Kremlin critic Navalny could suffer cardiac arrest 'any minute'

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (Mladen Antonov, AFP)
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (Mladen Antonov, AFP)
  • Doctors have warned that Alexei Navalny's health has rapidly deteriorated.
  • Navalny's went on a hunger strike on 31 March to demand proper medical treatment.
  • He is currently serving two and a half years on embezzlement charges in Moscow.


Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny risks cardiac arrest "any minute" as his health has rapidly deteriorated, doctors warned Saturday, urging immediate access to Russia's most famous prisoner.

On 31 March, President Vladimir Putin's most prominent opponent - who was imprisoned in February - went on hunger strike to demand proper medical treatment for back pain and numbness in his legs and hands.

Navalny is serving two and a half years on old embezzlement charges in a penal colony in the town of Pokrov around 100 kilometres east of Moscow.

Navalny's personal doctor Anastasia Vasilyeva and three more doctors, including a cardiologist, have asked prison officials to grant them immediate access.

Their letter to the head of Russia's Federal Prison Service was posted on Vasilyeva's Twitter account on Saturday.

A statement on her Twitter account said his potassium had reached "critical levels".

"This means both impaired renal function and that serious heart rhythm problems can happen any minute," it added.

Having blood potassium levels higher than 6.0 mmol (millimole) per litre usually requires immediate treatment. Navalny's were at 7.1, the statement said.

In the letter to the prisons chief, the doctors said Navalny, who was critically ill after a poisoning with the Novichok nerve agent, could suffer "cardiac arrest".

They said he had to be examined immediately "taking into account the blood tests and his recent poisoning".

More than 70 prominent international writers, artists and academics, including Jude Law, Vanessa Redgrave and Benedict Cumberbatch, have called on Putin to ensure that Navalny receives proper treatment immediately.

Their appeal was published late Friday by France's Le Monde newspaper.

Earlier this week, Navalny's wife Yulia, who visited him in the prison colony, said her husband now weighed 76 kilograms - down nine kilograms since starting his hunger strike.

On Friday, Russian prosecutors asked a court to designate Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation and the network of his regional offices as "extremist" in a move that would outlaw them in Russia and could result in jail time for their members.


Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Is social media doing more harm than good?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, our children are exposed and we can't protect them
49% - 4148 votes
Yes, but social media is part of the new reality
46% - 3837 votes
No, it's great for growing a child's world view
5% - 414 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.05
0.0%
GBP/ZAR
19.67
0.0%
EUR/ZAR
17.10
0.0%
AUD/ZAR
11.03
0.0%
JPY/ZAR
0.13
0.0%
Gold
1,831.32
0.0%
Silver
27.45
0.0%
Palladium
2,929.64
0.0%
Platinum
1,256.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
68.28
+0.3%
Top 40
62,573
+1.4%
All Share
68,520
+1.4%
Resource 10
71,474
+2.1%
Industrial 25
86,856
+0.9%
Financial 15
12,711
+1.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo