Putin was sending a message to the world about Navalny’s Novichok addiction, experts say

Rally in support of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny

A rally in Moscow on January 23, 2021 in support of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (Mikhails Vetrov / Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin chased critics on Wednesday in a state of intense national speech amid rising international pressure on Russian dissident Alexei Navalny’s continued imprisonment, political by name. Adversary.

As Putin said, protests took place across Russia, where demonstrators chanted, “Let Navalny go!” Cold War neurotoxins were developed in the former Soviet Union in connection with Putin’s most noisy critics and a man believed to have been poisoned in Novichok by Russian operatives last summer.

Navalny, who is said to be dying after finishing a hunger strike three weeks ago on Friday, was first revealed to be used as a means of eradicating political enemies in 2018 addiction by exposure to Novichok Almost killed Prior to Sergei and Julia Scripal in Salisbury, England, Professor Gregory Kobrentz, Deputy Director of the George Mason University Graduate School of Biodefense Program, said, “Everyone uses Novichok for assassination purposes. I didn’t think about it. ” That said, you can certainly detect it.

It is unknown how many other recognized enemies of the Kremlin were poisoned in Novichok and how much Russian special military intelligence units used banned chemicals. Novichok is a clear, odorless organophosphate. With just one drop, it’s eight times more powerful than the highly toxic nerve agent VX. “These are the most deadly nerve agents we know,” says Koblenz.

According to toxicologists, Navalny, who suffered and fell on the floor of a plane from Siberia to Moscow in August, shouted, “I was poisoned, I’m dying.”It can take several hours to enter the bloodstream through the skin, but it is believed that toxins that act as soon as they enter have been planted. Navalny’s underwear..

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Alexey Druzhinin / AFP via Getty Images)

Deaths from Novichok poisoning can appear to have been caused by natural causes, making them even more difficult to detect. It overstimulates the nervous system, interferes with muscle function, causes cramps, and then paralysis. As a result, you cannot breathe, deplete oxygen, and have a heart attack or stroke.

“If it worked as planned, Navalny would have died on the plane,” said Mark Michael Bloom, a chemical weapons expert summoned in the Scripal case. Finding poisons would have been difficult and life-sustaining means would not have been available on long-haul flights to the Russian capital.

“Then he would have arrived in Moscow. He would have been taken to a morgue and had some sort of autopsy. Maybe they had a toxicology screening, a classic toxicology screening. Let’s, and … they wouldn’t have found anything, and it probably wasn’t detected. “

Instead, the pilot of that S7 Airlines flight made an emergency landing one hour after takeoff. In a coma, Navalny met an emergency team who injected atropine, an antidote to the toxin. When a hospital doctor diagnosed the cause as hypoglycemia, his staff immediately suspected addiction and collected an open water bottle from an uncleaned hotel room in Siberia where Navarni was staying. Knowing Navalny’s serious condition, the German Foundation took him to Berlin on a medical plane, where a bottle of water was sent to the military laboratory with Navalny’s blood samples. The findings confirmed the presence of Novichok, a substance that Russia denied possession or poisoning of Navalny.

Almost three years ago, when former Russian spy Sergei Scripal and his daughter Julia were found lying on a bubbling park bench in Salisbury’s mouth, British investigators immediately doorknobed their home. Was wiped with a Novichok. Given that Putin announced in September 2017 that the “last chemical weapons from Russia’s chemical weapons reserve” had been destroyed as part of an international chemical weapons ban signed in 1997, the discovery was I was surprised.

When the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that Novichok had made Scripal sick, its realization had a swift political impact on Russia. Britain, the United States and other allies expelled more than 100 Russian diplomats and later imposed sanctions.

Alexei Navalny

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was escorted on January 18, 2021 from a police station in Khimki, a suburb of Moscow. (Alexander via Getty Images / AFP)

“Russia is no longer in possession of these weapons,” said Roland Freudenstein, policy director at the Brussels-based Martens European Research Center. “It’s a major breach of Russia’s promise” — as a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Scripal, like the toxin-exposed police officer, eventually recovered from the addicted Novichok. Three months after a few miles from the crime scene, a man found a perfume bottle in the trash and presented it to his girlfriend. The girlfriend sprayed her wrist unaware that it contained nerve agents. She died and he barely recovered. Two years later, Navalny almost died, spending more than a month in a German hospital, most of which was in the intensive care unit.

