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Russian military investigators formally refuse to examine alleged FSB involvement in Navalny poisoning

Russia’s Military Investigative Committee (a department subordinate to the country’s federal investigative agency) has formally refused to examine allegations that FSB officers were involved in the August 2020 poisoning of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. 

This was stated in the official response to a petition for an investigation from lawyer Vladlen Los, who works for Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. Navalny published a copy of the formal refusal on his blog on Thursday, January 14. 

According to the document, the application “did not contain any specific information on the circumstances pointing to evidence of a crime in the actions of Russia’s FSB officers.”

State investigators also noted that they have handed over the petition to investigators from the Transit Police Department for Russia’s Siberian Federal District, who are carrying out a “procedural check” regarding the circumstances surrounding Navalny’s hospitalization in Omsk.

On December 14, Bellingcat, The Insider, CNN, and Der Spiegel published a joint investigation implicating a special FSB sub-unit in poisoning Alexey Navalny with a Novichok-type nerve agent. A week later, Navalny shared a video revealing that he had managed to fool Konstantin Kudryavtsev, one of the alleged federal agents identified in the investigation, into detailing the Kremlin’s poisoning operation. Kudryavtsev effectively incriminated himself in the attempt on Navalny’s life during the call.

The FSB dismissed the investigation implicating their officers in the poisoning attack as a provocation, maintaining that the alleged conversation between Navalny and Kudryavtsev is a fake. The intelligence services then launched a probe into the publication of the recording (but not into the facts stated therein).

In addition to petitioning the Investigative Committee, Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation also planned to file a complaint with the FSB directly. That being said, the non-profit’s director, Ivan Zhdanov, acknowledged that in all likelihood, these petitions “will not have any particular effect.”

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