Russian critic Alexei Navalny is reported to have made significant progress in his recovery and is now able to speak again. He is being treated at a hospital in Berlin after falling ill last month during a flight to Moscow. His suspected poisoning has triggered widespread speculations surrounding a possible assassination attempt.
According to German magazine Der Spiegel, Navalny's police protection has been increased as he is anticipated to receive more visitors. While speculations about him remembering the details of his sudden sickness are abound, the hospital treating Navalny has made no comment.
Alexei Navalny has been in the headlines since he fell sick under mysterious circumstances on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on Aug 20. He was rushed to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing and was put in an induced coma.
His supporters were quick to suspect he had been poisoned but Russian authorities had denounced the allegations and expressed concerns over this well being. After much debate over his transfer, Navalny was later moved to Berlin’s Charite hospital, where his samples tested positive for the presence of a Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.
The 44-year-old politician gained prominence as a man Putin “fears” most after the Wall Street Journal published his interview with a similar title in 2012. He has been at the forefront of the anti-corruption struggle in Russia and has organised several demonstrations against Putin and his political allies.
Navalny used YouTube, Twitter, and a personal blog to expose alleged corruption in Putin’s government and has published videos and documents on the corruption of Russian state officials. He has been jailed several times over various charges including embezzlement and calling for unauthorised protests, which the Russian leader has denounced as politically motivated. He strongly criticised the sweeping constitutional reforms introduced by Putin, giving himself an option to stay in power beyond term limits.