Prominent Putin critic poisoned with unknown substance, say doctors

Vladimir Kara-MurzaA prominent member of the Russian opposition and vocal critic of the Kremlin, is fighting for his life in a Moscow hospital as a result of “acute poisoning from an undefined substance”, according to his doctors. Vladimir Kara-Murza, 35, is a senior figure in the Open Russia Foundation, a political pressure group founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky, an ultra-wealthy Russian businessman who was once estimated to be worth over $15 billion, has been living in Switzerland since 2013. Immediately prior to that, he served a 10-year prison sentence in Russia for tax evasion. In 2013, Kara-Murza was a member of a network of Putin critics who helped organize opposition protests in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. He also co-authored a number of reports accusing the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin of corruption.

For several years now, Kara-Murza, his wife and three young children have been living in the United States. But he frequently travels back to Russia to meet with opposition activists and other organizers. For the past few weeks, Kara-Murza had been traveling in his homeland to help launch a new documentary film about the life and death of scientist and opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. Nemtsov served as Russia’s deputy prime minister for a few months in 1998, under Russian President Boris Yeltsin. After 2000, he became a vocal critic of the Putin administration. In late February 2015, Nemtsov was shot four times in the back and killed while walking with his girlfriend near Moscow’s Red Square. Opposition groups, including members of the Open Russia Foundation, claim that his murder was organized by the Kremlin.

Kara-Murza’s wife, Yevgeniya, said yesterday that her husband woke up suddenly in the early hours of last Thursday, finding it difficult to breathe. He was rushed to a Moscow hospital where he has been under a medically induced coma since Tuesday. His family said that, while visiting Russia in 2015, Kara-Murza was hospitalized with similar symptoms, and was diagnosed with “kidney failure in connection with poisoning”. He later claimed that he survived an attempt on his life by people in power who wanted to silence him. This time, said Kara-Murza’s wife, the family has sent blood samples to specialists in Israel and France, hoping that the poison that is allegedly inside his body can be identified.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 08 February 2017 | Permalink

One Response to Prominent Putin critic poisoned with unknown substance, say doctors

  1. Jones says:

    Today, Russia faces generational changes in population – i.e., (23-38 + age group) who do not necessarily hold with reverence the “Old Soviet Union” era struggles and glory days as their parents. The younger generation view the world much differently.

    Other problems slowly eroding current “Putin centric system” are due to increased ethnic tensions – difficult to control. In addition, the diversity of 85 different regional divisions in Russia only adds to difficulty to control territory.

    Several key political and economic dissident figures have been silence or murdered presumably by State sanctioned orders at highest levels. High profile cases attempting to silence dissidents are efforts by State apparatus to maintain control over a “Putin centric system” which is set to eventually collapse.

    Putin has been in power for 17 years and the question becomes, what is Putin’s succession plan? Through a series of skilled political maneuvers Putin has made Russia totally dependent on his leader role and; has become by default the “new system”.

    The economic and political elites understand their fortunes are tied to Putin being threaten by both internal and external factors – as mentioned above – they cannot control indefinitely. When a regime feels threaten perceived dissident and activists groups usually take the brunt of attacks. Vladimir Kara-Murza, is one more unfortunate casualty.

    The political elites are more dangerous than military in sense they are much more cunning.

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