3 September 2020
Pictured: Valery Borshchev, co-chair of Moscow Helsinki Group
There is growing outrage around the world caused by the poisoning of the Russian opposition politician, Aleksei Navalny, by a nerve agent similar to Novichok. The poisoning of the oppositionist was reported yesterday (2nd September 2020) by the German authorities as an irrefutable fact, based on the evidence of the investigation conducted by German experts.
The White House has expressed its indignation at the incident. On 2nd September U.S. National Security Council spokesman, John Ullyot, stated that the United States had no reason to doubt the German government’s conclusions. He promised that those involved in this high-profile crime would be punished. “We will work with the international community to hold these people accountable,” Ullyot said.
“In Germany, at the official level, there was talk about the possibility of new sanctions against Russia, not ruling out the fact that these sanctions will directly affect Nord Stream-2.”
The Russian authorities deny any involvement in the crime and do not wish to investigate it.”
In a commentary for Voice of America’s Russian Service, the co-chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group Valery Borshchev stressed that what happened proves that those in the Kremlin are not afraid of anything, including international condemnation and economic sanctions. At the same time, in Borshchev’s opinion, they are fixed on one goal: the preservation of their power.
The human rights activist said, “That’s why they show a willingness to do anything, including the physical destruction of dissenters. Now it has become even more apparent. Of course, this stifles civil society. Now we will have to think how we can act and respond to this.”
Borshchev stated, “Today, those who hold democratic and independent opinions and are willing to defend their point of view will feel in even greater danger than before.”
He explained “Almost anybody could be poisoned. All this shows is the intolerable audacity and provocative behaviour of the authorities, who in addition, refuse to initiate a criminal investigation regarding the attempt on the life of Navalny. Now they will start playing their favourite game: ‘prove you are not a camel’…”
Valery Borshchev suggests that the poisoning of Navalny is most probably related to events taking place in Belarus and Khabarovsk.
The co-chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group summed up: “The Kremlin has sensed that the population is waking up after a long hibernation. Navalny is one of the most active organizers of protest actions. He was a danger to the authorities. Of course, they are well aware of the fact that the elections to the State Duma will be held next year. Navalny could have stood as a candidate because his suspended sentence would be coming to its end. And having an oppositionist in the parliament is the Kremlin’s worst nightmare.”
Translated by Graham Jones