Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was on Tuesday discharged from the German hospital, The Charite in Berlin after 32 days of care. Kremlin in a statement to Euronews on Wednesday said that he was “free” to return to Russia if he wanted. Navalny, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin was poisoned during his domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20 this year. He was immediately airlifted to Berlin after Germany based charity was able to persuade Russian authorities for his treatment.
On September 2, German authorities investigating the poisoning revealed that the poison used was the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok, a chemical weapon banned under 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel went on to say that attack on Navalny amounted to “attempted murder”. Kremlin has denied accusations by Germany with Euronews reporting that Vladimir Putin has told French President Emmanuel Macron that Navalny might have “swallowed the poison himself”.
Alexei Navalny has been the most visible Russian Opposition leader willing to directly attack Vladimir Putin calling his party, ‘United Russia’ as a place of “crooks and thieves”, accusing the president’s system of “sucking the blood out of Russia” and has vowed to destroy the “feudal state” being built by Putin. Navalny, a lawyer by profession has been a prominent blogger blogging about alleged malpractice and corruption at some of Russia’s big state-controlled corporations.
In 2018, his candidacy to Presidential race was banned by the authorities over his conviction for embezzlement by a Russian court essentially barring him from running for the office. Navalny claimed it was nothing but vendetta politics by those in power. This is the second time that Navalny has been poisoned. Last year, he was exposed to a toxic agent in jail which led to him developing ‘contact dermatitis’. Navalny’s team has said to Euronews that he eventually plans to return to Russia.