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Screening this week: Navalny

The news came as no surprise, but nevertheless the shock was great: on Friday February 16, it was announced that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny had died, the man who had been imprisoned in various penal colonies for years. According to the official statement, he became unwell during a walk and died afterwards. No one takes this explanation very seriously, especially since he was seen alive and well a day earlier.


That the news did not come as a surprise will be clear to anyone who sees this 2022 documentary by Daniel Roher. The story begins in 2020 when a plane from Siberia to Moscow has to make an emergency landing because one of the passengers on board was ill. This was Navalny, who, became clear later, had been poisoned with the nerve agent novichok. Of course, President Putin denied any involvement in this attack. Once recovered, Navalny teamed up with Bellingcat to find evidence of Kremlin involvement. If it hadn’t happen in real life, this could have been an exciting spy thriller, but the film must now unfortunately be seen as the prelude to the death of a brave man.