Putin’s arch rival and one of Russia’s rare pro-LGBT+ politicians in coma after suspected poisoning
Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist, is unconscious and in hospital after a suspected poisoning.
Navalny is said to be in a “stable serious condition” after falling ill during a flight.
It is believed that a poison was mixed into his tea, press secretary Kira Yarmysh, confirming that his plane made an emergency landing in Omsk from where he was rushed to intensive care.
“It was the only thing he drank since morning,” tweeted Yarmysh.
“Doctors are saying that the toxic agent absorbed faster through the hot liquid. Right now Alexei is unconscious.”
Yarmysh tweeted just before 10am GMT Thursday (August 20) that there had been no changes to Navalny’s condition. He remains on a ventilator and in a coma, with the hospital said to be full of police officers.
Anatoly Kalinichenko, deputy chief physician of the Omsk emergency hospital, said in a statement doctors are “engaged in saving his life”.
When asked if there was a threat to Navalny’s life, he said: “Until the patient is discharged from the hospital, there is always some threat to life.”
Russian opposition leader shows support for LGBT+ rights.
Alexei Navalny is a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin’s, having recently decried the recent constitutional referendum which allowed him to extend his rule as a “coup” and a “violation of the constitution”.
He has also emerged as a supporter of LGBT+ rights in recent years, criticising Putin’s horrendous anti-gay laws.
During an aborted run for the presidency in 2017, Navalny rallied against the so-called “gay propaganda ” law which prevents children from learning about the existence of queer people.
“There is no such thing as gay propaganda. It was invented in order to find some kind of enemy distracting society from problems,” he said at the time.
During that election, and an earlier bid for Moscow mayor in 2013, Navalny pledged to allow regional referenda on same-sex marriage.
More recently, in June, he accused the arch-homophobe of going “completely crazy” after his allies released a sickening piece of propaganda designed to leverage anti-LGBT+ sentiment ahead of the vote.
Image appears to show the moment Alexei Navalny was poisoned.
An image circulating on social media shows Navalny drinking from a paper cup in Tomsk airport, which could well be the moment he was poisoned.
Here's Navalny drinking the tea in the Tomsk airport. The same person also published a video of Navalny screaming in pain in the toilet, which I won't link to pic.twitter.com/OaDeZTqesj
— max seddon (@maxseddon) August 20, 2020
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After drinking the tea Navalny boarded a plane, where according to a passenger, “at the start of the flight he went to the toilet and didn’t come back”.
“He started feeling really sick,” Pavel Lebedev said, according to the BBC.
“They struggled to bring him round and he was screaming in pain.”
Navalny survived a suspected poisoning attempt in 2019, while serving a 30 day prison sentence for calling for unauthorised protests.
He was rushed to hospital with a swollen face, rashes and eye problems, with a doctor suggesting he might have been exposed to “some toxic agent”.