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Alexey Navalny announces return to Russia following poisoning

Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has announced that he will return to Russia from Germany five months after he was poisoned with a Novichok-type nerve agent. He’ll be flying to Moscow on a flight with the Russian airline Pobeda on Sunday, January 17. 

The question “to return or not” was never before me. Simply because I didn’t leave. I ended up in Germany, having arrived there in an intensive care box for one reason: they tried to kill me.

Navalny also added that he “isn’t very interested” in the actions of “Putin’s servants,” who “are fabricating criminal cases” against him.

Navalny announcing his return to Russia

Alexey Navalny has been in Germany since August 2020, when he was evacuated there for treatment after he fell violently ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. Following testing, German officials confirmed that Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok-type nerve agent. In December 2020, a joint investigation from Bellingcat and The Insider implicated a special FSB sub-unit of eight federal agents in poisoning Navalny.

On December 29, 2020, the Russian Investigative Committee announced felony fraud charges against Navalny for allegedly embezzling hundreds of millions of rubles in donations to his non-profit (the Anti-Corruption Foundation or FBK) and other organizations. That said, the FBK publishes reports on donations and annually. Navalny has linked this new criminal case to the investigation into the circumstances surrounding his poisoning.

On January 12, 2021, Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service filed an appeal in court seeking to revoke Navalny’s probation sentence in the so-called Yves Rocher case and incarcerate him, accusing him of failing to fulfil the duties assigned to him by the court and evading the oversight of corrective services. This came after the Russian prison authorities demanded that Navalny urgently return to Moscow for a parole hearing the day before the end of his probation, knowing that he was in Germany.