Navalny: seriously ill and on hunger strike

Putin critic Alexei Navalny has gone on a hunger strike to protest the prison authorities' refusal to give him access to adequate medical treatment. His health has further deteriorated; according to his own statements and those of people around him, he now has a severe cough and fever as well as numbness in his hands and legs. Commentators see the regime critic in acute danger.

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Ekho Moskvy (RU) /

Better to live outside Russia than to perish in it

The West must save Navalny before it's too late, investment banker Andrey Movchan urges on Echo of Moscow:

“Alexei must be gotten out of there as quickly as possible. Protest marches and rallies will achieve just as little as angry Facebook posts. And Western sanctions are nothing more than a nuisance. Rather than publicly calling on world leaders to go on baiting the Russian bear, they should firmly (but unofficially) try to trade Navalny for something the Kremlin wants and which they can easily give. ... The point now is not to stick to principles at Navalny's expense, but to get him out of there alive. Even if you don't feel sorry for him (and I do!), believe me, he will be a thousand times more useful alive outside Russia than dead in Russia.”

Polityka (PL) /

Death or loss of face

Moscow is deliberately using Navalny's life as a gambling chip, comments Polityka:

“The Kremlin is pursuing a strategy that doesn't allow any backward steps and seems to be waiting for Navalny to lose his life 'from natural causes'. It is offering to let Navalny keep his life provided he allows himself to be broken and accepts the offer made to him in Germany. It will be satisfied if he accepts a one-way ticket to Berlin and becomes a prominent opposition figure abroad. In other words, he loses face and lets himself be defeated by the system. If he refuses, other options come into play: starvation, tuberculosis (which is already rampant on his ward), Covid (his last test was negative), Aids (one of the most common causes of death among prisoners), or suicide.”