op_navalny1_MAXIM ZMEYEVAFP via Getty Images_alexei navalny Maxim Zmeyev/AFP via Getty Images

Insider Interview

The Novichok Archipelago

On the mend in Berlin from a nerve-agent attack in August, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks with Tikhon Dzyadko of Dozhd TV about his plans for the future. While he is not holding his breath for a proper investigation into the assassination attempt, he is eager to return to Russia to continue confronting the regime.

BERLIN/MOSCOW – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is the head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation in Moscow. In August, he was transported from Siberia to Berlin for treatment of a severe illness that doctors and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons later confirmed was caused by the nerve agent Novichok. Now in recovery, Navalny recently spoke with Tikhon Dzyadko, the editor-in-chief of Dozhd TV (TV Rain), Russia’s only remaining independent broadcast network.

What the West Could Do

Tikhon Dzyadko: The European Union recently voted to sanction six Russian citizens and one entity in connection with your poisoning in August. Those affected are representatives of the presidential administration, the special services, and the institutions where it is believed that Novichok was created. Do you think these sanctions are sufficient?

Alexei Navalny: I am primarily interested in what happens in Russia; Europe’s reaction is of secondary concern here. I understand that the indignation in many countries is not entirely connected to me. They are more concerned with the use of a chemical weapon. Nobody likes chemical weapons. What I want is an investigation conducted on Russian territory – or at least the semblance of an investigation. Because what is happening now seems to be another signal that no one can count on any justice in our country.

As for sanctions or blacklists, my position has always been that if developed countries want to help Russia and its citizens and themselves, they should put a roadblock in the path of dirty money leaving Russia. You do not need those six people – those people who invented Novichok or used it as a weapon – to block this flow of money that is stolen from our citizens.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.



Register for FREE to access two premium articles per month.