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Editorial: Meduza demands a criminal investigation into the attempt on Alexey Navalny’s life

Source: Meduza
Anatoly Maltsev / EPA / Scanpix / LETA

It’s almost too funny to believe: In perhaps the greatest prank in Russian history, Alexey Navalny telephoned one of the men who evidently participated in the attempt on his life. They talked for nearly an hour in a conversation so surreal that it surpasses the absurdity even of RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan’s infamous interview two years ago with the Russian spies who proclaimed unconvincingly that a tall spire drew them to Salisbury, England.

Once again, however, the monstrous albeit ridiculous actions of Russia’s intelligence community are themselves no laughing matter. 

It’s fairly clear what happened: there was an attempt to poison Russia’s most prominent opposition politician using a deadly nerve agent. Journalists discovered that an entire unit of Federal Security Service officers was following him (which President Putin later confirmed, claiming that they were only watching Navalny). Now, one of those federal agents identified by journalists has essentially confessed in his conversation with Navalny that he and his colleagues deliberately poisoned him. It’s apparent that Navalny was supposed to die.

This is all very hard to explain, but it’s even harder to refute. Russia’s authorities, meanwhile, have responded with a mix of silence, dismissiveness, and obnoxiousness. Instead of even feigning concern about the attack, officials have continued to tell us that Navalny has diabetes, that he mixed up drugs and alcohol, that he poisoned himself, that Western spies did it, that the Kremlin would have killed him if it wanted him dead, and so on.

An honest inquiry into these events isn’t likely possible in Russia today, which is painfully clear in light of the authorities’ reaction to everything that’s happened with Navalny. But we consider it impossible to wait for better days before seeking justice. Denying the obvious is no longer an option. Russia must investigate the attempted murder of Alexey Navalny.

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