Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny has long been the most prominent face of Russian opposition to President Vladimir Putin. The year-old blogger has millions of Russian followers on social media - many in their early 20s or younger - and managed to get some of his supporters elected to local councils in Siberia in His return to Moscow and immediate arrest on 17 January, after five months recovering in Berlin from a near-fatal nerve agent attack, triggered mass protests across Russia by his supporters.
Police responded with force and thousands were detained for attending the unauthorised rallies. He says Mr Putin's United Russia party is full of "crooks and thieves" and accuses the president of "sucking the blood out of Russia" through a "feudal state" concentrating power in the Kremlin.
That patronage system, he claims, is like tsarist Russia. He speaks the street language of younger Russians and uses it to powerful effect on social media.
Alexei Navalny: Russia opposition leader poisoned with Novichok - Germany
They include the recent "Putin's palace" video on YouTube about a vast luxury Black Sea palace, allegedly gifted to Mr Putin by rich associates. Its comforts are said to include a skating rink, casino and vineyard. More than m people have viewed that video, published after Navalny's arrest.
The Kremlin dismissed it as a "pseudo-investigation" and Mr Putin called it "boring", denying the claims. Later billionaire businessman Arkady Rotenberg, one of Mr Putin's closest friends, said it was his own palace. Navalny is now serving a prison sentence of two and a half years in a penal colony about km 60 miles east of Moscow. After his sentencing he was the focus of a new controversy over xenophobic comments he made in the past, which he has not disavowed.
Amnesty International revoked his status as a "prisoner of conscience" on the basis of videos dating back toin which he appeared to compare ethnic conflict to tooth decay and likened immigrants to cockroaches. Amnesty still called for his release, however, regarding him as persecuted for having campaigned against President Putin. Navalny has also said the Crimea peninsula "de facto belongs to Russia", despite international condemnation of Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian territory.
On 2 February a Moscow court jailed Navalny for violating the terms of a suspended sentence for fraud. More than 1, supporters were arrested that night, as armoured riot police cordoned off streets around the courthouse. The case against Navalny was based on his failure to report regularly to police during - an absurdity, his legal team argued, as the authorities knew full well that he was getting emergency treatment in Berlin for the Novichok nerve agent attack.
He reminded the court that for part of that time he was in a coma.
Navalny argued that between January and Augustbefore the poisoning, he had reported to police twice a month. He dismissed the fraud case as fabricated in order to silence him. The case concerns alleged embezzlement from a Russian subsidiary of French cosmetics firm Yves Rocher and from a timber firm, Kirovles. His brother Oleg was jailed for three-and-a-half years and Alexei got the same term, but suspended.
That fraud conviction itself was condemned in by the European Court of Human Rights, which found that Navalny's rights had been violated, and it ordered Russia to pay him and Oleg compensation.
But later the Russian Supreme Court upheld the conviction. Navalny's battle against Mr Putin, 68, is now intensely personal: he accuses the president of ordering state agents to poison him - and he repeated that allegation in court.A joint investigation published on Monday has blamed Russian intelligence agents for the poisoning of top Russia opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
But investigative journalists at Bellingcat and Russian news site The Insider have now published a report implicating FSB agents in the incident. According to the investigation - compiled with the help of US broadcaster CNN and German paper Der Spiegel - a group of operatives from the Russian state intelligence organisation tailed Mr Navalny for three years. It identifies three men who travelled with the opposition figure to Tomsk, where he was eventually poisoned, and also reveals phone and travel data that "strongly suggests the August poisoning attempt on Navalny's life was mandated at the highest echelons of the Kremlin".
Moreover, they believe there had been previous attempts to poison him - and reveal that his wife, Yuliya Navalnaya, fell ill with similar symptoms to her husband just two months before the Novichok poisoning. Mr Navalny, who in September was released from hospital in Berlin where he was treated following the attack, tweeted after the report's publication: "Case closed.