David Sturik, senior analyst at the European Center for Security Policy in Prague, said the political blow attempted in Salisbury was a wake-up call still affecting the entire continent.

“After the poisoning of Scripal, the British began exchanging information with their allies,”-especially with two Russian spies Alexander Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga, who claimed to have been behind the act. Doing so revealed other mysterious crimes and actions taken by previously unknown Russian military intelligence group Unit 29155.

As recently documented report By Bellingcat, a research journalism website, Scripal’s murderer candidate visited the Czech Republic’s arsenal in 2014 under the guise of an inspector. They then traveled to Bulgaria, staying at a hotel near the office of Emilian Gebreff, a weapons merchant who rented a Czech warehouse, and selling weapons to Ukraine to help fight Russia. It was believed. Immediately after visiting the Czech arsenal, 50,000 tons of weapons and ammunition blew high in the air, killing two Czechs. Immediately after visiting Bulgaria, Gebreff was about to die of addiction. The cause is now believed to be Novichok, who wiped the steering wheel of Gebrev’s car door.

In a development that has been tumultuous in Europe, the Czech government expelled most of the Russian embassy in Prague on Thursday, a few days before Russia’s Spymishkin and Chepiga were accused of being behind the arsenal explosion. According to Sturik, the embassy is known as the center of Russian intelligence, and expulsion would ruin such activities. “All the people in important positions are gone,” he said, “and their abilities have diminished significantly.”

Stulík added that the international intelligence agency had told him that in the light of recent exposures to Novichok and Unit 29155, he would resume other cases of addiction and mysterious death.

Julia Scripal

Julia Scripal, poisoned in Salisbury, England, and her father, Russian spy Sergei Scripal. (Dylan Martinez / Reuters)

Among those who may have been victims: Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara Murza. Kara Murza, Vice Chairman of Open Russia, a democratization promotion organization founded by another Putin enemy Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who currently lives in the United States, in both 2015 and 2017. It was an unknown substance that hardly survived the addiction. The Washington Post editorial board recently asked the FBI, which investigated his second addiction, to find out if his addiction was caused by Novichok. Democracy activist and Pussy Riot manager Pyotr Verzilov are investigating Graft in 2018, when he lost sight and hearing and soon fell into a coma after an interview criticizing Putin. I was writing a report on the death of a Russian filmmaker in Coma. He also wonders if Novichok was the culprit. Bellingcat has identified other possible victims in recent years.

Russian criminal expert Mark Galeotti believes that the massive political riots that took place in Ukraine in 2014 urged the President of Ukraine to high-tail abroad. he).

“To the delusional old men of the Kremlin,” Galeotti said. “It wasn’t about the population rising against the corrupt government. It was the CIA and MI6’s plans to steal Ukraine from Russia for the West. That they said,” We are at war — with the West. It’s a political war. ” That’s when they decided. “Well, if you’re at war, you do this kind of thing.” Since then, he has said, “Not only addiction, but also various secret non-military attacks such as disinformation campaigns and election interference. That’s why we believe that is increasing. “

Needless to say, he was charged with trapping political opponents.

In particular, when Navalny regained his ability to speak, walk, read and write in January, he voluntarily returned to Russia, where he was immediately arrested and taken to prison at the Moscow airport. At a hearing in February, he was convicted of violating parole from a previous ruling — because he did not notify authorities of his trip when he was airlifted to Germany in a coma — and three years. He was sentenced to half imprisonment.

“It will take a long time for people to fully recover and grow again,” said Alastair Hay, an emeritus professor of environmental toxicology at the University of Leeds. “This will undermine him,” Hay added. “And a hunger strike. Everything will contribute to his health.”

“Navalny,” said Galeotti. [to Putin] “In the sense that he is a potential catalyst,” which can motivate what Galeotti calls a “sickened coalition.” Whatever their beef opposes Putin’s administration, corruption, lack of democracy, lighter wallets, “Navalny gathered at them and gave them an excuse to say,’I want to do something!'” Galeotti added. ..

Agnieszka Legucka, a Russian expert at the Polish Institute of International Affairs, sees Novichok addiction as a signal to people like Navalny who oppose Putin. But it is “a very important message to NATO countries that Russia is using banned chemical weapons that Russia says it does not have. It is not just its own people, but any city other than Russia. It can harm the public. “She said it was a way for Putin to level the stadium. “Russia feels it is marginalized,” and it has limited options to change that scenario. One option is the use of threats. “If you’re afraid of Russia, that means it exists,” she said.


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