for another 15 years, thanks to the new custom-made Constitution – cannot be a candidate thanks to the sentence of five years in prison with suspended sentence for deviation of funds to which he was sentenced in 2017. Navalny, who saw the first conviction of the case overturned by the Supreme Court, called the case a “farce” in order to make him ineligible. But Navalny and his foundation may be in a more fragile position if the court considers him a “foreign agent”. A threat that has been hanging over the years and in that case will deprive you of the right to engage in militant activity during the election campaign. Another law reminds AFP, gives Russian authorities the possibility to block social networks, the platforms on which Navalny can get the message across. But there is more: new restrictions will end the way for protesters to bypass protest bans. Up to now, they have been able to resort to individual protest, in practice, a way for protesters to come in line.
Putin and Navalny may be adversaries and enemies, but they agree on a nationalist view of Russia and, at the moment, in the polls: in September, 50% of Russians disapproved of Navalny’s actions; confidence in Putin is now below 50%.
The third was not for good
In April 2017, an individual attacks Navalny with a spray that contains a mixture of antiseptic with malachite green dye, or zelyonka, as they say in Russian. The attack resulted in a temporary loss of vision in the right eye of around 85%, which led the political activist to travel to Barcelona, where he was subjected to an operation. Contact dermatitis In late July 2019, while serving 30 days in prison for calling for demonstrations against the regime, Navalny is hospitalized. The hospital and the prison talk about an allergic reaction, but the personal doctor has no doubt that exposure to a nervous agent has put him “at risk of life”.
Novichok in underwear On August 20, 2020, he fell ill on a flight between Siberia and Moscow. At first it was suspected that the tea was poisoned. He was taken urgently to the hospital in Omsk, where he fell into a coma. An institution in Germany convinced Russian officials to authorize his departure to Berlin for treatment. In early September, the German government revealed that tests carried out by the military found “unmistakable evidence of a nervous agent from the Novichok group”. According to statements that Navalny says is from the FSB agent who carried out the attack, novichok was applied to underwear.