Alexei Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic, was rushed to the hospital Thursday after he became suddenly ill on an flight back to Moscow from Siberia. "The plane made an urgent landing in Omsk," tweeted Kira Yarmysh, the press secretary Navalny's anti-corruption organization. "We suspect that Alexei was poisoned by something mixed into [his] tea. It was the only thing he drank since morning. ... Doctors are saying that the toxic agent absorbed faster through the hot liquid. Right now Alexei is unconscious" and on a ventilator in intensive care.
This is video allegedly showing an unconscious @Navalny being removed from a plane during an emergency landing in Omsk, shared by the Mash Telegram channel. The Russian opposition leader is now in intensive care in serious condition, doctors say. pic.twitter.com/twUeeJ2ZtN
Critics of Putin have been poisoned in recent years, fallen to their deaths from balconies, and been assassinated in European cities. Opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov was shot dead within sight of the Kremlin in 2015, and former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko died in 2006 after drinking tea laced with polonium-210 in Britain, where he had defected. "One of the men accused in his poisoning is now an MP in Russia's parliament," The Guardian notes.
Navalny had been in Siberia campaigning for opposition candidates in upcoming local elections, and possibly gathering information for an investigation of local lawmakers from Putin's United Russia party. Peter Weber