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In response to Navalny’s ‘Der Spiegel’ interview, Chechnya’s Kadyrov wonders why he wasn’t blamed for the poisoning

The head of Russia’s Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has published a public statement addressed to opposition figure Alexey Navalny on his Telegram channel, responding to Navalny’s claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin is responsible for his recent poisoning. 

“There are still patriots in Russia who see your true nature and your hidden plans aimed at destroying [this] great state, and [their] hands itch to respond to your lies. But it’s Putin who’s holding them back,” Kadyrov wrote. “Thanks to Putin, there’s a tolerant attitude towards the opposition in the country.”

Kadyrov maintained that if they wanted to kill Navalny in Russia, “not a single doctor would have lifted a finger” and the plane that evacuated Navalny to Berlin “wouldn’t have been allowed to land at the Omsk airport.”

Kadyrov also posed a rhetorical question, asking why — “for the sake of persuasiveness and plausibility” — Navalny didn’t name him as the perpetrator or “customer” behind the poisoning.

Navalny said that he holds Putin personally responsible for his poisoning in an interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel, which was published on October 1. Following the interview’s publication, Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin proclaimed that “everyone saved him [Navalny] — from the pilots to the doctors to the president.” Volodin also claimed that Navalny is a Western intelligence operative. This was later repeated by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who accused Navalny of cooperating with the CIA (Navalny said he plans to sue Peskov over these claims).

On August 20, Alexey Navalny became violently ill aboard a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. Pilots made an emergency landing in Omsk, where Navalny was hospitalized and immediately placed in a medically induced coma. Two days later, he was transferred aboard an air ambulance to Berlin, where German specialists later concluded that he had been exposed to a Novichok-class nerve agent. Russian officials maintain that they have no evidence that Navalny was poisoned. He regained consciousness on September 7 and was discharged from the hospital on September 22, though his full rehabilitation is expected to take several more weeks.

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