FIERCE PUTIN CRITIC AP­PAR­ENTLY POISONED

Chicago Sun-Times - - OBITUARIES - BY DARIA LITVI­NOVA

MOSCOW — Rus­sian op­po­si­tion leader Alexei Navalny, one of Vladimir Putin’s fiercest crit­ics, lay in a coma Fri­day at a Siberian hospi­tal, the vic­tim of what his al­lies said ap­peared to be a poi­son­ing en­gi­neered by the Krem­lin.

Navalny’s or­ga­ni­za­tion was scram­bling to make ar­range­ments to trans­fer him to Ger­many.

The 44-year-old Navalny fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk on Thurs­day and was taken to a hospi­tal af­ter the plane made an emer­gency land­ing in Omsk, Navalny’s spokes­woman, Kira Yarmysh, said on Twit­ter.

She told the Echo Moskvy ra­dio sta­tion that he must have con­sumed poi­son in tea he drank at an air­port cafe be­fore board­ing the plane early Thurs­day. Dur­ing the flight,

Navalny started sweat­ing and asked her to talk to him so that he could “fo­cus on the sound of a voice.” He then went to the bath­room and lost con­scious­ness, and has been in a coma and on a ven­ti­la­tor in grave con­di­tion ever since.

In a video state­ment re­leased early Fri­day in Omsk, Yarmysh said Navalny re­mained in crit­i­cal con­di­tion and she called on the hospi­tal’s lead­er­ship “not to ob­struct us from pro­vid­ing all nec­es­sary doc­u­ments for his trans­fer.” It was not clear what the pos­si­ble ob­struc­tions could be.

Other op­po­si­tion fig­ures were quick to sug­gest Krem­lin in­volve­ment.

Krem­lin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was nec­es­sary to wait for test re­sults show­ing what caused Navalny’s con­di­tion, adding the au­thor­i­ties would con­sider a re­quest to al­low Navalny to leave Rus­sia.

Alexei Navalny

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