Viesturs Sprūde, “Latvijas Avīze”, JSC “Latvijas Mediji”
Alexei Navalny, a Kremlin opposition poisoned by Novicok, who is poisoned by Russia’s secret services, does not intend to stay in Germany after his recovery, but plans to return to Russia and continue what he said, citing an anonymous source in German law enforcement, The New York Times reported.
He does not plan to remain in exile in Germany. He wants to go home to Russia and continue his mission, ”an official who has been announced as a representative of the German prosecutor’s office involved in the investigation into the Navalny poisoning case told an influential US newspaper.
During the conversation, the opposition stressed that he would not cooperate with the Russian authorities, which are potentially responsible for the attack on his health and life, in the investigation of the poisoning case.
Although Moscow has submitted a request for legal aid to Germany, requesting all information in the Navalny case, Berlin is in no hurry to provide it, considering that the order to poison was given at the highest level of Russian state power.
The news of the US newspaper followed on Monday when the German government’s press secretary Steffen Zeibert announced that the Novičok group of substances had also been independently confirmed by specialized toxicological laboratories in France and Sweden in the analyzes of Navalny.
The case is already being dealt with by the International Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to which Germany has provided all the necessary information.
Navalny got sick on August 20 during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. During an emergency landing, he was unconsciously taken to Omsk Hospital, where even local doctors initially suspected poisoning.
Two days after the poisoning, due to the insistence of relatives, he was transferred from Russia to the Charite clinic at the University of Berlin, where the patient spent 19 days in an artificially induced coma.
On 2 September, the German government announced that the laboratory of the national defense forces, the Bundeswehr, had obtained indisputable and completely reliable evidence of poisoning of Navalny with a type of nerve-paralyzing war substance, Novichok.
Recent statements by Charite suggest that Navalny’s health continues to improve; he is disconnected from artificial respiration and is able not only to talk, but also to get up from bed for a short time.
The opposition is likely to fully recover, including mentally. Experts estimate that although the recovery process is unexpectedly fast, rehabilitation will take several more weeks. The hospital has been under increased German police protection since the opposition was brought in.
The Russian authorities continue to deny any connection to the poisoning, which lacks evidence. Instead, awkward alternative theories are being put forward that “leading to the Kremlin’s hatred of the opposition almost to death is not due to poison, but to ‘drug overdose’ or ‘low blood sugar’.” As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier: “The Kremlin is not in the mood to accept the accusations.”
Lack of reaction
Navalny poisoning has made Russia-West relations even more cautious, but the EU’s and the US’s response so far has been limited to statements and assumptions that new sanctions could be imposed on Moscow. There has not yet been a concrete decision.
As for Germany, observers point out that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s speech to Russia has become unusually sharp and direct in recent weeks.
However, Berlin is delaying the cancellation and is unlikely to cancel its economically viable cooperation with Russia on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea.
As you know, billions of euros have already been invested in the project. Among other things, Russia canceled the visit of its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Berlin, which was due to take place yesterday. The repeal was explained by the fact that Germany had “curtailed” the negotiating agenda.
In last weekend’s elections to the governors’ and local parliaments in several regions of Russia, opposition leader Navalny’s allies in Siberia managed to make moderate progress, despite Russia’s ruling United Russia party officially winning, obstacles to opposition participation and no doubt in favor of a “United Russia”.
However, experts are not sure whether the poisoning of Navalny affected the vote, as there are no signs that the sudden disappearance of the opposition, which exposes the corruption of power, has shaken Russia’s domestic political picture.
There are no mass protests. “I am amazed at how little impact this poisoning has had,” The New York Times quoted Dmitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Center in Moscow as saying.