Prominent Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny was allegedly poisoned on Aug. 20 in Russia’s Tomsk Airport before he boarded a flight to Moscow. Navalny is the latest addition to a long list of Kremlin critics to face suspected or confirmed poisoning.
The Washington Post analyzed videos and photos — a mix of open-source material, social media posts and flight paths — to retrace Navanly’s steps in the days leading up to his suspected poisoning. While the available visual evidence does not reveal how he was poisoned or when, it provides a record for whom Navalny came into contact with and where he visited in the days prior.
Navalny had been in Novosibirsk and then Tomsk to meet with activists and opposition candidates for regional elections next month. A photograph shows Navalny drinking tea at a cafe in the Tomsk airport – the only thing his spokeswoman saw him eat or drink the day of his flight. Video captures Navalny wailing in pain after the plane took off and he lost consciousness by the time the plane made an emergency landing in the city of Omsk. German doctors said clinical results indicate he was poisoned.
Russian media reported that he was under constant surveillance by federal security agents during the trip, though the Kremlin has denied that President Vladimir Putin was involved in Navalny’s poisoning. Russia has yet to open a criminal investigation into the incident, despite Western governments’ calls to do so. The Russian doctor’s who initially treated Navalny at Omsk Hospital No. 1 said there was no evidence of poisoning. Navalny’s allies – family and colleagues – accused physicians of initially blocking is transfer to Berlin because they faced pressure from authorities seeking to hinder investigation into the incident.