Russia spoke of a metabolic disorder, only the Charité diagnosed poisoning: Alexej Navalny only barely survived an attack. Now his doctors documented how bad things were for the Kremlin critic.
On the serious poisoning of the Kremlin opponent Alexej Navalny, which Russia denies, doctors from the Berlin Charité have published a medical report in the journal “The Lancet”. “Serious poisoning with a cholinesterase inhibitor was diagnosed in the Charité,” the clinic announced on Wednesday. In the article on four pages, the doctors describe for the first time the symptoms that are caused by the neurotoxin developed by Moscow in the 1980s by the Novitschok group.
According to this, Navalny fell into a coma, the heartbeat slowed massively, the body temperature dropped to 34.4 and at times to 33.5 degrees Celsius, according to the article, which appeared with the patient’s consent. Russia still denies that Navalny was poisoned on August 20 in the Siberian city of Tomsk.
To the horror of other colleagues, doctors at the clinic in Omsk had only certified the 44-year-old as having a metabolic disorder. Moscow had repeatedly asked for evidence of poisoning. The Charité doctors pointed out that they had taken blood and urine samples from Navalny after his arrival on August 22nd.
Doctors: Navalny was very lucky
A Bundeswehr laboratory later found out that the poison was a forbidden agent of the Novichok group. This has been confirmed by three other laboratories in France, Sweden and the Organization for a Ban on Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Russia dismisses the allegations as a political campaign.
The doctors compared the mode of action of the neurotoxin Novichok with that of organophosphates, which are used for chemical pest control. They suspect that Navalny survived because he was treated very quickly after the onset of symptoms – among other things with atropine, which is used as an antidote, and with artificial respiration.
According to the report, Navalny was very lucky that the attack did not turn out any worse. “His pre-poisoning health was likely to have helped him recover,” the doctors noted.
The opposition member blames a “killer squad” of the domestic secret service FSB operating under the orders of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin for the poison attack. The Kremlin rejects this and accuses Navalny of “paranoid”. Germany, however, holds Russia responsible for the attack. Russia responded to EU sanctions in the Navalny case with counter-sanctions.