Alexei Navalny is in a coma at Omsk Hospital. His team said they suspect something was put in his tea at the airport cafe.
This morning, Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny fell ill while on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia. His team said they suspect something was put in his tea at the airport.
According to eyewitnesses, he started sweating and screaming for the pain, then lost consciousness. The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk and he was taken to a hospital where he is now in a coma and on a ventilator.
The anti-corruption campaigner’s team was with him during the journey and said they suspect something was put in his tea at an airport café. Navalny founded the Anti-Corruption Foundation back in 2011 and since then he has been an active critic of the Kremlin. Kira Yarmysh, the press secretary for the foundation tweeted: “We suspect that Alexei was poisoned by something mixed into [his] tea. It was the only thing he drank since morning. ..Doctors are saying that the toxic agent absorbed faster through the hot liquid. Right now Alexei is unconscious.” She added the hospital was now full of police officers and that Navalny’s belongings were confiscated. His wife, Yulia Navalnaya was initially denied access then later allowed on the ward. Doctors are now refusing to provide information about his condition.
Opposition figures point fingers at the Kremlin
Navalny is a long-time critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and since he got poisoned, his allies pointed fingers at Russian secret services.
Pyotr Verzilov, a member of the protest group Pussy Riot who ended up in intensive care after suspected poisoning in 2018, told The Associated Press: “We are sure that the only people that have the capability to target Navalny or myself are Russian security services with definite clearance from Russia’s political leadership. ..We believe that Putin definitely is a person who gives that go-ahead in this situation.” The widow of Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian agent killed in London by radioactive poisoning in 2006, said: “It was obvious he would not be stopped. ..Maybe they decided to do a new tactic not to stop him just with an arrest but to stop him with poison. It looks like a new tactic against Navalny”.
‘The Duma elections’ issue
Vyacheslav Gimadi, a lawyer at Navalny’s foundation, said they have requested a criminal probe from Russia’s Investigative Committee, as he said: “There is no doubt that Navalny was poisoned because of his political stance and activity”. Abbas Gallyamov, former Kremlin speechwriter, confirmed the opposition leader “really makes it harder for the Kremlin to establish control” and for this reason, Gallyamov continues, Navalny could represent a massive problem for the Kremlin during next 2021 parliamentary elections.
“The Duma elections are particularly important for the Kremlin – Gallyamov explains – as the new Duma will be operating in 2024, when Putin’s current presidential term expires and he may announce running for re-election. ..Imagine if now the parliament in Belarus announced not recognizing election results. ..This would be the end of the regime. ..That’s why controlling the next State Duma is crucially important for the Kremlin. Navalny really makes it harder for the Kremlin to establish that control”.
Although opposition figures immediately pointed fingers at the Kremlin, doctors at Omsk Hospital still have to pronounce about Navalny’s diagnosis.