A confidant of Alexei Navalny spoke about his health. In the meantime, Olaf Scholz expressed his condolences. The SPD politician is concerned about the Kremlin critic’s illness.
Film producer Jaka Bizilj assumes that Navalny will survive the alleged poison attack on him. In the political lecture “The Right Questions” on “Bild Live”, Bizilj said on Sunday evening: “From my point of view, the crucial question is whether he can survive this unscathed and continue playing his part.” Bizilj, who organized Navalny’s transport from Siberia to Berlin for treatment in the Charite, added: “If he survives what we all hope for unharmed, he will be out of the political battle for at least another month or two.”
Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz had previously described news of Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny’s sudden illness as “worrying”. “I would like Mr. Navalny to get well again. And we will make it clear that we as Democrats do not accept that the lives of opposition members are endangered,” the SPD politician and the Federal Treasury Secretary told the online portal of the “Neue Westfälische”. He is happy that Navalny has successfully flown to Germany so that the doctors of the Berlin Charité can take care of him.
The Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller (SPD), also wished Navalny a speedy recovery. He said he very much hoped that Navalny would be completely healthy again in the Berlin Charité and that the cause of his health condition would be found soon.
“We will tell you everything”
Nawalny employees had postponed the information they announced about the possible poisoning of the opposition member on Sunday to a later date. “We will certainly do that later,” Leonid Volkov wrote on Twitter on Sunday afternoon. He did not give exact reasons for the delay. Volkov works for Navalny’s so-called Anti-Corruption Fund and is one of his closest confidants. On Sunday he also accompanied his wife Julia to the Charité University Hospital in Berlin.
Earlier, a tweet from Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Jarmysch said, “We will share everything that is currently known about Alexei’s poisoning.” She wanted to report from Moscow and her colleague Leonid Wolkow from Berlin.
Буду сегодня вечером in программе Волкова. Расскажем все, что известно об отравлении Алексея к этому моменту https://t.co/4ZXbuakvFN
– Кира Ярмыш (@Kira_Yarmysh) 23 August 2020
Navalny’s closest circle assumes that the Kremlin critic was poisoned. However, the Russian doctors only speak of a metabolic disorder. “We will now tell you what it really was like,” Volkov wrote. Navalny is one of the harshest critics of Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin.
“Navalny can take permanent damage”
The seriously ill Russian opposition member Alexei Navalny was admitted to the Berlin Charité on Saturday. An ambulance, accompanied by several police vehicles, took him in the morning from Tegel airport to the university clinic, where he is now being treated.
An ambulance plane with German doctors, organized by the “Cinema for Peace” organization, had flown the 44-year-old from a clinic in Omsk, Siberia, to Germany. Navalny’s condition in flight and after landing was stable, said film producer and organization founder Jaka Bizilj. Overall, however, the activist’s condition is “very worrying”.
A special plane with Kremlin critic Navalny on board stands in front of a hangar at Tegel Airport. A stretcher is lifted from the plane. (Source: dpa)
As the “Spiegel” reports, the Charité assumes a long-term treatment. Accordingly, the doctors who provided first aid apparently expressed fear that Navalny could “in the worst case suffer permanent damage, for example to the brain”.
The clinic has not yet publicly commented on the opposition politician’s condition. De Charité said that after the investigations are completed and after consultation with the family, comments will be made about the disease and further treatment steps. The exams would take some time.
Jaka Bizilj, founder of Cinema for Peace and organizer of ambulance transport for the Russian opposition Navalny, speaks to representatives of the media before the Charite. Navalny was hospitalized in the morning. (Source: dpa)
Jaka Bizilj did not want to speak to reporters about the speculation about a possible poison attack. However, he stressed that Navalny was a healthy man who collapsed overnight. He also probably wouldn’t have survived the flight to Moscow on Thursday had it not been for the emergency stop in Omsk. The doctors had explicitly told him that, Bizilj said.
Tough fight for Nawalny’s release
The prominent Russian opposition activist was admitted to hospital in Omsk unconscious and has been in a coma ever since. It was only after hours of back and forth that the doctors treating him there had given up their concerns about transport to Germany. Nawalny’s closest circle has accused authorities and doctors of using delaying tactics to prevent rapid transport, thereby concealing possible evidence. “Nothing stood in the way of Navalny’s transport. It was necessary that this had to be done as quickly as possible,” Jarmysch tweeted on Saturday.
Самолёт с Алексеем только что сел в Берлине
– Кира Ярмыш (@Kira_Yarmysh) August 22, 2020
The federal government is now hoping for a speedy recovery for the 44-year-old in Germany. It is believed that “treatment in the Charité will lead to an improvement in his condition and will allow a full recovery,” said a government spokesman on request.
Fear of Kremlin critics
Alexei Navalny is one of the harshest critics of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, the leading head of the liberal opposition. The licensed lawyer regularly accuses the government and oligarchs of corruption and abuse of power. There had been several attacks on him.
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. (Source: dpa)
“Many thanks to everyone for their support. The battle for Alexei’s life and health has only just begun, and much remains to be done. In any case, the first step has been taken,” Jarmysch wrote after his departure. Other members of the opposition were also relieved. “I am so relieved that terrorists have released a hostage after long negotiations,” wrote noted liberal politician Ilya Yashin, who has also been a longtime companion of Navalny. “I hope this time is wasted for nothing and that nothing will cost Alexei his life.”
“I passed out then”
The lawyer wanted to fly back to Moscow from Siberia on Thursday. He had another tea at Tomsk airport, the Navalny spokeswoman said. He felt uncomfortable in flight and lost consciousness on board. The plane then landed in Omsk, which is 4,000 kilometers from the German capital.
The flight to Berlin was a private initiative of the Cinema for Peace initiative led by film producer Bizilj. A similar action took place two years ago when Pyotr Verilov came to Berlin from Moscow with severe symptoms of poisoning. He is a member of the Russian political punk group Pussy Riot. He compared Nawalny’s situation to his situation in 2018. “It’s incredible how similar the route I took two years ago is. I passed out then,” Wersilow tweeted. He was also treated at the Charité.
In 2014, doctors at the traditional Berlin clinic also helped Ukrainian ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with chronic back and walking problems. Tymoshenko, who was released at the time, had contracted several hernias in prison. The Charité is Germany’s largest university clinic.