In the past it has repeatedly denied any role in the attack and has demanded evidence to prove Mr Navalny was poisoned. The report published on Monday details a special unit of the FSB specialising in toxic substances. By examining phone records and travel data, investigators were able to track members of this unit and how they allegedly tailed Mr Navalny and his team for years. Beginning in - after Mr Navalny announced his plan to run for the presidency - operatives travelled with the opposition figure on more than 30 flights in a three-year period, the report said.
These operatives, two of whom traveled under cover identities, are Alexey Alexandrov 40Ivan Osipov 44 - both medical doctors - and Vladimir Panyaev They were allegedly supported by at least five more operatives, some of whom also went to Tomsk. Investigators believe the military scientist Col Stanislav Makshakov leads the team. By analysing phone and travel data from the FSB team, the investigators show that members were in Tomsk when Mr Navalny was poisoned. In some cases, pings from mobile phones to network towers show they were just minutes away from him and his team in the city.
A map published in the report showed the phone of one of the agents was a six-minute drive away from Mr Navalny's hotel. It shows a flurry of calls and text messages from agents to superiors at precise times, including in the hours immediately after Mr Navalny fell ill on board a flight which was diverted to Omsk. Moreover, investigators show that there may have been earlier attempts to poison him.
His wife Yuliya fell ill when the pair were on a romantic trip to the city of Kaliningrad in July, suddenly finding it "nearly impossible to stand up" and only recovering the next morning. Three members of that FSB squad allegedly booked flights to that city when the pair travelled there. They all spoke on the phone several times with Col Makshakov just before their flights. Bellingcat also released a timeline showing the FSB agent's movements alongside that of Mr Navalny and his team, as well as a report showing their methodology for the investigation.
The investigative news site previously named agents of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU who in allegedly carried out the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury. This is a fascinating and detailed investigation that says a lot about Vladimir Putin's Russia.
It shows that a "clandestine" FSB unit isn't so "clandestine" when investigation teams have access to mobile phone data and flight logs. It highlights the huge resources invested into shadowing Mr Navalny since members of the unit reportedly followed him on more than 30 trips across Russia.Kakashi hatake without mask
But the fact that - despite those resources - the Kremlin's most vocal critic is still alive suggests the security structures are no well-oiled machine. In the face of criticism - either at home or abroad - Moscow's knee-jerk reaction is to deny everything. And to keep denying everything: no matter how much evidence is presented.
Two hours that saved Alexei Navalny's life. Alexei Navalny: Russia's vociferous Putin critic. The man who made Novichok. He has accused Mr Putin of ordering the attack, something the Kremlin denies.There is "unequivocal proof" that Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent, Germany has said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said he was a victim of attempted murder and the world would look to Russia for answers. Mr Navalny was flown to Berlin after falling ill on a flight in Siberia last month, and remains in a coma. His team says he was poisoned on President Vladimir Putin's orders. The Kremlin has dismissed the allegation.
Alexei Navalny blames Vladimir Putin for poisoning him
The Kremlin spokesman called on Germany for a full exchange of information and foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova complained the Novichok allegations were not backed up by evidence. While they survived, a British woman later died in hospital. The UK accused Russia's military intelligence of carrying out that attack. Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the latest attack as "outrageous".Gm hei distributor wiring schematic wiring diagram
After the government in Berlin released results of toxicology tests carried out at a military laboratory, Chancellor Merkel said there were now "serious questions that only the Russian government can and must answer". Chancellor Merkel said Germany's Nato and EU partners had been informed of the results of the investigation and they would decide on a common and appropriate response based on Russia's reaction.
Mr Navalny's wife Yulia Navalnaya and Russia's ambassador to Germany would also be informed of the findings, the Berlin government said. The European Union has demanded a "transparent" investigation by the Russian government. It's an attempt to diminish his political significance, but the endless prosecutions, police detentions and giant fines Mr Navalny's faced over the years tell a different story about his impact.
He's certainly annoyed a lot of people, from those targeted by his anti-corruption investigations to Vladimir Putin himself. So it is possible someone wanted to resolve the "Navalny problem" for good. The timing is largely irrelevant. Why now? Well, why not.02tvseries billions season 5
But if whoever did this hoped to contain the fallout - a mysterious collapse, never explained by Russian doctors - the fact Navalny's team got him to Germany has blown that calculation.
