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Detention of Navalny

Date: 19 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


Russian authorities have detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny at Moscow airport after he returned from Germany for the first time since his poisoning.



Navalny fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia. Tests performed at the German hospital showed the presence of the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.



  • Navalny has maintained that the poisoning was carried out by the Russian authorities, who have denied any involvement in the attack.

  • Navalny came to prominence in 2008 after he started exposing corruption in Russian politics through a blog. In 2018, he was barred from standing against Putin in the presidential elections.

  • Navalny has spearheaded many anti-corruption rallies in Russia and is considered to be the face of the opposition in Russia. He has also been arrested on multiple occasions and since he started political campaigning.

  • It is not the first time that Navalny was faced with such a situation. Last year, Navalny was hospitalised after he suffered an allergic reaction in jail, possibly from an unknown chemical substance. 

  • Recently, Navalny said that he had tricked a Russian intelligence operative into confessing to the botched attempt to kill him in August.

  • Russia has long been known to use poison as a way of eliminating political dissidents and spies. However, not all assassination attempts have been successful recently, suggesting declining professionalism.

  • Since the Cold War, the Soviet Union heavily invested in the development of poisons as a way of targetting enemies.

  • In 1921, Laboratory 12 was established on the outskirts of Moscow and researched poisons, drugs and psychotropic substances, thereby giving the Kremlin an array of tools to choose from.