Russia

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Navalny was poisoned with Novichok at his hotel, not at the airport
Screenshot of Navalny's Instagram post
Screenshot of Navalny's Instagram post Credit: Alexei Navalny

Novichok, the nerve agent used to poison Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detected on an empty water bottle from his hotel room in the Tomsk. His team now believes that he was poisoned in that hotel room, not at the airport as they had initially suspected.

In a video posted on Navalny's Instagram, his aides are seen collecting items from the hotel room an hour after they learned he had fallen sick in suspicious circumstances.

Navalny fell violently ill on a domestic flight in Russia last month and was transferred to Berlin for treatment. Germany says he was poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent, while Russia says it has seen no evidence he was poisoned.

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German government announces that Navalny is awake and plans to return to Russia
Alexei Navalny
Alexei Navalny Credit: Evgeny Feldman (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny has awakened from a medically induced coma and seemed mentally sharp according to a senior German security official.

The official stated that "he’s fully aware of his condition, he’s fully aware of what happened and he’s fully aware of where he is" and added that Navalny "wants to go home to Russia and he wants to continue his mission".

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Navalny out of his medically induced coma, responds to verbal stimuli

The Berlin university hospital Charité has announced that the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny "has been removed from his medically induced coma and is being weaned off mechanical ventilation".

Navalny is able to respond to verbal stimulation, but "it remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning".

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Trump says Putin and him "get along" when asked about Navalny poisoning

During a news conference, United States president Donald Trump has stated in regards to the assassination attack on the Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny that he doesn't "know exactly what happened. I think it's tragic. It's terrible; it shouldn't happen. We haven't had any proof yet, but I will take a look". He added that "I do get along with President Putin" who is the main political opponent of Navalny. 

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Navalny poisoning should have international consequences according to NATO
Representative image of Jens Stoltenberg in 2020
Representative image of Jens Stoltenberg in 2020 Credit: U.S. Secretary of Defense (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated that "the use of such a weapon is horrific. All allies today were united in condemning this attack" as Navalny is recovering in a German hospital from the assassination attack.

He added that "this is not just an attack on an individual but on fundamental democratic rights. And it is a serious breach of international law which demands an international response".

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German government states that Navalny has been poisoned with Novichok

A special laboratory of the German Federal Armed Forces has carried out a toxicological investigation on samples of Alexei Navalny. This revealed the unequivocal proof of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group.

The German government states that "it is a shocking event that Alexei Navalny has become the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent in Russia" and "condemns this attack in the strongest terms".

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EU calls for independent investigation in Nawalny case

In the case of the allegedly poisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Nawalny, the EU is demanding that Russia conduct an "independent and transparent investigation". The European Union strongly condemns the alleged "attack on Nawalny's life", EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell declared in Brussels on Monday evening.

It is "imperative" that the Russian authorities launch an independent investigation "without delay" into the alleged attack on Nawalny's life, Borrell demanded. The Russian people and the international community wanted to know "the facts behind Mr. Nawalny's poisoning. Those responsible for the attack must be "brought to justice".

The Berlin clinic Charité, where the prominent critic is being treated by Russia's President Vladimir Putin, assumes after a thorough investigation that the 44-year-old was poisoned.

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Alexei Navalny arrives in Berlin for medical treatment
Alexei Navalny arrives in Berlin for medical treatment
Credit: Никита Баталов @nikbatalov Коммерсант ФМ

Alexey Navalny, the Russian opposition leader and Vladimir Putin critic, has arrived Saturday in the Charite hospital in Berlin, after a evacuation flight from Omsk.

The hospital confirmed Navalny was admitted and that an "extensive medical diagnosis" is being carried out.

Jaka Bizilj, founder of the German NGO Cinemas for Peace, said to reporters: "The good news is that he's stable, so the whole travel did not affect him," Bizilj said. "But there is no reason to celebrate, because he is in a very critical condition. So the real work starts now with the doctors at the Charite."

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Russian opposition leader has arrived in Germany
Russian opposition leader has arrived in Germany
Credit: Никита Баталов @nikbatalov Коммерсант ФМ (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who fell seriously ill on Thursday and has been in a coma in Omsk since then, has been flown to Germany. The permission had been announced by a doctor at the hospital treating him on Friday. Earlier, doctors in Omsk, Siberia, had declared that the 44-year-old was not fit for transport.

He will now treated in the university clinic Charité. 

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Russian opposition leader Nawalny not stable enough for transport to Germany
Russian opposition leader Nawalny not stable enough for transport to Germany
Credit: Presse statement from FBK Director Ivan Zhdanov and Alexey's wife Yulia Navalnaya

According to the doctors of the Russian opposition leader Alexej Nawalny is in an unstable condition and not be fit for transport to Germany.

Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh has stated on Twitter that they appeal to the European Court of Human Rights "with an application for taking urgent precautionary measures in accordance with paragraph 39 of the Regulations. We demand to prohibit the Russian authorities from preventing the transportation of Navalny to a medical facility. Prolonged transportation may cause irreparable harm to life and health".

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Russian opposition leader Nawalny to be treated in Germany
Russian opposition leader Nawalny to be treated in Germany
Credit: Evgeny Feldman / Novaya Gazeta (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The German chancellor Angela Merkel has offered to treat Nawalny in a German hospital. According to his spokeswoman, he has been poisoned. Activists now want to have him flown out to Berlin for treatment as he is currently in a coma.

The Charité in Berlin has promised to treat Nawalny, and currently, the necessary flight permits are still being obtained. Nawalny is to be brought from Omsk, where he is in hospital, by a plane chartered in Germany. Earlier, the newspaper "Bild" had reported on the plans.

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Russian opposition leader in coma with suspected poisoning
Russian opposition leader in coma with suspected poisoning
Credit: Evgeny Feldman / Novaya Gazeta (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is reportedly in a coma after what his spokeswoman called a poisoning. Last year he was also suspected to have been poisoned.

He started feeling unwell on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow, she said. The plane landed in Omsk and he was taken to hospital. "We assume that Alexei was poisoned with something mixed with his tea," she said. "That's the only thing he drank this morning."

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Russia approves world's first coronavirus vaccine
Russia approves world's first coronavirus vaccine
Credit: Kremlin (Public Domain)

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday the approval of a coronavirus vaccine developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute. The vaccine is named Sputnik-V, and it has yet to go through Phase 3 trials.

Putin said, "A vaccine against coronavirus has been registered for the first time in the world this morning, I know that it works quite effectively, it forms a stable immunity."

The announcement came despite a caution last week from the World Health Organization(WHO) that Russia should not stray from the usual methods of testing a vaccine for safety and effectiveness.

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Protests in east Russia continue
Protest in Khabarovsk, July 18 2020
Protest in Khabarovsk, July 18 2020 Credit: teamnavalnykhv

For the third week, protestors in Khabarovsk have gone to the street to demand that their governor is tried in Khabarovsk after he had been detained and flown to Moskow over murder charges. Protestors say that he possibly has been set up by the government in Moskow.

The reported number of protestants varies widely with the city authorities reporting 6,500 and the protest organizers 50,000 participants.

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Alexei Navalny announces closure of anti-corruption foundation over fines from Russian courts
Alexei Navalny announces closure of anti-corruption foundation over fines from Russian courts
Credit: Evgeny Feldman (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Alexei Navalny has announced that he'll close his Anti-Corruption Foundation, stating that fines imposed by a Russian court force him to make that decision. The politician opposing the Russian president Vladimir Putin has stated that "Everything we had was already seized in previous police raids. Now they’re going to take away the organisation itself" and added that he will try to re-launch the foundation under a new name.

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Russian parliament drafts ban of same-sex marriage after constitutional change
Russian parliament drafts ban of same-sex marriage after constitutional change
Credit: unsplash/Thomas AE

During the Russian constitutional referendum, voters backed a constitutional change that would ban same-sex marriage by defining marriage as a union of a woman and a man only. Lawmakers in the Russian parliament have now introduced a legislation draft to implement this change.

