Germany: We know of the poisoning of two exiled Russian dissidents

Is Vladimir Putin’s Enemies List Mysteriously Growing? After the Russian intelligence media, investigations begin across the Rhine agent It was reported this week that two participants in the April 29-30 meeting of Russian dissidents in Berlin are facing health problems.

A Berlin police spokesman confirmed to AFP that the investigation has been handed over to the State Security Service, which is responsible for terrorism and political crimes.

Who are the victims?

The first is presented as a journalist who recently left Russia. The second participant was Natalia Arno, director of the NGO Free Russia FoundationBased in the US, he lived in Russia for ten years after being forced to leave.

What was the reason for the meeting in Berlin?

Both women took part in the gathering of Russian enemies around the fate of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. This Russian businessman and dissident was jailed in 2003 for “large scale fraud” and “tax evasion”.

After ten years of imprisonment on the border of Siberia, he was pardoned by President Vladimir Putin and released in 2013. In exile in London since 2015, Russia’s richest man is a staunch critic of Putin. The former oligarch is often portrayed as a victim of the Russian regime, whose imprisonment was motivated by political reasons.

How did the events unfold?

He says the journalist experienced unspecified health problems during the event, but they may have started earlier. Agenstvo media added that in August 2020 he visited the Berlin Charide hospital where Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was treated for Novichok poisoning.

Natalia Arno, meanwhile, reported “the first strange symptoms” during her trip to Berlin to attend the conference, she said in a message posted on Facebook this week.

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Enemy then traveled to Prague, Czech Republic for a series of public meetings in Russia. It was after these meetings that his health deteriorated.

He says he experienced “strange symptoms” and “sharp pain” that worsened with “pronounced numbness” on the flight back to the US. He was given medical treatment on the spot.

The director of the Free Russia Foundation also reports that, in Prague, he opened the door to his hotel room and discovered a “strange and pungent smell of cheap perfume.”

“I am suspected of being poisoned by a nerve agent (Nervous system poisons of which Novichok is a part),” she said. Some symptoms persist today, although she feels “better.”

What is Novichok?

Novichok (“little new” in Russian) was developed specifically for military purposes by Soviet researchers in the 1970s.

It is a group of nerve agents believed to be five to ten times more lethal than two other well-known nerve agents: sarin gas and VX. This poison is included in the list of illegal substancesOrganization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons In 2019.

Available in liquid and solid versions, the poison attacks the nervous system and blocks communication with muscles, causing death by suffocation or cardiac arrest. Survivors often have irreversible brain damage.

What are the previous cases of Novichok poisoning?

In recent years, there have been several poisoning attacks against dissidents in power, both abroad and in Russia.

Kremlin dissident Alexei Navalny was the victim of an assassination attempt in 2020 with Novichok poison (its use confirmed by European laboratories), which he accused the Russian regime of sponsoring.

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Novichok was used in the 2018 assassination attempt on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. According to English officials, “only the Russian government had the technical means, experience and scope to carry out this operation”.

The case worsened already strained relations between London and Moscow since the 2006 death of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko in the British capital after he was poisoned by the highly toxic radioactive material polonium 210.

Each time, Moscow denied responsibility of its secret services.

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