MOSCOW – On Monday, Russian authorities in prison transferred seriously ill opposition leader Alexei A. Navalny to a hospital for what was described as vitamin treatment.
Russia’s penitentiary system issued a statement saying a commission of state doctors had decided on the move by Mr Navalny, who has been on hunger strike for nearly three weeks. Mr Navalny’s GPs say he suffers from a number of severe symptoms, which they call life-threatening.
There was no immediate response from Mr Navalny’s political allies or GPs on the recommendation for vitamin treatment. Over the weekend, they said Mr Navalny̵
His potassium levels were elevated and tests showed other signs of possible kidney disease, his doctors said. But hunger is just one of the problems in his deteriorating health. Mr Navalny’s lawyers say he may also suffer from the prolonged effects of near-fatal military nerve agent poisoning last summer.
Mr Navalny was treated in Germany after the apparent poisoning, but on his return to Russia he was arrested on parole for believing that he and his allies had been fired as politically motivated. He is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence.
The governments of the United States and Europe have issued statements calling for adequate treatment of Mr Navalny, and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has said the Russian government will face “consequences if Mr Navalny dies”.
Moving to a hospital in a high-security prison east of Moscow could mean a worsening of Mr Navalny’s condition. But a statement from prison authorities suggests that the goal is closer medical supervision. “Currently, A. Navalny’s health is assessed as satisfactory,” the statement said. He added that he was being monitored daily by a doctor and that he had agreed to start a course of ‘vitamin therapy’.