Ukrainian Investigators Suspect Russians in Sheremet Murder; Navalny Sentenced, Out of Presidential Race

February 8, 2017
Alexey Navalny, opposition leader handed 5-year suspended sentence widely believed to be fabricated in retaliation for his anti-corruption exposes. Photo by Alexei Kudenko/RIA Novosti

LIVE UPDATES: Opposition leader Alexey Navalny is now prevented from running for president due to a re-sentencing to 5 years suspended in the Kirovles case. Parnas party chair Mikhail Kasyanov may run as the opposition’s united candidate.

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Medical Condition Improves of Russian Opposition Journalist Kara-Murza, Jr.; US Congressional Support

Vadim Prokhorov, the lawyer of opposition journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr., has issued the latest medical bulletin (translated by The Interpreter):

On the Improvement of the Health Condition of Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr. as of February 8, 2017 (18:00 Moscow time)


Today, finally for the first time we can confidently speak of a certain improvement in the condition of Vladimir Kara-Murza’s health!

He has come out of the coma and has even begun to communicate with his beloved wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, who has been by his side every day.

To be sure, he cannot yet talk but he quite consciously communicates with a blink of his eyes.

His heart function has almost been fully restored, the kidney dialysis has now been shut off, and for several periods of time, Volodya [Vladimir] is able to make do without the artificial ventilation of his lungs, although the ventilator is not totally turned off yet.

Meanwhile, I would like to warn you of excessive, premature optimism — his condition continues to remain serious.

Great work by the doctors still lies ahead, and also the friends and family of Volodya, to restore his health.

I wish him and everyone success!

Evgeniyia Kara-Murza, Jr. told the BBC in an interview that she believes her husband was poisoned.

He was hospitalized February 2 with symptoms similar to those of his poisoning in 2015, a fact confirmed by law-enforcers.

Doctors have given him a diagnosis of “poisoning with an unknown toxic substance”.

Kara-Murza, who worked for Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia as a program manager, had returned from Tula, where he had organized a showing of a film about his slain friend opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, when he was suddenly taken ill.

He has received an outpouring of sympathy from around the world, with many perceiving him as the latest victim of President Vladimir Putin’s ruthless campaign against his critics.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), just appointed as the head of the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) issued a statement of support today:

“In today’s Russia, there is a disturbing trend of violence that targets members of the political opposition. I am particularly concerned about Vladimir Kara-Murza, who is fighting for his life in a Moscow hospital after being poisoned.  Mr. Kara-Murza has appeared at multiple Helsinki Commission events and is a tireless advocate for restoring democratic freedoms to the Russian people. The United States should have no illusions about the nature of the Russian regime.”

As CSCE noted, Kara-Murza has long had a relationship with CSCE, as he first appeared in 2011, then testified again in June 2015, and briefed Commission staff before the 2016 Russian parliamentary elections.

In late April 2015, Kara-Murza and Mikhail Kasyanov, leader of the opposition Parnas party, presented a list of eight names to the US Congress of Russian state TV presenters and journalists who had created an amtosphere of hatred and violence around Boris Nemtsov in the months leading up to his murder by claiming he was a “fifth columnist,” “traitor” and “enemy of Russia”. A month later on May 18, 2015, Kara-Murza fell ill from suspected poisoning after returning from Kazan where he had organized an Open Russia lecture.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD ), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also issued a statement in Kara-Murza’s support:

“I was alarmed to see reports that Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza was taken to the hospital today. His symptoms appear to be similar to those that he experienced two years ago when he was poisoned and fell into a coma. We do not know the details on the cause for this most recent health issue, but it appears to be part of an alarming trend where Russian political opposition are targeted for their work.  Vladimir is a courageous advocate for the democratic process and fundamental universal human rights.  His hospitalization is a test for the Trump administration.  I strongly urge the President and Secretary Rex Tillerson speak out on his behalf and stand up for the principles that we have always championed as a country.  Vladimir and his family are in my thoughts and prayers and I hope that he recovers quickly so he can return to his critically important work.”

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

Ukrainian Investigators Suspect Russians in Sheremet Murder; Navalny Sentenced, Out of Presidential Race

The ruble is trading at 59.26 to the dollar and 63.32 to the euro. Brent crude is selling for $55.22 per barrel.

The following news items were taken from Gazeta, RBC, Caucasian Knot, Vedomosti and Grani.

– Shoot-out in Moscow with Gunfire; Gunmen Escape

What We’re Reading

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick