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Was Navalny’s ‘murder’ a gift for one of Putin’s cronies? Independent Russian media claims Russian despot sanctioned poisoning to celebrate his university classmate Alexander Bastrykin’s 70th birthday


Vladimir Putin sanctioned the killing of Alexei Navalny ‘as a birthday gift for Russia‘s top criminal investigator’, a leading independent media outlet claimed today.

The Russian President was alleged to have sanctioned the murder of the prominent Russian opposition leader, 47, for university classmate Alexander Bastrykin, according to the respected independent SOTA media outlet.

The outlet claimed Navalny was gradually poisoned after Putin gave the personal go-ahead as a ‘gift’ for Bastrykin’s 70th birthday on 27 August 2023. In the event, Navalny died almost six months later.

Bastrykin, long time head of the Russian Investigative Committee, seen by some as an equivalent of the FBI, had a ‘personal grudge’ against Navalny, according to respected independent SOTA media outlet.

The Kremlin has denied involvement in Navalny’s death and today claimed he had died from ‘sudden death syndrome’ after returning from a walk at the penal colony where he was held in Kharp, Russia. 

Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia Navalnaya pose for a picture together in September 2020

Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia Navalnaya pose for a picture together in September 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles on Friday as he visits a forge in Chelyabinsk, Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles on Friday as he visits a forge in Chelyabinsk, Russia

Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin, pictured in Moscow in June 2023

Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin, pictured in Moscow in June 2023

SOTA claimed that after Navalny’s arrest, ‘Bastrykin sought Putin’s sanction to kill Navalny in the [penal] colony, eventually enlisting the support of the head of the Federal Penitentiary Service, Arkady Gostev’.

Bastrykin had for years hounded Navalny with bogus prosecutions, according to Western governments and independent analysts.

He also opened criminal cases against Navalny’s lawyers, seen as politically motivated by the Russian opposition.

‘In August 2023, Vladimir Putin gave permission for the slow poisoning of Alexei Navalny as a ‘gift’ for Bastrykin’s 70th birthday,’ reported SOTA without providing evidence.

‘According to the original plan, it was assumed that the politician would die from cardiovascular problems before the end of 2023. But death occurred only on February 16.’

SOTA reported that Navalny had expressed concern to his team that ‘in his opinion, he was receiving some kind of poison’.

‘According to the biochemist with whom SOTA spoke, if the information about the blood clot from which Navalny died is correct, we could be talking about any coagulant substance, which, given the lack of water in the [penal] colony and the torture regime of detention, inevitably led to thickening of the blood and, as a result, death,’ reported the independent news outlet. 

Navalny was moved to the remote penal colony some 1,200 miles northeast of Moscow, where temperatures can reach -30C, only a few weeks ago, in December.

His team raised concerns they had not been in contact with him for weeks – and did not know where he was – until he broke his silence on Boxing Day last year. 

‘Don’t worry about me. I’m fine. I’m totally relieved that I’ve finally made it,’ Navalny wrote on X. ‘I’m still in a good mood, as befits a Santa Claus,’ referring to his winter clothing and beard, grown out after nearly three weeks in transit. 

The anti-corruption campaigner was last seen via video link during a court hearing on Thursday.

Dressed in black prison uniform, he appeared to be in good spirits – his trademark humour back on show.

‘Your Honour, I will send you my personal account number so that you can use your huge salary as a federal judge to ”warm up” my personal account, because I am running out of money,’ he said.

State media reported he raised no health complaints during the session.

His mother said she had seen her son in the prison colony on Monday. At the time, she said: ‘He was alive, healthy, cheerful.’

Navalny gained international attention in 2020 when he was found to have been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent while returning from investigating corruption in Siberia.

The Kremlin denied any involvement, but the US, UK and EU slapped Russian officials with sanctions at the time.

Navalny eventually recovered thanks to German doctors after Putin permitted the ailing politician ton be flown to the West.

Despite the assassination bid, Navalny voluntarily returned to Russia – where he was immediately jailed – even though he could have remained safe in the West.

Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and lawyer Vasily Dubkov arrive at the regional department of Russia's Investigative Committee in the town of Salekhard in the Yamal-Nenets Region, Russia February 17, 2024

Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and lawyer Vasily Dubkov arrive at the regional department of Russia’s Investigative Committee in the town of Salekhard in the Yamal-Nenets Region, Russia February 17, 2024

Navalny appears via a video link from the Arctic penal colony where he was found dead, on January 11, 2024

Navalny appears via a video link from the Arctic penal colony where he was found dead, on January 11, 2024

The IK-3 penal colony in Kharp where Navalny was reported dead after collapsing on Friday

The IK-3 penal colony in Kharp where Navalny was reported dead after collapsing on Friday 



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