As news emerges of opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s hospitalization, where he is currently undergoing tests for the poisoning of his stomach, a key question is why any Russian politician is actually allowed to travel in the first place. When asked this question by France 24, Vitaly Milonov, a lawmaker and opponent of Navalny, countered that: “Russian regions have representatives.”
Navalny – whose following swelled sharply during the recent protests across Russia – was detained at the airport with his wife while on his way to France to deliver a speech. His heart and liver are currently being evaluated after being rushed to hospital with a severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
Navalny, who has been behind bars for the past five months, took to Twitter to announce his latest health scare:
Because I spent so long in jail I don’t have any light before bed. Very rough #Hospital — Аrеніша (@navalny) June 6, 2019
News of the poisoning outbreak quickly circulated on social media, with many assuming the dead giveaway was that Navalny’s hair was shaved the morning of his trip, leading people to immediately start speculating on what was done in his stomach. Despite this, there is no conclusive proof regarding the alleged poisoning.
Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, hospitalized in France after mysterious stomach illness. All these accusations directed at our politicians are disgusting and unfounded. But especially them, they are elected and they are paid to work for society and democracy. — Нерграйн (@zarubyptro) June 6, 2019
Navalny has previously been investigated for political offenses and environmental crimes, before being arrested last month with his brother Olga and four activists in his hometown of Ulan-Ude. This led to Navalny being sentenced to a further 30 days in custody, though he has since been released after appealing his sentence. Navalny has been jailed more than 10 times over the past 10 years.
The presumed poisoning could be one of several wild theories in the media right now, from a dispute with French business to unknown enemies abroad.
“All this criticism about our politicians, those who give evidence about the origin of questionable campaign financing in Russia, is absolutely contaminated with lies. They are lying and they know they are lying,” said Milonov.