The "collapse" is now a deliberate attack, and a major international scandal. The Kremlin response so far is familiar: deny, obfuscate, demand proof. Mr Putin's spokesman has even hinted that if Mr Navalny had been poisoned, then it must have happened in Germany because doctors here detected nothing suspicious. Mr Navalny fell ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. His supporters suspect poison was placed in a cup of tea at Tomsk airport. The Kremlin says Russian doctors administered atropine - which can be used to treat the effects of nerve agents - but found no evidence of poisoning.
Mrs Navalnaya said she feared Russian doctors had delayed his transfer as authorities were trying to wait for evidence of any chemical substance to disappear. The name Novichok means "newcomer" in Russian, and applies to a group of advanced nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the s and s. Novichok agents have similar effects to other nerve agents - they act by blocking messages from the nerves to the muscles, causing a collapse of many bodily functions. While some Novichok agents are liquids, others are thought to exist in solid form.
This means they can be dispersed as an ultra-fine powder. Novichoks were designed to be more toxic than other chemical weapons, so some versions begin to take effect rapidly - in the order of 30 seconds to two minutes. InSergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left critically ill in the British city of Salisbury, after Russian suspects were alleged to have smeared the nerve agent on the door handle of the former Russian spy's home.
Dawn Sturgess, 44, was later exposed to the same nerve agent and died in hospital. Her partner became critically ill but recovered. Mr Navalny is an anti-corruption campaigner who has led nationwide protests against the Russian authorities.More than 1, people were detained in Russia during Tuesday's protests in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, rights monitors say.
Navalny, 44, was earlier jailed for three-and-a-half years for violating the conditions of a suspended sentence. He says the case was fabricated. He returned to Russia in January after being treated in Germany for a near-fatal nerve agent attack last August.
Navalny says Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the attack with the Novichok agent, describing him as a "poisoner". The Kremlin denies the allegation and its spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the police response to Tuesday's "unauthorised" protests was justified.
Alexei Navalny: Putin critic loses appeal against jailing
The German government said it would discuss further steps with its EU partners, adding that new sanctions could not be ruled out.
Navalny has already served time under house arrest and his lawyer says he faces two years and eight months in prison. Soon there were violent scenes in the capital, with video on social media showing police beating and arresting those who came out to support Alexei Navalny.
One journalist was seen being hit on the head with a baton by a police officer. Russia's OVD-Info human rights monitors said 1, people were detained on Tuesday in Moscow, and in St Petersburg, the country's second-largest city. On Tuesday night, security forces "took" the centre of Moscow, arrest squads deployed in vast numbers to all the main roads and squares. In body armours and helmets, they formed long lines beneath the multicoloured street lights still hanging up from New Year.
Protesters were massively outnumbered. The official show of force was like a postscript to the message sent by imprisoning Alexei Navalny: the Kremlin is fully ready to crush those who challenge its authority.
Hundreds were detained tonight, and judging by the honking car horns in central Moscow - a new phenomenon - many more people are angered by what happened on Tuesday than are ready to risk taking to the streets in open protest. Navalny has been accused of breaking the terms of a suspended sentence for embezzlement that required him to report regularly to Russian police.
His lawyers say the accusation is absurd as the authorities knew he was recovering in Berlin from the nerve agent attack that nearly killed him in Russia. Addressing the court shortly before the sentencing, Navalny said the case was being used to frighten the opposition: "This is how it works: they send one to jail to intimidate millions.
I'm not the only one - many know this already and many others will.Leading Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny says he believes President Vladimir Putin was responsible for his poisoning. Germany, where Mr Navalny is recovering, says he was poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent. Its findings were confirmed by labs in France and Sweden. Responding to the interview on Thursday, Mr Putin's spokesman said there was no evidence that Mr Navalny had been poisoned with a nerve agent, and said CIA agents were working with the opposition leader.
