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Anti-Kremlin Activist Regains Consciousness After Suspected Poisoning

Alexander Zemlianichenk / AP/ TASS

Anti-Kremlin activist and publisher Pyotr Verzilov says he has regained consciousness after falling seriously ill from a suspected poisoning two weeks ago.

Verzilov, 30, was hospitalized in Moscow late on Sept. 11 after losing his sight, hearing and walking ability. German doctors said he was doing better since he arrived in Berlin for treatment last week.

“This is only the third day in relative consciousness, and 12 days in a black hole before that,” Verzilov tweeted on Tuesday.

“I’m spending my days in the friendly company of wonderful poisons. Not polonium-210, not Novichok, but something new and surprising!” Verzilov wrote.

German doctors have said that the chances of identifying the substance that incapacitated Verzilov were low after its ingestion.

Fellow Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova told Germany’s Deutsche Welle broadcaster on Monday that German police had placed Verzilov and his family under protection after they expressed fears that they were being followed. German police confirmed placing a security detail on Verzilov’s inner circle to DW on Tuesday.

Verzilov is the publisher of Mediazona, an online news outlet that focuses on human rights violations inside Russia's penal system. He ran on to a football pitch in Moscow during the World Cup final in July along with three women affiliated with Pussy Riot. The group was punished with a 15-day sentence for the act.

Pussy Riot came to prominence in 2012 when its members were jailed for staging a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin in an Orthodox cathedral in Moscow. The group has since become a symbol of anti-Kremlin protest action.

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