Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny hospitalized after suspected poisoning
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is unconscious in a hospital in Omsk. His spokeswoman Kira Jarmyšová stated on twitter that he had symptoms of poisoning. According to the RIA Novosti agency, the plane in which Navalny was traveling had to make an emergency landing. Local doctors said they were fighting for the politician’s survival.
The forty-four-year-old opposition flew from Tomsk, Siberia, to Moscow when he felt sick. The plane then made an emergency landing in Omsk, where Navalnyj was hospitalized. “Specialists of all specialties were involved in the treatment. The patient’s condition is serious,” said local authorities.
“We assume that Alexei was poisoned with something mixed into tea. That was the only thing he drank in the morning,” Jarmyšová wrote on Twitter. “Alexei is unconscious now,” she added. According to her, he is on a ventilator in the intensive care unit. There are more police officers on-site than doctors who are very evasive about the diagnosis. Investigators have also arrived, a spokeswoman for Navalny said on Twitter.
“Doctors are not only doing what they can, but they are trying to save his (Navalny’s) life,” said Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Kalinichenko, according to Kommersant. He described the patient’s condition as stable and allegedly made progress in diagnosing the diagnosis, but the doctor did not provide anything specific.
He previously told reporters that it was not certain that the patient had been poisoned, but poisoning was considered. Unconfirmed reports appeared on social networks and in the Russian media that, according to a preliminary diagnosis, Navalnyj could be poisoned by an unspecified hallucinogenic substance.
The Kremlin wished it’s opponent a speedy recovery and, through spokesman Dmitry Peskov, promised to help if Navalny wanted to receive treatment abroad, the Vedomosti newspaper said.
“At the beginning of the flight (Navalnyj) went to the toilet and did not return. He started to feel bad. He was screaming in pain,” said Pavel Lebedev, a fellow passenger.
The owner of a cafe at Tomsk airport told Interfax that he was investigating “all the circumstances” in which Navalnyj drank tea at the company, including the help of camera recordings.
Navalny is a leading figure in the Russian liberal opposition and a fighter against corruption. A year ago, he had to go to the hospital while in prison, allegedly due to an allergic reaction. Navalny then stated that he could have been poisoned.
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in 2018 concluded that Navalny’s repeated detention by the Russian authorities between 2012 and 2014 was politically motivated.
The AP agency noted that this is not the first case of a mysterious poisoning of Russian opposition politicians and activists. Two years ago, Pyotr Verzilov from the protest music group Pussy Riot ended up in the intensive care unit and was treated in Berlin. Opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza was hospitalized twice in 2015 and 2017 with symptoms of poisoning. Both men are convinced that they were poisoned because of politics.