A 2.5-hour flight by Russian carrier Pobeda departed from Berlin Brandenburg Airport and is due to land in Moscow’s Winnukovo, which was heavily guarded by police on Sunday.
Navalny arrived in Germany five months ago after eating poison with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia during the Soviet years. After an extraordinary recovery, Navalny appears ready to return to his role as a thorn in favor of President Vladimir Putin, seemingly unaffected by his close beard with death.
He thanked all other passengers on the flight, as he and his wife, Yulia Navalnya, boarded the plane in Berlin, according to a live feed from TV Rain.
“Thank you all, I hope we get well there,” Navalny said. “And I’m sure everything will be absolutely fantastic.”
Several Western officials and Navalny himself have openly blamed the Russian state for poisoning, which the Kremlin has denied.
Upon landing in Moscow, Navalny on social media on Wednesday asked his supporters to “come visit me”. He said that his decision to return home was a comfortable one.
Russian officials reacted swiftly. On Thursday, the Prison Authority of India (FSIN) said that it is obliged to take all action to get Navalny in custody before a court hearing.
Moscow officials also issued a warning to those planning to meet Navalny at the airport, stating that the city sees the gathering as an unplanned demonstration. In recent months, Russia has passed several laws to silence protests and authorities have arrested peaceful protesters.
In an Instagram post on Saturday, Navalny wrote a post thanking Germany, stating that the Germans were “good, sympathetic, friendly people”.
“Doctors and nurses. Physiotherapists and police officers. Lots of policemen. Neighbors who invited us to drink, and who allowed us to be hired. Politicians and lawyers. Shopkeepers. Journalists. Prosecutors who requested Russia Was. Coach. Teacher. And even once, Chancellor. I had a wide range of friends here. And I can only say a huge thank you to all of you. “
Navalny, who has been detained multiple times by Russian authorities, was placed on the country’s federal wanted list during his time in Germany at the request of FSIN, which violated probation terms in December in a nine-year-old fraud case Was accused of doing. Dismissed as politically motivated.
Now FSIN has alleged that Navalny is violating the terms of his suspended sentence for failing to show up for scheduled inspections.
FSIN has requested that the court replace his suspended sentence with the actual jail term. A hearing is scheduled for January 29, and if the request is satisfied, Navalny will face a prison sentence of 3.5 years.
In 2014, Navalny was convicted of fraud after he and his brother Oleg were accused of embezzling 30 million rubles ($ 540,000) from a Russian subsidiary of French cosmetics company Yves Rochter. While Navalny was given a suspended sentence, his brother was jailed.
CNN’s Angela Dewan and Claudia Otto contributed to this report.