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Ailing Kremlin critic Navalny “stable” after move to Berlin

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Yahoo News

Outspoken Russian opposition leader and frequent critic of President Vladimir Putin Alexei Navalny is in stable condition after arriving in Berlin by air ambulance yesterday, following a suspected poisoning. According to the the head of Cinema for Peace, the German NGO that chartered the flight after the plane touched down at Tegel airport in Berlin:

“Navalny’s condition is stable.”

1 of President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, the 44 year old lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner went into a coma after suddenly falling ill Thursday while on a plane to Moscow, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Omsk. Aides believe Navalny was poisoned by a cup of tea at the airport, and blame Putin, though Russian doctors say tests showed “no trace of any poison.”

Doctors in Omsk refused to let Navalny leave but reversed their decision after his family and staff demanded he be allowed to travel to Germany. As the plane left Omsk around 8am local time, Navalny’s wife posted a picture on Instagram of him being carried on a covered stretcher, and thanked supporters for their “persistence”.

“Without your support, we wouldn’t have been able to take him!”

When the ambulance arrived at the Omsk Emergency Hospital No. 1 early Saturday, masked medics put Navalny inside on a stretcher.

Russian doctors had said he was in a coma and breathing through a ventilator “in a grave state”. They said tests found no trace of poison, but that Navalny appeared to have a “metabolic disorder” and to have suffered a sharp drop in blood sugar levels. The regional interior ministry said police found an industrial chemical after swabbing Navalny and his luggage, but doctors said this would not have caused his condition.

The air ambulance arrived in Omsk on Friday morning but Russian doctors initially said Navalny was “too unstable” to be moved. They announced on Friday evening they had agreed to let him be transferred after German doctors examined him and the Cinema for Peace foundation said it was “willing and able” to move him to Berlin.

Navalny is the latest in a long line of Kremlin critics who have fallen seriously ill or died in apparent poisonings.

He has made many enemies with his anti-corruption investigations, which often reveal the lavish lifestyles of Russia’s elite and attract millions of views online.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | ndtv.com

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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