In addition to explicitly banning same-sex marriage, couples of the same sex will be prohibited from adopting children. While this is no explicit change in the current practice,s it explicitly outlaws the option. According to one of the Senators, Yelena Mizulina, the changes will also affect transgender people.

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Putin wins constitutional referendum and will be able to stay in power until 2036
Archive Vladimir Putin 2018
Archive Vladimir Putin 2018 Credit: kremlin.ru (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

The Central Election Commission has announced that the Russians have voted in favor of adopting the proposed constitutional changes. According to the commission, 77.9 percent of the voters were in favor and 21 percent against. With the changes, Putin will be able to run for two more six-year terms after 2024, thus being able to stay as the head of the country until 2036. Multiple countries have called for Russia to investigate possible irregularities with the voting process.

A spokesperson for the United States state department stated that "We are troubled by reports of Russian government efforts to manipulate the result of the recent votes on constitutional amendments, including reports of voter coercion, pressure on opponents of the amendments and restrictions of independent observers of the vote".

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Russia passes 600,000 Covid-19 cases one day before referendum
COVID-19 Girl in mask on the street.
COVID-19 Girl in mask on the street. Credit: www.vperemen.com (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Russia has reported 7,176 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the nationwide total number to 606,882 confirmed Covid-19 cases. The country remains the third most infected in the world one day ahead of the constitutional referendum.

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Russia stages military parade one day ahead of referendum to extend Putin's rule until 2036
2018 Moscow Victory Day Parade
2018 Moscow Victory Day Parade Credit: kremlin.ru (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Russia is showing it's military in a parade on Wednesday one day ahead of the constitutional referendum that would enable President Vladimir Putin to extend his reign until 2036. The military parade is happening in honour of the 75th anniversary of the World War II defeat of Nazi Germany. The annual parade was originally scheduled for the beginning of May but delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year 14,000 soldiers and different kinds of weapons will be shown in it.

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Putin signs policy that permits defense with nuclear weapons against non nuclear attacks

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree outlining the types of threats that could trigger the use of atomic weapons. The new decree includes as one of those threats the launch of non-nuclear ballistic missiles that are targeted at Russia or Russian allies and are deemed to be an existential threat.

The new policy replaces a 10-year-old document that will expire this year.

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Putin proposes addition of patriotism and war history to school education

In a newly submitted legislation proposal, president Vladimir Putin seeks to add the subjects of patriotism and war history to Russia's education law. This follows an ongoing trend to further root Russian patriotism into the education system as the military has previously announced plans for annual student education programs. The new proposal also cites an article in the Constitution that hasn't been voted on, as the public vote on the constitutional changes has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Spokesperson of Putin confirms that he has Covid-19

The spokesperson of the Russian president Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, has confirmed to Russian media that he is in treatment for the coronavirus. In the telephone call, he also stated that he hadn't seen the president in over a month.

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Fire in Russian hospital started with a ventilator short-circuit

A fire that killed five people in the intensive care unit at St George Hospital, in St Petersburg, apparently started by a short-circuit in a ventilator.

According to Russia's NTV news website, the fire did not spread beyond one Covid-19 ward on the sixth floor, and doctors were quoted saying a short-circuit caused one ventilator "literally to explode".

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Moscow goes into lockdown

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin declared the 13 million residents of the Russian Capital, Moscow, are to stay home, exceptions made for medical emergencies and run to nearby shops.

The city will enforce this rule using a system of special passes and electronic surveillance -- cameras with facial recognition and cell phone location data.

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Russia may delay Putin vote due to coronavirus outbreak

Russia may delay the public vote on amendments allowing Vladimir Putin to hold office potentially until 2036 due to the corona virus pandemic. The Kremlin has not yet officially rescheduled the vote originally planned for April 22nd. Putin intends to alter the constitution in order to get the chance for a fifth and sixth term as President.