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Russian Opposition Leader's Health Critical after Suspected Poisoning, Flown to Germany for Treatment

  • Russia’s opposition leader Alexei Navalny (a long-time well-known critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin) has been flown out of Siberia to Germany after his wife accused that his husband’s life is in danger in the country. The Siberian doctors who were treating Navalny in Omsk had said on Friday that the opposition leader was too ill for discharge. However, after a 12-hour standoff between the Siberian doctors with Navalny’s family and supporters, the deputy chief doctor Anatoly Kalinichenko said that “the patient is in stable condition … we do not object to his transfer to another hospital, as will be indicated by his relatives.” Navalny’s wife had appealed to Russian President Putin to allow them to fly her husband to Germany’s Charité hospital in Berlin. The opposition leader fell ill on a Tomsk-Moscow flight (after allegedly drinking tea from a cup at a Tomsk airport cafe before the flight) and went into a 36-hour coma. His supporters believe he was poisoned. Kira Yarmysh, the spokesperson of Alexei Navalny, tweeted: “Massive thanks to everyone for their support. The struggle for Alexei's life and health is just beginning.” Both Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and President of France Emmanuel Macron expressed concern over Navalny’s health condition and offered treatment in their respective countries. Edward Snowden, the renowned whistleblower who is currently staying in Russia, said that if poisoning of Navalny is confirmed, “it is a crime against the whole of Russia. There can be no democracy without dissent.”