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Meduza

Independent autopsy called for as state media claim Alexei Navalny died of a ‘detached blood clot’

Independent autopsy called for as state media claim Alexei Navalny died of a ‘detached blood clot’
Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition leader, attends a hearing at the Simonovsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. (Photo: Andrey Rudakov / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Russian state media says a blood clot killed Navalny. His doctor says there’s no way of knowing without an independent autopsy.

On February 16, Russian prison officials reported that opposition politician Alexei Navalny had died in a penal colony in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Navalny’s associates have yet to independently confirm these reports. 

Navalny’s lawyer, Leonid Solovyov, said that he last visited his client on February 14 and that he was doing fine at that time. To find out more about the recent state of Navalny’s health, Meduza spoke to Alexander Polupan, one of the doctors who treated the opposition leader following his poisoning in 2020 and then continued to advise his associates on a regular basis. 

When reached by Meduza following reports of Alexei Navalny’s death on February 16, Alexander Polupan said that he had “no exclusive information” about the recent state of the opposition politician’s health. “I don’t know anything his team doesn’t know,” the doctor said. 

My fear and loathing inside a Russian prison

Earlier in the day, Russian prison authorities had reported that Navalny “felt unwell after a walk and almost immediately lost consciousness,” and then could not be resuscitated. “Emergency medical personnel confirmed the death of the convict. The cause of death is being established,” they said in a statement. Russia propaganda network RT then claimed that Navalny had died of a “detached blood clot.” 

Polupan said that he wasn’t aware of any “fundamental or critical deterioration” in Navalny’s health. He also questioned the cause of death reported by Russian state media. “Clearly, his health [was generally] poor, as would be the case with any person who is placed in such conditions. But it somehow seems to me that this is an unlikely reason for a natural death,” he told Meduza. “They could have said ‘sudden cardiac arrest’ but only an autopsy can show a thromboembolism. There are no other methods.” 

According to the doctor, Navalny did not have any underlying conditions that would put him at risk of a thromboembolism (this is the medical term for the obstruction of an artery by a dislodged blood clot). “He had problems with his spine some time ago, but they were absolutely not life-threatening, they only caused [him] discomfort,” he recalled. “He also had pneumonia a long time ago. But, I’ll repeat, he had no acute [health] problems lately.”

“He had neuropathy from the Novichok poisoning, but that’s typical for such poisoning [cases],” he added.

Asked if a blood clot could be used as a cover-up for murder, Polupan emphasized the importance of an independent autopsy. “If an honest autopsy is performed, the blood clot should be visible. A diagnosis of a thromboembolism cannot be made without the detached blood clot being found,” the doctor underscored. “But they [the Russian authorities] can do whatever they want — [they can] falsify the autopsy report and no one will be able to verify anything.” DM

First published by Meduza

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  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Does the world really want a Putin? Really?

    ANC, can you honestly look yourselves in the eye and say “Vladimir Putin, you are a good man, the kind of man we believe we should continue to partner with”?

    This brainless short sighted stupidity is literally dumbfounding. …or it’s a criminal relationship at the expense of our people.

    What is the point of even having elections when our countrymen and elected officials seem entirely unable to add 1 to 1 and make 2 …in fact we can’t even seem to find the 1.

  • Esskay Esskay says:

    Ms Pandor? Your opinion on Russian human rights?

    • drew barrimore says:

      Silence. Too busy eating taxpayer’s money. No chewing, just hoovering it up straight down the East-is-Best gullet. Careful not to swallow your Hamas scarf in the process.

  • Antony Goedhals says:

    Putin and the murderous mafia state are the biggest threat to the future of our planet – the threatened nuclear war being beyond climate change and the pollution of land and sea and air. The only difference with Putin & Co. is that Russians have a chance to rid themselves of this particular infestation of their body politic. Everything is in your hands now. The West and the World need to act decisively, too, to support Ukraine and the Russian opposition, and increase sanctions on the Russian ‘state’ and those in it who live by threat and violence, savagery and lie. And ordinary people the world over need to guard against Russian propaganda, the endless stream of Kremlin gaslighting that seeks to convince us that night is day. Long live Alexei Navalny! Viva, Alexei, Viva!!

  • David A says:

    Incredibly unfortunately, but completely unsurprising…

  • Greg Paulson says:

    Neither Timeslive nor News24 have made any mention of the Navalny story which is disturbing

  • Greg Paulson says:

    Correction it is on bews24

  • Andrew Newman says:

    Unless Navalny’s body is sent to Germany unaltered, an “independant autopsy” is a pipe dream.

  • Esskay Esskay says:

    Zapiro got it spot on! Putin killed their “Nelson Mandela” and the ANC and Govt (bleeding hearts) are silent. Speaks volumes – the Palestinian outcry is pure politicking – and bowing to other master.

  • Jerome O'Reilly says:

    And the ANC will agree with the autopsy

  • Bryan Shepstone says:

    Mr Ramaphosa, you are judged by the company you keep.

  • Ol Die says:

    Why is DM so quite about the death of Nawalny? No background article, opinion, etc. I start wondering whether Putin crownies are a sponsor of DM which requires not to report and analyse the death of Russias Nelson Mandela (cf Sapiros latest cartoon).

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