At 08.46 in the morning, the plane with Alexei Navalny on board touched down in a rainy Berlin. The Russian opponent was arriving in Germany from Siberia in a medicalized plane, and in a coma, his spokeswoman Kyra Yarmysch confirmed this newspaper.
The Navalny environment suspects that the anti-corruption activist, who has a long list of enemies, could have been poisoned. After hours of negotiations the day before with the Russian doctors who were treating him, the plane chartered by a German NGO took off at four in the morning from the Russian city of Omsk, almost 4,000 kilometers from Berlin. In the middle of the morning, Navalny entered the Charité, the great Berlin university hospital.
The Russian doctors who treated him ruled out that there were traces of poison in his body and attributed his health to a metabolic disorder. Jaka Bizilj, founder of Cinema for Peace, the NGO that has organized Navalni’s transfer by private plane to Germany, told the German press that the opponent’s health condition remained stable during the flight.
The reception of the Russian opponent comes at a time of diplomatic tension between Berlin and Moscow. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently accused Russia of the “scandalous” cyber attack on the Bundestag in 2015, in light of the German Attorney General’s office inquiries. Shortly after, the prosecution accused Moscow of ordering the murder of a Chechen rebel in broad daylight in a park in the German capital.
The Berlin hospital confirmed in a statement and through social networks that Navalny is admitted there “to receive medical treatment” and that diagnostic tests are being carried out. “After consulting with the family, the doctors who treat her will inform about her health and the treatment she should follow,” they added. A hospital spokesperson explained to this newspaper that the diagnostic tests will take some time. Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has announced this Saturday that it has requested the Russian Government for Navalni’s medical report.
Navalny’s transfer came after international pressure, given Russian doctors’ initial refusal to transfer him out of the country. Merkel indicated on Thursday the German willingness to take Navalny in for treatment and asked for transparency to clarify what happened.
The Russian activist of the Pussy Riot group Pyotr Verzilov already received treatment two years ago at the large Charité hospital in Berlin, where Navalny is admitted after presenting poisoning symptoms. In the same center, the former prime minister of Ukraine, Yulia Timoshenko, also received treatment in 2014 after being released from prison.
The hospital gathered on Saturday at its doors the informants who made their direct from there and some compatriot who came to show their solidarity with Navalny and wish him a speedy improvement.