Mr Navalny collapsed on a flight in Russia's Siberia region on 20 August. In an interview published by Der Spiegel on Thursday - the first since he fell ill - Mr Navalny said the order to use Novichok could only have come from the heads of three of Russia's intelligence services, all of whom work under Vladimir Putin. His supporters initially believed his tea had been spiked at Tomsk airport but traces of the nerve agent were later found on water bottles at the hotel where he stayed the previous night.
Speaking of his experience, Mr Navalny said: "You feel no pain, but you know you're dying. Straight away.Underrail harland bot
It was only because of "a chain of lucky circumstances" that he had been able to receive urgent medical care and survive, he said. Otherwise, "it would have just been a suspicious death". Asked why the Russian president would target him, Mr Navalny spoke of recent unrest in the far eastern province of Khabarovsk. Mr Navalny was released from hospital in Berlin last week and is still receiving physiotherapy to aid his recovery. His spokeswoman said last week that his bank accounts had been frozen and his flat seized but Mr Navalny told Der Spiegel he still planned to return to Russia.
I will not give Putin the gift of not returning to Russia. If the attack on Alexei Navalny was meant to frighten him into silence or compliance, it failed.
He's made it clear that he intends to return to Russia - and to opposition politics - more determined than ever, pledging to take on those "villains" who commit "the most heinous crimes". But the fact he identifies Vladimir Putin as chief "villain" in his poisoning has infuriated the Kremlin. Its spokesman called the accusation "utterly unfounded" and "insulting". That's standard Kremlin-speak but Dmitry Peskov also said he had "concrete information" that Alexei Navalny was getting "clear instructions" from the CIA.
That's new, and an escalation apparently aimed at discrediting him as thoroughly as possible here in Russia.Russian anti-Putin campaigner Alexei Navalny has denounced his detention as "blatantly illegal" in an appeal hearing via video link.
He was arrested on 17 January for not complying with a suspended sentence. He had only just arrived from Berlin, where he spent months recovering from a near-fatal Russian nerve agent attack.
The authorities say he was supposed to report to police regularly because of a suspended sentence for embezzlement. But his lawyers called this "absurd", saying the authorities knew he was being treated in Berlin for the Novichok poisoning, which happened in Russia last August.
Mr Navalny, Russia's most prominent opposition leader, told the judge on Thursday "this is all massively, blatantly illegal". Read more: Navalny slams 'illegal' Russian case against him. Navalny defiant as judge dismisses appeal.San quentin riot 2006
Navalny defiant as judge dismisses appeal Close. A judge heard, and then rejected, his appeal against detention for 30 days. Published 29 January. Section BBC News. Subsection Europe.The Biden administration targets Russian officials and entities, in a move co-ordinated with the EU.Russia expels diplomats as row over Alexei Navalny jailing escalates- BBC News
Russian anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny has built up huge support on social media. Alexei Navalny's conviction for embezzlement is widely seen as politically motivated. By Sarah Rainsford. BBC News, Moscow. Amnesty strips him of the status but links it to an "orchestrated campaign" to discredit him.
The prominent Putin critic was jailed on charges of breaking the terms of a suspended sentence. Anastasia Shevchenko was prepared for prison over her links to a pro-democracy group in the UK.
Russia condemns a decision calling for the Kremlin critic's release because of a risk to his life. By Laurence Peter and Adam Robinson.
BBC News. Jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny relies on several women in key roles - who are they? A leaked video shows Russian police interrogating protester Gennady Shulga while pushing him onto his dog's food bowl after a rally in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. BBC News Russian.Ichra police station
The Black Sea mansion highlighted by Alexei Navalny is beset with construction issues, say builders. Punk band Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova has released a song in support of Russia's anti-government protesters. Moscow say the diplomats attended weekend protests in support of Putin critic Alexei Navalny.
As the opposition politician returns to court, the EU repeats its call for his release from jail. The Kremlin's tough tactics could backfire, with the opposition leader's jail term fuelling protests.
More than 1, people are held after opposition leader Alexei Navalny is jailed, monitors say. Alexei Navalny.
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