Then Journalist, Now Opposition Leader: Putin's 'Poisoning Way to Demolish Critics' Continues

In 2004, a journalist named Anna Politkovskaya had escaped from poisoning, but was later shot down by five people

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (File Photo: IANS) IANS

Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia was a former Soviet Spy, and he has absolute brilliance in demolishing enemies through intimidation, and sometimes, murder. The alleged poisoning case of opposition leader Alexei Navalny once again hints at the fact that the Russian regime is not so transparent, as often projected by western media outlets.

Poisoning Despite Having Bullets and Arms

Alexei Navalny, aged 44, fell ill, after boarding a flight at the Siberian airport. The opposition leader is now in coma, and his followers strongly believe that secretive government operatives have poisoned him.

Even though officials dismissed the poisoning angle, Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh accused the Russian government and physicians of endangering the opposition leader's life. Yarmysh also alleged that authorities wanted to delay the investigation so that the poison in his body can no longer be traced.

Adding up the heat to these speculations, officials initially blocked Navalny's transfer to Germany for treatment. But the real question that pops out in the minds of political analysts is why Russia is using poison to kill 'enemies'.

"If you're a regime that is willing to kill enemies at home and abroad, you have to decide on your priorities: ease, subtlety or theatricality. For the second and third, poison is often a good bet," said Mark Galeotti, director of the London-based firm Mayak Intelligence, The Washington Post reports.

John Sipher, a former CIA station chief in Moscow, also believes that Vladimir Putin is behind all efforts to maintain control through intimidation and murder in Russia, even though he may not have personally ordered the poisoning plan.

Then Journalist, Now Opposition Leader

The case of poisoning is not just confined to Alexei Navalny. Russia has a long history of silencing critics by poisoning or murdering them, and there are several examples in history, even in the erstwhile Soviet era.

In 2004, during the first term of Vladimir Putin, investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya had claimed that she was poisoned deliberately while traveling on a domestic flight. Even though she survived the poisoning, two years later, she was gunned down outside her apartment in Moscow. After trial, five men were sentenced for killing, but the master brain behind the decision to order the killing still remains large.

Pyotr Verzilov, an activist also claimed that he was poisoned in 2018. As always Russian authorities denied their involvement. Now, Verzilov claims that the symptoms he faced in the first hour are similar to what is Alexei Navalny facing now.

When North Korea Followed Russian Strategy

In 2017, Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of Kim Jong-un, was attacked with VX nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia. Soon several media outlets revealed that the modus operandi followed to kill Kim Jong-nam was very similar to the operating strategy of Russia. It is now widely believed that Kim Jong-un had ordered to kill Kim Jong-nam.