don't order negronis in tomsk
December 14, 2020

A sweeping investigation into the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny pins the non-fatal act on Russia's FSB spy agency, and suggests a very poor tasting cocktail may have been the source.

Per the report — which was conducted by the investigative website Bellingcat in partnership with CNN, Der Spiegel, and The Insider — Navalny, a major thorn in the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was in the Russian city of Tomsk on Aug. 19 when he met his traveling team at a hotel bar for a drink around 11:15 p.m. He ordered a late-night Bloody Mary, but was told by the bartender the ingredients weren't on hand and that he should have a Negroni instead.

Navalny took the advice, but quickly set the drink aside after a sip or two because, he said in an interview, it "tasted like the most disgusting thing I've had in my life." He soon went to bed, and the next morning fell critically ill on his flight back to Moscow.

The investigation suggests that drink may have been tainted with the poisoning agent Novichok, although CNN notes the toxin could have also been added to laundry he had done at the hotel, placed on a towel or pillow case, or injected into a shampoo bottle. Read more about the investigation into Navalny's poisoning, which used phone and travel data to implicate the FSB at Bellingcat and CNN. Tim O'Donnell

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