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"Are you detaining me?" Navalny flies home, and straight into trouble


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"Are you detaining me?" Navalny flies home, and straight into trouble

By Polina Ivanova

 

2021-01-17T214331Z_1_LYNXMPEH0G0HN_RTROPTP_4_RUSSIA-POLITICS-NAVALNY.JPG

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia Navalnaya walk out of a plane after arriving at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia January 17, 2021. REUTERS/Polina Ivanova

 

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Pobeda flight DP936 was a few minutes into its descent towards Moscow's Vnukovo airport, where thousands of supporters of poisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny were waiting to meet him on his return to Russia, when the flight captain said he could not land as planned.

 

There were "technical difficulties", he said, before adding, audibly amused: "Instead we will calmly make our way to Sheremetyevo airport ... where the weather is great!"

 

It was the first sign to those on board that Navalny's return from Berlin, where he had been treated since August after being attacked in Russia with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok, was not going smoothly.

 

After landing, he sat in the plane, looking out of the window onto a dark, snow-covered runaway and a handful of airport workers in fluorescent vests, holding his wife Yulia's hand in silence.

 

His lawyer, also on board, had said she did not know whether the Kremlin's most vocal and effective critic would be arrested.

 

The 44-year-old is accused of flouting the terms of a suspended sentence for embezzlement in a case that he says was trumped up but could see him jailed for 3-1/2 years.

 

He entered Terminal D with an energetic step. Stopping in front of a glowing, wall-sized panel showing the Kremlin and the Russian flag, he said he had never considered not returning.

 

Speaking to reporters, he thanked the nurses and doctors in Germany who had treated him for the effects of the toxin, from a family originally developed by the Soviet military.

 

But he said that this was, nevertheless, his best day of the past five months.

 

"This is my home," he said. "I'm not afraid."

 

'YOU'RE DETAINING ME'

Then, at border control, things took a turn for the worse.

 

Standing in the narrow corridor of the glass-panelled passport control booth, Navalny was approached by an official who asked him to step away to "clarify the circumstances" of his entry.

 

His wife and lawyer stood right by, but were already separated from him by the metal passport control gate. His lawyer asked on what grounds he was being prevented from entering, but did not receive a clear response.

 

Four police officers in black face masks came up to the booth and also demanded Navalny come with them.

 

"Are you detaining me?" Navalny asked. "You're detaining me," he said, repeatedly. In that case, he said, he would like his lawyer to join him.

 

The back-and-forth continued for around three minutes, until Navalny turned back to his wife.

 

Standing either side of the passport gate, the couple embraced, before Navalny turned around to head away with the police.

 

His wife, his lawyer and his press secretary headed towards baggage reclaim and sat down, Yulia looking calm. She asked the journalists present to give her time to gather her thoughts.

 

Then she walked out into the arrivals hall to be met by a rush of supporters who applauded and chanted: "Yulia! Yulia!" and "Russia will be free!". Some stood on the balconies above. One gave her a bouquet.

 

She was then met by Navalny's brother, Oleg, who spent three-and-a-half years in jail for the same crime that Alexei was convicted of.

 

Standing outside in the icy evening air, Yulia Navalnaya addressed the crowd: "Alexei said today that he is not afraid. I am not afraid either. And I call upon you all not to be afraid."

 

Then she left, and the crowd gradually dispersed.

 

 

Navalny himself, as far as anyone knew, remained in the airport's transit zone.

 

(Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

 

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-01-18
 
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Why did he go back?  Bit dumb wasn't it?

"Are you detaining me?" Navalny flies home, and straight into trouble By Polina Ivanova   Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia Navalnaya walk out of a plane

Yes. Very sad. I suspect that we will not see him alive again. Russia needs people like him.

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Poor guy the only thing keeping him alive is his notoriety imo as soon as things cool down Putin will have him rubbed out

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I’m sure that those who fought to save his life will be impressed with this move, he’s obviously on a suicide mission.

 

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2 hours ago, webfact said:

There were "technical difficulties", he said, before adding, audibly amused: "Instead we will calmly make our way to Sheremetyevo airport ... where the weather is great!"

What a surprise...

The guy has no chance. Putin knows how to play the game.

The media is also doing it's part. Only report what is news today.

(The media is also a business, a circus that wants to make money.)

If you wait 6 months the media is not interested in Navalny anymore.

Then he's sadly just yesterday's news together with all the other Novichok victims.

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19 minutes ago, spiekerjozef said:

What a surprise...

The guy has no chance. Putin knows how to play the game.

The media is also doing it's part. Only report what is news today.

(The media is also a business, a circus that wants to make money.)

If you wait 6 months the media is not interested in Navalny anymore.

Then he's sadly just yesterday's news together with all the other Novichok victims.

I think there is much more to this, the KGB are and have been for a long time " rubbing people out", they are very good at it and the chance of survival is 0%. A deception is going on by whom or which side? I don't know!

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