‘They’ll kill him!’ Incredible moment Navalny tricks his own assassin into betraying Putin

BBC documentary Navalny follows the leader of the Russian opposition to Putin, Alexei Navalny, as he recovers from an attempt on his life. Mr Navalny was travelling from Siberia to Moscow in August 2020 when he was taken seriously ill. The crew made an emergency landing, and in doing so saved his life, after it later emerged that he had been poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent that has been linked to other attacks on Putin’s enemies.

It was the same agent used in the 2018 Salisbury poisonings against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Putin has denied any involvement in the poisoning and even refuses to say Mr Navalny’s name in public, referring to him only as “that gentleman”, “a certain character”, or “the Berlin patient”.

In the documentary, Mr Navalny and his team investigate the plot against him and find evidence of the Kremlin’s involvement.

In one crucial scene, the team call up various members of the FSB who are suspected to have been involved.

Mr Navalny directly asked the suspects: “Why did you try to kill me?”

However, this is repeatedly met with a rejection of the call.

The team then tried a different approach in which Mr Navalny pretends to be an FSB aide looking into the failed assassination attempt and asking what went wrong.

Eventually, the team get hold of a scientist involved, who appears to then spill the beans on the entire operation.

The man said: “We did it just as planned the way we rehearsed it many times.

“But there are lots of unknowns and nuances.

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The team consider offering the man an opportunity to defect in order to try and protect him, highlighting just how certain they are that the despot would so easily kill one of his own.

Mr Navalny stayed in Germany for five months while he recovered from the Novichok nerve agent, and as soon as he returned to Moscow was immediately arrested for violating probation terms from a 2014 case.

Mr Navalny was sent to a penal colony and went on hunger strike to protest against not being given access to medical care.

In March, a Russian court sentenced Mr Navalny to a further nine years in a penal colony after convicting him of fraud and contempt of court.

Downing Street said the prison term was a continuation of “trumped up charges that Putin uses against those that seek to hold him to account”.