Navalni returns to Russia: this was the agitated flight of a calm man

Euronews has accompanied Aléxei Navalni on his return to Russia five months after he was rushed and in a coma to a Berlin hospital after being poisoned.

The famous blogger and opponent traveled with his wife Yulia. They were the last passengers to board the flight to Moscow. The machine was full of journalists and it was difficult for him to get to his seat. How do you feel? They asked him.

“I feel like a Russian citizen who has every right to return home. I have a lucky row, number 13,” he said wryly.

Fully recovered from the chemical agent novichok poisoning he suffered in August, the famous Russian blogger and opponent did not give interviews.

During the flight, many supporters approached him and asked him to take a selfie with them on the plane. Navalny entertained himself by watching cartoons with his wife and seemed quite relaxed.

Euronews journalist Galina Polonskaya’s seatmate offered Navalny a chocolate bear that she had bought especially for him.

Navalni gladly accepted it and joked:

“A poisoned bear … I’m kidding,” he said looking towards the young woman who gave it to him. Everyone knew that he was referring to the poisoning he suffered in August precisely during a flight from Siberia to Moscow.

– “His research, everything he does is good for our country,” the generous activist explained to us later.

The flight was very uneventful, but with about 20 minutes to go before landing, the captain announced that the plane could not land in Moscow for technical reasons. Navalni apologized to everyone for what just happened. He assumed that the Russian authorities had decided to divert him to another airport where there were not hundreds of people waiting for him.

The plane finally landed at another airport in the capital, far from the eyes of the press who were waiting impatiently for it. After disembarking, the opposition leader said he was happy to return home and never contemplated not doing so despite threats of arrest from President Putin.

“I am not afraid. I go to passport control with an absolutely normal feeling, I will go out and go home, because I know that I am right. I know that all criminal cases against me are fabricated. Not only is the truth on my side, but that the court, in fact, is going to put me in jail for a case in which a European court ruled in my favor, “he explained to the journalists who had accompanied him on the way.

Minutes later, Alexéi Navalny was arrested at passport control. The agents did not provide explanations as to why they did so, nor did they allow Navalni’s lawyer to accompany him. His wife Yulia was left alone, although she was received by a crowd of supporters and followers. As they explained, they had gone to this and other airports in the Russian capital because they assumed that the flight could be diverted at the last minute, as it happened. Although all condemned the arrest, none seemed surprised by the final outcome.