Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny on His Poisoning "I Assert that Putin Was Behind the Crime"

For the first time after his poisoning, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny discusses his near-death experience, Putin's alleged responsibility and Merkel's visit with him in the hospital.
Interview Conducted by Benjamin Bidder und Christian Esch
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Peter Rigaud / DER SPIEGEL


This photo was taken in Navalny's hotel room in Tomsk, where his team secured water bottles and other objects. One of the bottles contained traces of the poison.

Foto: AFP

Navalny was flown from Omsk to Berlin on this chartered plane.

Foto: Kira Yarmysh / dpa

A first sign of life: Navalny with his children Daria and Zahar and his wife Yulia in his room at Berlin's Charité University Hospital

Foto: Alexei Navalny / ddp media

Navalny posted photos of himself on Instagram showing him on the balcony of his room.

Foto: Navalny / Instagram / dpa

He also posted an image of himself as he practiced walking up and down stairs.

Foto: AFP

Navalny has announced his intention to return to Moscow: "I have no desire for this emigrant nonsense."

Foto: Peter Rigaud / DER SPIEGEL

Alexei Navalny was one of the co-organizers in 2011 of the "Russian March" in Moscow, an annual rally of right-wing nationalists. He would later end his participation in the marches. But for years there has been persistent criticism of his open alliance with the nationalists at that time.

Foto: Yuri Kozyrev / NOOR / DER SPIEGEL

Navalny and other opposition leaders are seen in this photo during a protest against Putin's return to the Kremlin in 2012.

Foto: Yuri Kozyrev / NOOR / laif

Navalny and his wife Yulia in 2013 after a court in Kirov overturned his conviction for fraud.

Foto: Dzhavakhadze Zurab / Itar-Tass / action press

Alexei Navalny's brother Oleg was released from a Russian prison in 2018 after three and half years of incarceration.

Foto: Dmitry Serebryakov / AP

Navalny opened regional offices across Russia in 2017 for the presidential election campaign, in which he was ultimately not allowed to participate. Opponents sprayed him with bright green paint in an attack in Barnaul that year.

Foto: Alexei Navalny / AP

Navalny called for protest actions after he was barred from running for president in the 2018 election.

Foto: Evgeny Feldman / AP / dpa
"I know it sounds a bit overblown, but Germany has become a special country for me."
"It wasn't pain. It was something else, worse. Pain makes you feel like you're alive. But in this case, you sense: This is the end."
"The use of Novichok is frightening - and that is Putin's strategy."
"When my hands shake, it's not from fear - it's from this stuff."