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Navalny Will Survive Suspected Poisoning, But Be ‘Politically Incapacitated’ for Months — Evacuation Organizer

Alexei Navalny Ivan Sekretarev / AP / TASS

Leading Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny will survive his apparent poisoning but won't return to politics for several months, the organizer of his medical evacuation to Germany told the German tabloid Bild.

Jaka Bizilj’s comments came as Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said the opposition figure’s family has not authorized anyone other than his doctors or herself to make announcements regarding his health.

Navalny was hospitalized in a coma in the Siberian city of Omsk on Thursday after falling ill on his flight to Moscow, with aides saying they believe he was poisoned via a cup of tea. The 44-year-old was flown to Berlin early Saturday following a standoff over his evacuation from Russia for emergency medical treatment.

“Navalny will survive poison attack, but be incapacitated for months as a politician,” Bizilj, the head of the Cinema for Peace foundation that brought Navalny to Berlin’s Charité hospital in a chartered air ambulance, said Sunday, according to Reuters. 

A Charité hospital spokeswoman told the Russian state-run RIA Novosti news agency that Navalny’s treating doctors could provide an update on his condition Monday.

The doctors who treated him in Omsk said Monday “there can be no doubt” that they had saved Navalny’s life. They have previously said tests showed no trace of any poison. 

Omsk doctors had initially refused to let Navalny leave when the German air ambulance arrived, but reversed course after his family and staff demanded he be allowed to travel to Germany.

Cinema for Peace said it financed his medical transport with private money. A top Navalny aide said Saturday that businessman and philanthropist Boris Zimin and his family’s fund paid for the flight.

Navalny is the latest in a long line of Kremlin critics who have fallen seriously ill or died in apparent poisonings.

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