The poisoned Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny wants to return to Moscow on Sunday. He booked a flight with the Russian airline Pobeda, he says via Instagram.
Navalny was poisoned in August with the nerve gas novitsjok. He was unwell during a flight and after an emergency stop hospitalized in Omsk, Siberia. He was then brought to Germany at the request of his relatives to be treated in a hospital there.
Navalny says in a video message that he‘s recovered enough to return. His departure from Russia was always meant to be temporary, he emphasizes. “Russia is my country, Moscow is my city, I miss them.”
According to him, President Putin ordered the attack on him and “his servants” are making up all kinds of criminal cases against him. Last month, the Russian Federal Prison Service announced that Navalny would risk a prison sentence of 3.5 years upon return. He had failed to comply with a duty of reporting imposed upon him following a controversial conviction for embezzlement.
‘Not interested in actions servants Putin
Correspondent David Jan Godfroid calls his planned return no surprise. “He has always said that he will return as soon as he is sufficiently recovered. Just yesterday, the Federal Prison Service formally asked the court to turn the 3.5-year conditional imprisonment into an unconditional one, but he doesn‘t care much, he writes on Twitter.”
“ I am not interested in the actions of Putin’s servants,” writes Navalny. He calls on his supporters to welcome him Sunday.
Last month, the journalistic research collective Bellingcat came up with evidence that the Russian secret service FSB is behind the poisoning. Officers would have followed Navalny to his hotel room and a mandate “up to the highest circles of the Kremlin” has been issued to poison him.