Navalny conspired to make his comeback, but Russia’s opposition activists wonder who might be next

It is not just Navalni who has been attacked.

Just one day after emerging from his medically induced coma, at least three volunteers associated with his team were targeted at his office in Novosibirsk, Siberia.

The two masks burst into the office of the “Alliance Novosibirsk 2020” were recorded by security cameras, which is also the headquarters of the local team of the Navy.

One of them threw a bottle containing an unknown yellow liquid – described by CNN as a “pungent chemical”, “unbearable” by witnesses – on volunteers who were to lecture about upcoming local elections, before closing. .

The Kremlin has denied anything to do with the attacks, but analysts are skeptical.

“Russia has a track record of sudden deaths among Kremlin critics: Ana Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko and Boris Nemtsov, to name but a few” says Russian analyst Valery Akimenko from the Conflict Studies Research Center, an independent research group . “If it was not a murder conspiracy or an assassination attempt, it was an act of intimidation.”

Which raises an important question: how much and how much immediate danger is Navalny returning to Russia?

Vladimir Kara-Murza, Russia’s opposition politician and president of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, says, “I don’t think that safety or security applies to those protesting in Russia. Years.

He says, “I can do as much security as I can, but I have to touch the Dockenborbs and breathe air.” “The only real precautionary measures I am able to take is to get my family out of the country.”

The Kremlin has denied involvement in any of Kara-Murza’s attacks, although his wife has directly accused the Russian government of bearing responsibility.

The inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin has also denied any involvement in the toxicity of the naval, but Akimenko points out that language is hardly reassuring in the coming weeks from the Kremlin, given the near death of a prominent politician .

“Just look at what’s coming out of Russia,” he says. “Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was no need for Putin to meet Navalny; Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there is no legal basis for a criminal investigation; Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodyn talked about probing possible foreign provocation Doing; water blaming the Russian state on someone else. ”

As if the risk was not enough for Navalny, being an outspoken opponent of the government, other Putin critics believe that what might be seen as a failed assassination attempt could fail, to intimidate opponents is.

A prominent financier who had become a thorn in favor of Bill Browneder, according to an American sanctions act, “Alexei Navalny has now survived, it may prove to be a spectacular miscarriage that only empowers the opposition and Navalny.” Named after Browser’s lawyer Sergey Magnitsky, who died in a Russian prison under suspicious circumstances.

Cara-Murza points out that Navalny’s colleagues profited against Putin’s ruling United Russia in this past weekend’s elections in the area in Siberia where the propaganda office was attacked.

“When Russians have a real option, they are very happy to demonstrate how sick they are of Putin’s one-man rule,” he told CNN.

Whenever he returns to Russia, the risk is likely to be high for both him and his supporters; Has this affected the morale of the opposition?

Browner states, “Putin rules by symbol.” “To take the most popular opposition politician and poison him with a lethal nerve agent is intended to intimidate the less popular.”

So, will it work?

Kara-Murza says Putin’s critic Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered near the Kremlin in February 2015 when he was due to take part in anti-government protests in Moscow, told his colleagues Used to: “We should do what we need and what can happen. Of course, we understand the dangers, but we are determined, not afraid.”

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And when Akimenko says: “If Russia’s opposition leaders are not worried, they should be,” he says: “They have been fearless against both the physical physical attacks against the Navy and those who were tortured as prosecutors.” ”

The Navalny episode revealed the dangers of political opposition in Russia to the world.

Kara-Marja says, but for those actively involved in that fight, it only underscores the danger they already knew

“I was poisoned twice,” he said. “Both times I was in [a] Coma. Both times the doctors told my wife that I have a 5% chance of living. Boris Nemtsov had 0% when he was shot in the back. But it is not about safety; It is about doing the right thing for our country. It would be too much a gift for the Kremlin if those of us who stand in opposition lost and ran away. ”

CNN’s Mary Ilushina from Moscow contributed to this report