Navalny’s personal doctor has said the jailed Russian opposition leader who was rushed to hospital on Sunday might have been poisoned with an unidentified “toxic agent”.
While health officials insisted his condition was satisfactory, Anastasia Vasilyeva, the 43-year-old’s physician, said: “We cannot rule out that toxic damage to the skin and mucous membranes by an unknown chemical substance was inflicted with the help of a ‘third party’.”
After she was allowed to visit Navalny on Monday, Vasilyeva said in a separate Facebook post that the patient’s condition improved after an intense treatment with steroid medication prednisolone.
She also said that authorities wanted to discharge him later on Monday and send him back to the detention centre – the decision she opposed.
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top opponent was taken to Moscow’s hospital No 64 for what authorities described as an “allergic reaction” while serving a 30-day jail sentence for violating protest laws.
A representative of the hospital told AFP news agency on Monday that Navalny was “in a satisfactory condition”.
“His body temperature is 36.6C,” the representative said, declining to release Navalny’s precise diagnosis.
Vasilyeva, who said Navalny had a rash on his upper body, skin lesions, and discharge from his eye, called for samples of the 43-year-old’s bedsheets, skin and hair to be tested for chemicals.
Vasilyeva, who treated Navalny in 2017 when he nearly lost the sight in one eye after an attack, accused the doctors of not wanting to investigate what had caused Navalny’s illness.
They say “he simply has hives. But why are you lying?” the ophthalmologist said. “They have decided against establishing the cause of generalised oedema and rash,” she said.
Separately, Navalny’s lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, wrote on Facebook on Sunday evening that doctors did not know what was wrong with her client, but that she deemed his symptoms strange given that he had never suffered from allergies in the past.
The Putin critic is serving a 30-day jail sentence for calling a mass protest after authorities blocked prominent opposition candidates from taking part in Moscow city elections in September.
Navalny’s hospitalisation came a day after almost 1,400 people were arrested at the demonstration the opposition leader had called.