I Called My Killer, He Confessed: Russian Rebel Alexei Navalny

President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Photo: Kremlin
President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Photo: Kremlin

Navalny said he had called the FSB security agents identified in the report, adding that all of them refused to talk except the man he identified as Kudryavtsev.

By Rakesh Raman

Russian opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has claimed that secret agents of Russia’s Federal Security Service (the FSB) were behind his poisoning.

Navalny – who is also an anti-corruption activist – released a video Monday (December 21, 2020) in which he said, “I called my killer. He confessed everything.”

Navalny claims that before the publication of the investigation, which said that a group of FSB officers were behind his poisoning, he spoke on the phone with one of them – Konstantin Kudryavtsev – and he actually confirmed that he intended to kill Navalny.

Navalny’s assertion has come close on the heels of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that if Russian special services had wanted to kill Navalny, they would have “finished it.”

Putin was addressing his annual press conference on December 17, 2020 following an investigation by the investigative group Bellingcat and CNN, which – according to CNN – uncovered evidence that Russia’s FSB had formed an elite team specializing in nerve agents that trailed Navalny for years.

According to the CNN report, Putin claimed without evidence that Navalny is being supported by the U.S. intelligence services.

Navalny said he had called the FSB security agents identified in the report, adding that all of them refused to talk except the man he identified as Kudryavtsev.

Citing his recorded conversation with Kudryavtsev, Navalny revealed that the attacker had placed the poison along the inner seams of a pair of Navalny’s underwear. However, the state agency has dismissed his charges as baseless.

FEARS OF ELECTION FRAUD IN RUSSIA

Meanwhile, Navalny has urged the European Union (EU) to reject the results of Russia’s parliamentary election of 2021 if any candidates are blocked from taking part in the election. He has also called on the EU to impose sanctions on oligarchs close to Putin.

Navalny described September’s election for Russia’s lower house of parliament as a crucial event and feared that some vote-rigging may happen to help Putin win again fraudulently.

In 2018, Putin had won the presidential election to lead Russia for his second 6-year term. Putin has ruled the country as either President or Prime Minister since 1999. In 2018 election, according to official results, he got more than 76% of the votes with an increase of 12% from his 2012 performance.

Putin’s nearest competitor Pavel Grudinin received just 12% of total votes and Navalny, who was planning to challenge Putin in the election, was barred from the race.

Now, reports suggest that Putin may quit early in 2021 amid growing concerns over his health. The Sun reports that a recent footage of Putin, 68, showed that he may be suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Earlier, in July 2020, Putin had held a dubious poll to accept constitutional changes that allowed him to stay in power until 2036. However, Navalny refused to accept the results of the poll, saying that it was an illegitimate vote designed to legalize Putin’s presidency for life.

Navalny had added that with the help of his supporters he will hold “street protests” against Putin. But in August Navalny was allegedly poisoned by Russia.

In November, Russian police had raided the Moscow offices of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. According to a Reuters report, the state bailiffs said a criminal investigation had been opened against the Foundation director.

INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE

An authoritarian ruler Putin has been hell-bent to destroy democratic systems in different parts of the world. His brand of politics is being practiced in countries such as the U.S., India, Brazil, Belarus, and others.

Meanwhile, the global chemical weapons watchdog Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has asked Russia to explain the poisoning of Navalny.

The OPCW director-general, Fernando Arias, said on November 30 that according to the Chemical Weapons Convention, “the poisoning of an individual through the use of a nerve agent is a use of a chemical weapon.”

A group of 56 nations issued a statement at the start of the OPCW annual meeting, urging Moscow to disclose in a swift and transparent manner the circumstances of this chemical weapons attack. Russia, however, has denied any involvement in Navalny’s poisoning.

In October, according to an AP News report, Moscow had asked for OPCW experts to visit Russia to provide “technical assistance” in its investigations. The OPCW chief Arias said talks are underway to define all the legal, technical, operational and logistical parameters in order for this visit to take place.

Meanwhile, the European Union has imposed sanctions on six Russian officials and a state research institute over Navalny’s poisoning. Moscow responded in November by announcing similar sanctions against a number of German and French officials.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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