There’s finally been some good news for Russian dissident and Putin critic Alexei Navalny. Or at least some not quite as horrible news, anyway. As you may recall, Navalny was being kept in a medically induced coma while recovering from being poisoned at an airport in Siberia a couple of weeks ago. When he finally arrived at a hospital in Germany, his doctors were guarded in their prognosis, warning that he could still have a long road to an uncertain level of recovery, assuming he survived. Well, he’s now been brought out of the coma and is slowing being weaned off of the respirator they’ve had him on. He’s also reportedly responding to the presence of visitors, so where there’s life there remains hope. (WaPo)
Alexei Navalny, who was poisoned last month with a nerve agent similar to the Soviet-era chemical weapon Novichok, was brought out of an induced coma, and his condition has improved, German doctors said Monday.
A statement from the Charité clinic in Berlin said he was responding to voices, but it was too early to know the long-term impact of the poisoning.
The clinic’s statement said that Navalny, an acerbic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was being weaned off a ventilator.
“Responding to voices” is certainly better than he was a few days ago, but it’s also not a ringing endorsement of his condition. Various medical experts have been weighing in on this and they all seem to be urging as much caution as the German doctors. As we learned only a few days ago, the poison used on Navalny has been identified as a Russian toxin that’s a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group. That particular flavor of nerve agents is known to have lasting detrimental impacts on the nervous systems of those afflicted by it. Even if Navalny is going to manage anything close to a full recovery he will likely have a long road ahead of him.