Alexei Navalny is the most prominent Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption activist in today’s Russia. On August 20, 2020, Navalny was hospitalized and left in critical condition after he was poisoned with a Novichok agent in Russia. Two days later, he was transported by medical evacuation flight to Berlin, where he is still undergoing treatment. Worldwide, numerous politicians have accused Russia of poisoning Navalny, calling on the Russian government for an explanation and full investigation. Since it became clear that he was poisoned with Novichok, German-Russian relations have reached a new low. Even Chancellor Angel Merkel indicated that in response to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, Nordstream 2 may not be completed.
The poisoning of Navalny raises a series of questions: Who is Alexei Navalny, and what makes him so dangerous for the Putin regime? And is the Kremlin behind this attack, as it was in 2018, when Sergei Skripal and his daughter were also poisoned with a Novichok agent in the UK? If so, what would the Kremlin gain from these intimidations, and what might be the motive behind the attack? How should Germany, the EU and the US react?