Alexei Navalny blames Putin for poisoning him
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny considers Russian President Vladimir Putin, the architect of his poison. Navalny said this in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine published today. The Kremlin dismissed accusations as “completely unfounded and unacceptable” and “completely defamatory.” According to Putin’s spokesperson, the opposition is receiving instructions from the US CIA. Reuters reports that this is probably the first time Russian authorities have directly accused Putin’s leading criticism of cooperating with foreign intelligence.
According to Germany, a critic of the Kremlin was poisoned by a nerve-paralytic substance from a group of novices developed by the former Soviet Union. The opposition stressed that he was not afraid and intended to return to Russia because he did not want to be an exile leader.
“I assert that Putin is behind this act, I don’t see any other explanation,” Navalny told Der Spiegel. “I’m not saying to flatter myself, but I’m based on facts. The main fact is a novelty,” he said. If Putin were not behind the act, it would be even worse, according to Navalny. “If 30 people have access to a [chemical] agent, and not three, then it’s a global threat,” he said.
In response to the interview, the chairman of the Russian parliament’s lower house, Vyacheslav Volodin, called Navalny a “shameless villain” because “Putin saved his life”, as did Russian pilots and doctors.
According to Volodin, Naval’s statement logically fits into consideration that the West’s incident was staged to provoke tensions in Russia, thus preventing Russia from helping to defend the sovereignty of allied Belarus. According to TASS, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Western secret services were working with Navalny, specifically “these days the specialists of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)”, and that this is “not the first time they have given him various instructions.”
“First of all, I will file a lawsuit against Peskov,” he wrote in response to Kremlin spokesman Navalny’s statement. “Secondly, I call for the publication of evidence and facts to substantiate my work with the CIA Specialists. Show it on prime time television,” Navalny said.
In the interview, Navalny also assured that he would return to Russia. “I will not give Putin the joy of not returning to Russia,” he added.
From the moments before the collapse, he remembers sitting comfortably on a plane and looking forward to going home. “I feel good, just like at the airport. And then … It’s hard to describe because it’s unparalleled,” he said, adding that the substance would overload the nervous system like a hacker DDoS attack on a computer. “You can’t concentrate. I feel something is wrong, I get a cold sweat. Please, Kira, next to me for a handkerchief. Then I tell her: Talk to me! I have to hear a voice. He looks at me like a fool and starts talking to me, “he recalls.
He later went to the bathroom, where he repeatedly washed with water. “Then I think if I don’t come out now, I’ll never get out again. The key impression was that you didn’t feel any pain, but you know you’re dying,” he said. To his surprise, he told the steward after leaving the toilet that he had been poisoned. “Then I lie on the ground in front of him to die. He is the last person I see,” he said. “And the last thing I hear when I’m lying on the ground is, Do you have heart problems?” he said. He still remembers some voices and calls from a woman to stay conscious.
Navalny was flown from Russia to Berlin in August after collapsing during a domestic flight from Tomsk to Moscow. Due to Navalny, the plane landed in Omsk, where it was hospitalized and then transported to the Berlin hospital Charité. He was treated here for 32 days before being released last month. He is now recovering at an unknown location in Berlin. It is expected that the Russian opposition leaders will take at least another month to regain fitness so that he can return to his homeland and resume political activity.
He said that he was weak but was getting stronger every day. “Until recently, I managed only ten steps. Now I’m going to the fifth floor,” he said. “The most important thing for me is that my mental skills are back,” he said.
Navalny continues to suffer from sleep problems. “I used to laugh at people with sleep problems,” he admitted, not being able to fall asleep without sleeping pills.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Navalný at the hospital. The meeting, which took place a week ago, was described by the opposition as unexpected, private, and a gesture. “The door opened, my doctor and Merkel entered,” he said. “I can’t talk about the details, but we didn’t talk about anything secret or bombastic,” he said. “I thanked her for her participation, and she said to me: I did what my duty was,” he added.
Navalny remains in Berlin, where he rented an apartment. He considers his days monotonous. “I exercise every day. Otherwise, I don’t do anything,” he said of his daily routine. According to doctors, it can recover to 90 and maybe up to 100 percent. “But no one knows, I’m basically like a guinea pig,” he said.
Berlin, together with the European Union, is asking Russia for an explanation for the spontaneous disease. The Kremlin denied any involvement in the incident, saying it had not yet seen evidence of a crime.