Russian Navalny in ICU coma after alleged poisoning

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MOSCOW – Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny is in a coma and on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit after falling ill from suspected poisoning his allies believe is linked to his political activity. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 44-year-old foe felt bad on a flight back to Moscow from Tomsk, a city in Siberia, and was taken to hospital after an emergency landing from the plane to Omsk, Navalny spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said. Twitter.

She told radio station Echo Moskvy that he must have consumed something of the tea he drank in an airport cafe before boarding the plane early Thursday. During the flight, Navalny started to sweat and asked him to speak to him so that he could “focus on the sound of a voice”. He then went to the bathroom and lost consciousness.

“Looks like Putin is really bad – has received data on the explosive rise in protest sentiment – if he made the decision to poison Navalny,” politician’s close ally Vladimir Milov said in a tweet.

Navalny is currently being treated at the Omsk ambulance hospital? 1, he is in a coma in serious condition. Doctors at the hospital remain silent on his diagnosis. Anatoliy Kalinichenko, deputy head doctor of the hospital, told reporters that Navalny was in serious but stable condition. Kalinichenko said doctors were considering a variety of diagnoses, including poisoning, but declined to give details, citing a law preventing doctors from disclosing confidential patient information.

The state-run Tass news agency reported that police were not considering deliberate poisoning, citing an anonymous law enforcement source who said “it is not unlikely that he was drinking. or consumed something yesterday itself ”.

Yarmysh on Twitter bristled at the suggestion, “Sure. It’s just that the tea was bad. That’s what state propaganda is going to do now – scream that there was no deliberate poisoning, he (did something) accidentally, he (did something) himself. ”

Navalny’s doctor Yaroslav Ashikhmin told independent media outlet Meduza that he was trying to organize his transfer to a clinic in Hanover or Strasbourg, saying that doctors in Europe could not only offer better treatment, but also determine with which Navalny toxin had been poisoned.

Last year, Navalny was rushed to hospital from prison where he was serving a sentence following an administrative arrest, with what his team said was suspected poisoning. Doctors then declared that he had had a severe allergic attack and sent him back to prison the next day.

The Navalny Anti-Corruption Foundation has denounced corruption among government officials, including some at the highest level. Last month, he had to shut down the foundation after a financially devastating trial of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to the Kremlin.

Authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko accused Navalny last week of staging unprecedented mass protests against his re-election that rocked Russia’s former Soviet neighbor since August 9. He did not provide any evidence, however, and that claim was one of many to blame foreign forces for the unrest.

Like many other opposition politicians in Russia, Navalny has been frequently arrested by law enforcement and harassed by pro-Kremlin groups. In 2017, he was assaulted by several men who threw an antiseptic in his face, damaging one eye.

The most prominent member of the Russian opposition, Navalny, campaigned to challenge Putin in the 2018 presidential election, but was not allowed to run.

He set up a network of campaign offices across Russia and has since fielded opposition candidates in regional elections, challenging members of Russia’s ruling United Russia party. One of his associates in Khabarovsk, a city in the Russian Far East that has been engulfed by mass protests against the region’s governor arrest, was arrested last week after calling for a strike during of a rally.

In the interview with Echo Moskvy, Yarmysh said she believed the alleged poisoning was linked to this year’s regional election campaign.

Vyacheslav Gimadi, an attorney for the Navalny Foundation, said the team is asking the Russian investigative committee to open a criminal investigation. “There is no doubt that Navalny was poisoned due to his political stance and his activity,” Gimadi said in a tweet Thursday.

Navalny is not the first opposition figure to have fallen victim to a mysterious poisoning. In 2018, Pyotr Verzilov, a member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, ended up in an intensive care unit after suspected poisoning and had to be airlifted to Berlin for treatment. Opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza has been hospitalized twice with symptoms of poisoning – in 2015 and 2017. Both said they believed they were poisoned for their political activity.

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