The day after it was outlawed as an “extremist” organization, Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (the FBK) has published a new investigative report on the jailed opposition politician’s August 2020 poisoning. In addition to identifying the “most important” FSB operative involved in the attempt on Navalny’s life, his team also gained access to medical records from a Russian hospital providing evidence to the fact that he was poisoned. According to the FBK, these medical documents are sufficient evidence for launching a criminal investigation in Russia — something the authorities claim there are no grounds for.
Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (the FBK), which was outlawed in Russia just yesterday, has released an investigation containing new revelations about the opposition politician’s poisoning with a chemical nerve agent last year.
Navalny’s team claims to have identified the “most important member of the team of killers” involved in the attempt on Navalny’s life in August 2020. According to the investigation, the main perpetrator is Valery Nikolayevich Sukharev, who works for the FSB’s Service for the Defense of the Constitutional Order and the Fight against Terrorism. The FBK maintains that in the two weeks leading up to Navalny’s poisoning, Sukharev “talked on the phone incessantly with the brigade of poisoners already known to us.”
Sukharev spoke with Oleg Tayakin, who allegedly coordinated the officers involved in the FSB’s special operation, 46 times. In addition, he made 11 phone calls to Stanislav Makshakov from the FSB Criminalistics Institute — the officer who, in a joint-investigation from The Insider, Bellingcat, and CNN, was named as the leader of the group of poisoners. Sukharev also spoke with other people reportedly involved in the special operation. Moreover, according to the FBK, Sukharev followed Navalny on trips across Russia on at least 15 occasions.
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Valery Sukharev’s name also came up in an investigation into the 2019 poisoning of Russian writer Dmitry Bykov, which Bellingcat and the Insider published on June 9. According to the joint investigation, Sukharev tailed Bykov on a number of flights, but he wasn’t in Novosibirsk on the day of the alleged poisoning.
The FBK’s latest investigation also states that Navalny’s medical documents from the hospital in Omsk — where he was first hospitalized after the poisoning — “were falsified when issued to hide the real picture.” On November 2, 2020, FBK lawyers Ivan Zhdanov and Vyacheslav Gimadi went to the Omsk hospital and asked to access Navalny’s patient file, but were refused on the grounds that the records had been archived. Zhdanov and Gimadi then went to the archive themselves and asked for Navalny’s file, claiming that “it’s all been cleared with management.” “And thanks to a magic phrase, a password that opens all doors in Russia, they were allowed to photograph everything that was in the archives on that day,” the investigators said.
A month later, FBK representatives were given the same medical file, only to find that several pages had been replaced. A sheet with the results of Navalny’s blood test from the Sklifosovsky Research Institute had also been removed from the file. According to the FBK, this document showed “a critical decrease” in Navalny’s cholinesterase level. “Which, together with the other symptoms described in the medical file, confirms a diagnosis of poisoning with cholinesterase inhibitors in 100 percent of cases,” the FBK’s investigators said. Judging by a photo of the test results, Navalny’s blood sample was sent for examination on August 25, 2020 — the day after the Charité Hospital in Berlin confirmed that he had been poisoned with a Novichok-type nerve agent.
“Right now there are enough materials in Omsk — examinations, records, test results — to make an unambiguous diagnosis: organophosphate poisoning. […] And nothing else, literally no other piece of paper, is needed to open a criminal case.”
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Translated by Eilish Hart