Borrell, Schallenberg and Scholz for the launch of Navalny

Borrell, Schallenberg and Scholz for the launch of Navalny

On the second anniversary of the poisoning of Alexej Navalny, EU Chief Diplomat Josep Borrell, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recalled the fate of the Kremlin opponent who was arrested in Russia. “We regret the banning of Mr Navalny’s organization,” said an EU broadcast on Saturday. Schallenberg tweeted: “The crackdown on dissenting voices in #Russia must stop.”

Two years after the terrible poison attack on Navalny, he was still in prison, lamented the Foreign Minister (ÖVP) via the short message service. “We ask for his immediate and unconditional release and for those responsible to be held accountable.”

The EU also criticized “the continued persecution and arrest of Navalny and members of his staff” and “the recent unwarranted disciplinary measures taken by the prison authorities” against the Kremlin critic. “We hold the Russian authorities responsible for the safety and health of Mr. Navalny in the strict regime colony.”

It was regretfully noted that “Russia’s unwarranted, unprovoked and illegal war against Ukraine has only intensified internal repression and systematic repression of the Kremlin’s harshest critics and civil society at large.” The European Union again asks Russia “to fulfill its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and also to comply with the injunction of the European Court of Human Rights asking for the immediate release of Navalny from prison”.

According to the dpa news agency, the German Chancellor of the SPD said in a video message posted on Saturday that Navalny was “a brave man unchanged” and upheld the principles “that show good prospects for many Russian citizens. life is better in a democracy and under the rule of law”. That’s exactly why it’s so important to think about Navalny these days, Scholz emphasized.

Because the Russian war against Ukraine also has consequences for Russia. “Freedom and democracy were threatened before. But now freedom of expression is even more threatened and many are afraid to speak their minds.” Scholz said he spoke to Navalny during his time in Berlin and “meet a brave man who returned to Russia because he wanted to fight for democracy, freedom and the rule of law”.

Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent narrowly survived an assassination attempt with chemical warfare agent Novichok on August 20, 2020 and recovered in Germany. When he voluntarily returned to Moscow in January 2021, he was immediately arrested. Because of the alleged fraud, Putin’s fiercest opponent is being held in penal colony 6 in Melekhovo, near the town of Kovrov, about 260 kilometers northeast of Moscow – under particularly harsh prison conditions. In May, a court upheld the nine-year prison sentence.

The 46-year-old himself wrote in a prison camp greeting posted to Instagram on Saturday: “For the second time I’m celebrating my second birthday. The day I was killed, but for some reason I didn’t die.” In the post, he once again blamed Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin for the August 20, 2020 assassination attempt with the deadly nerve agent Novichok. And he criticized the fact that the case has not yet been officially investigated. The Kremlin denies that there was a crime. .

The prominent opposition member pointed out again that a research team from a Russian domestic secret service FSB group had proven the murder. “As I survived, the Kremlin became so bitter that they sentenced me first to 3.5 years and then to nine years.”

The case not only revealed the criminal nature of Putin and his regime, but also had an impact on Russia’s entire political system. “The system abandoned all masks; at the end of January 2021 it became repressive and authoritarian without hesitation,” said Navalny, who returned to his homeland after treatment in Germany despite the threat of arrest. This is what happens when someone stains their panties with Novichok to no avail, Navalny said on his return.

It is said that FSB agents applied the chemical warfare agent to Navalny’s underwear in a hotel. Shortly afterwards, on August 20, 2020, he passed out on a flight to Moscow. He was taken first to a Russian hospital and then to Germany, where he was treated at the Berlin Charité. Several laboratories have detected the internationally banned war agent Novichok. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) paid tribute to Navalny’s courage in a video message posted on the anniversary of the attack.