Russian star Yuri Dud’s interview with Navalnys last week was full of details about the life of the family of Russia’s most famous opposition figure and how it feels to be poisoned with Novichok.
But the interview did not reach everyone who might be interested, as it was almost two and a half hours in Russian.
In the interview, Alexei Navalny recounts the moments before he succumbed to poisoning. He had just finished what he considered a successful documentary on corruption in several Siberian cities before the local elections.
He looked forward to relaxing on the plane for at least three hours, during which no one could disturb him. He even planned a break from the animated science fiction series “Rick and Morty.”
Navalny said that being poisoned with Novichok is not painful, a bit creates a horrible, indefinable feeling, as if you go in and out to meet your producer.
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He has since credited his wife for spending it through this episode, with a colorful Instagram post about what love is, written shortly after waking up from his long coma.
Julia Navalnaya (Navalnaya is the female form of Navalny in Russian) was not only with him throughout his coma, but she conducted it to spiritualize him outside of Russia.
But before that, she learned in the early hours of August 20 that her husband had been poisoned.
Navalny’s 20-year-old wife was used to receiving bad news calls, but this one was different.
She was about to pick him up at the airport when she returned from Siberia this morning. Instead, she ran to the airport to fly to Omsk, where her husband’s plane had crashed.
“The worst thing,” Navalnaya told Yuri Dud, “is to get on a plane and know it’s a four-hour flight, and during that time you’ll be blocked from receiving any information.”
One of Navalny’s associates, Ivan Zhdanov, was flying with her, and Navalnaya said that although she was not a talkative person, she had talked to Zhdanov throughout the flight – probably revealing all sorts of family secrets in the process out of fear.
She said she watched Zhdanov’s expression as he scrolled through his messages when they landed and let him pass on any news.
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At the hospital, “it was horrible to see Alexei and find out that the situation was worse than I expected,” she said. “And to see the fear of the doctors, worried about what they were telling me. I just kept thinking, ‘I have to get it out because they won’t tell me the truth.’
She believes that the combination of Western pressure, the press and the letter she wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin has created the perfect storm to influence her husband’s release. In an interview with Dood, she and Navalny play with each other with shared humor and irony about Julia’s trip with her husband in a box labeled “Biohazard.”
Jokingly aside, Dood asked her how she lived with her husband, who was constantly arrested, threatened and under surveillance. Do you ever ask him to take a break?
“Everyone always wants to hear me say this or hint at it, but no, I support what they do. I say it sincerely. It’s not just beautiful words.”
Navalnaya said she would be disappointed if her husband stopped fighting to make Russia a better place.
She studied international relations and worked in a bank after graduation, but eventually gave up her career after marrying Navalny, realizing that his life would be intense and political.
They have two children, a teenage boy, Zahar, and a daughter, Dasha, who is studying at Stanford University. Navalnaya said that they never really thought much about trying to take Dasha to the best school, but in the end they interacted with so many people who were preparing their own children for greatness that they started pushing their daughter.
Navalny said they did not intend to send her abroad, but simply wanted the best for her. He could be in Hong Kong or even Tomsk, but he said that unfortunately Russian universities do not rank in the highest echelon in the world.
Dasha Navalnaya is on a scholarship and her parents told her that they were paying her on board. Navalny makes a salary of about $ 70,000 from a businessman named Boris Zimin, who lives outside Russia and pays him for legal services. Navalny is a trained lawyer.
But he said Zimin largely supported his activism, without any connections, and also settled the bill for flights to Germany for treatment. Navalny insists that at least it is transparent and will continue to be.
He has to pay the medical bill in Germany, but does not have the money. Russia has frozen his accounts and he promises to be fully in charge of who will help him get Charite Hospital back.
“Do you know where Putin’s wealth comes from? He won’t even confirm the names of his daughters,” Navalny added.
Navalnaya shares her husband’s views, and he even suggests that she may be more radical, perhaps because she watched the treatment he received from the state.
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Navalnaya, as her husband, is eager to return to Russia.
“I’m not afraid to go back to Russia,” she told Dood. “We will absolutely return to Russia. The only thing I told Alexei was to be completely healed first. We don’t know what awaits us in Russia. If you are not completely healed, you may not be saved next time.”