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Alexei Navalny leaves hospital in Berlin

September 23, 2020

Berlin's Charite hospital has said that the Russian opposition leader has been discharged and that a complete recovery is possible. Several lab results confirm Navalny had been poisoned with a powerful nerve agent.

Alexei Navalny
Image: Alexey Navalny/Instagram

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was discharged from Berlin's Charite hospital on Tuesday after 32 days of treatment for "severe poisoning," the hospital said in a statement released Wednesday.

"Based on the patient's progress and current condition, the treating physicians believe that complete recovery is possible. However, it remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects," the statement said. 

Navalny will remain in Germany for the time being to continue treatment, spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter. 

"His treatment is not over," Yarmysh said, adding that doctors were hopeful for "a full recovery."

Navalny shared a picture of himself on a park bench after his discharge, and said he plans to undergo physical therapy every day at a rehabilitation center to fully regain his motor skills, including the full use of his left hand.


An Instagram post shared by Alexei Navalny shows him on a park bench after his release from a Berlin hospital
An Instagram post shared by Alexei Navalny shows him on a park bench after his release from a Berlin hospitalImage: Instagram/navalny

Navalny 'free to return' to Russia 

"Whatever he does will create a political fallout between Germany and Russia, and the EU and Russia," said DW's chief political correspondent Michaela Küfner.

The Kremlin said Wednesday it was pleased to learn that Navalny was making a recovery, adding he was "free to return to Russia like any other citizen," according to Russia's TASS news agency. 

Navalny, the foremost political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was airlifted to the German capital on August 20 after he fell ill in Siberia.

Last week, Germany, France and Sweden said separate laboratory tests all confirmed that Navalny had been poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok. 

The German government has indicated it has "unequivocal proof" that Navalny was poisoned. 

Three weeks in a coma

Charite said that 44-year-old Navalny spent 24 days in intensive care, during which he was kept in a medically induced coma and treated with an antidote. 

On Saturday, Navalny posted a picture of himself walking down stairs at the hospital and credited doctors for his recovery. 

"There are many problems yet to be solved but amazing doctors from the Charite hospital have solved the main one," he said on Instagram. 

The hospital said the decision to release details of Navalny's condition was made "in consultation with the patient and his wife."

Read moreNavalny poisoning: German foreign minister threatens sanctions

Germany wants answers 

The Navalny case has upset relations between Berlin and Moscow, as the German government is demanding an explanation from Russian authorities on how the opposition leader was poisoned. 

"Instead of making clear what happened and to cooperate in an investigation, we are seeing the old scheme of misleading information, of counter accusations," German Minister of State Niels Annen told DW last week. 

Read moreNavalny, Novichok and Nord Stream 2 — Germany stuck between a rock and a pipeline

Russia responds to 'hostile steps'

Russia said on Wednesday it would ban more European officials from entering the country.

A foreign ministry statement referred to "hostile steps" taken against Russia and its citizens, without providing further details.

It said Moscow had drawn up "a reciprocal list of representatives of EU countries and institutions who are banned from entering Russian territory."

The Russian government is still to provide the names of the people affected by the measures.

Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blamed the West for "unleashing a massive disinformation campaign" over Navalny's hospitalization.


Poison just one method used to attack Kremlin critics

Wesley Rahn Editor and reporter focusing on geopolitics and Asia