(Bloomberg) — Anti-Kremlin campaigner Alexey Navalny’s team published his latest video investigation, targeting the ruling United Russia party, as their leader remains hospitalized in an induced coma following a suspected poisoning.
The video, which gained half a million views on YouTube within hours, was shot during Navalny’s visit to Siberia this month shortly before he became violently ill on an Aug. 20 flight from the city of Tomsk to Moscow. Highlighting allegations of corruption against a local property developer and politician in Novosibirsk, the country’s third-largest city, Navalny urged people to vote against United Russia in regional elections in September.
The 44-year-old opposition leader appealed to voters to join his “smart voting” initiative that encourages people to support the politician in each area with the best chance of defeating the Kremlin’s favored candidate from United Russia. The tactic was used with some success in last year’s Moscow city council elections after critics of President Vladimir Putin had been kept off the ballot.
Navalny is in serious but stable condition, according to officials at Berlin’s Charite hospital, where he was taken after being flown to Germany on Aug. 22 for treatment following a demand from his family for Russian doctors to release him.
While doctors in Germany concluded that Navalny was poisoned, Russia has hesitated to investigate the case. Despite pressure from European leaders for an inquiry, the Kremlin asserted there was no firm evidence of any toxin in his body.
The apparent attack on Navalny is the most severe example of increasing risks being faced by the president’s opponents. Late Sunday, Yegor Zhukov, a libertarian blogger and Putin critic, was beaten by two unidentified men outside of his Moscow home.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the assault was being investigated and that he hoped the perpetrators would be found and punished.
Navalny’s lead investigator Georgy Alburov said on Twitter that he and a film crew were attacked Monday while on assignment in Tatarstan by men on four-wheeler bikes, and that police and officials from the Investigative Committee then confiscated all of their equipment.
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