Russian Interior Ministry Wants To Question Navalny In Germany

Russia’s Interior Ministry wants to question opposition politician Aleksei Navalny in Berlin, where he is being treated after German doctors reported “unequivocal evidence” that he was poisoned with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok, contradicting their Russian counterparts who said they had found no trace of poison.

The ministry’s transportation police directorate branch in Siberia said on September 11 that with Navalny coming out of a medically induced coma earlier this week, it is preparing a request that German authorities allow its investigators to take part in questioning the 44-year-old Kremlin critic and anti-corruption campaigner.

A German government spokesman said Berlin had yet to receive an official request from Moscow on the issue.

Navalny fell ill aboard a plane en route from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow in late August and was hospitalized after the plane made an emergency landing in the city of Omsk.

He was then flown to the Charite clinic in Berlin, where German authorities said that “unequivocal evidence” indicated Navalny had been poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent, which the Kremlin has vehemently denied and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called “groundless” on September 11.

Russian human rights defenders, opposition politicians and activists, and Navalny’s relatives and associates, however, say the use of Novichok indicates that the Russian state only could be responsible for the poisoning.

Western politicians have said they also believe the poisoning was likely ordered by authorities in Russia and have urged Moscow to prove its lack of involvement.

The case has prompted international calls for Russia to carry out a transparent investigation or risk sanctions, but the country has not opened a criminal investigation, saying its medics did not find evidence of poison in tests.

In its September 11 statement, the Siberian transport police said they had been conducting “checks” into what happened and published some findings on Navalny’s activities.

According to the statement, Navalny had snacks and drinks at the Xander Hotel, Velvet restaurant, and an apartment where he held meetings with his team members in Tomsk. He also stopped at the Vienna Coffeehouse at the Tomsk airport for a tea before boarding the plane.

The statement also says that five of Navalny’s associates who were accompanying him in Tomsk have been questioned by police, while a sixth associate, Marina Pevchikh, who is a permanent resident of Britain, was not available for questioning.

Police are now working on tracking down other passengers who were aboard the plane, the statement said.

The Kremlin says Berlin has not answered its request to see the medical data that led to the declaration that Navalny had been poisoned with Novichok.

However, doctors in Omsk said earlier that they had used an antidote to nerve agents while treating Navalny and that medical personnel in the Charite clinic also used it while treating the anti-corruption campaigner.

Germany’s Defense Ministry has said the data about Navalny has been provided to the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Moscow’s UN

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W.House Stifled Reporting On Russian Election Interference

A senior US intelligence official said the White House ordered him to stop reporting on Russian election interference and highlight Chinese and Iran meddling instead, according to a whistleblower complaint revealed Wednesday.

Offering explosive evidence to support Democratic allegations that President Donald Trump has manipulated intelligence to support his reelection effort, Department of Homeland Security analyst Brian Murphy said he was told by acting DHS chief Chad Wolf that assessments on the Russian threat made Trump “look bad.”

Wolf told him the order to stifle his analyses “specifically originated from White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien,” a top Trump aide, Murphy alleged in the complaint.

Murphy, a senior official in DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, said he refused to censor his reporting on Russians and on the domestic white supremacist threat, “as doing so would put the country in substantial and specific danger.”

In retaliation, he said he was demoted last month.

The complaint, released by the Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee, came after months of reports that the White House was downplaying the Russian election threat, despite what US intelligence chiefs have said was massive interference in the 2016 campaign that brought Trump to power.

In a strangely worded and widely criticized official statement on election interference on August 7, the Directorate of National Intelligence focused on what it said was active interference by China and Iran, with China opposed to Trump.

Russia is also interfering against Biden and an anti-Russia “establishment,” it said, avoiding suggestions that, as in 2016, Moscow favors Trump.

DHS rejected the allegations of intelligence manipulation and retaliation against Murphy.

“We flatly deny that there is any truth to the merits of Mr. Murphy’s claim,” said department spokesperson Alexei Woltornist.

“DHS is working to address all threats to the homeland regardless of ideology,” Woltornist added.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN

The White House has denied manipulating intelligence to support Trump’s policies and election, but also repeatedly condemns what it labels an alleged anti-Trump “deep state” in the intelligence community.

But Murphy’s complaint said that, over 2018-2020, he witnessed “a repeated pattern of abuse of authority, attempted censorship of intelligence analysis and improper administration of an intelligence program related to Russian efforts to influence and undermine United States interests.”

In early 2019, he says then-DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in testimony to Congress knowingly vastly exaggerated the threat of terrorists entering the country from Mexico, in order to support Trump’s plan for a wall on the southern border.

Despite being told that at best three potential terrorists had tried to cross from Mexico, Nielsen, he said, told Congress the number was 3,755.

Likewise, he said, in order to support Trump’s anti-migrant policies, acting deputy DHS secretary Ken Cuccinelli demanded changes to intelligence reports on corruption and violence in Central America that might be used to bolster asylum claims.

Cuccinelli, Murphy said, also demanded the names of “deep state intelligence analysts” who wrote the reports.

On Russia, Murphy said that both

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House lawmakers ask for probe into Russian poisoning case



FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019 file photo Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks during a rally to support political prisoners in Moscow, Russia. The German hospital treating Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he has been taking out of an induced coma and is responsive. Berlin's Charite hospital said Monday that Navalny's condition has further improved, allowing doctors to end the medically induced coma and gradually ease him off mechanical ventilation. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, File)


© Provided by Associated Press
FILE – In this Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019 file photo Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks during a rally to support political prisoners in Moscow, Russia. The German hospital treating Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he has been taking out of an induced coma and is responsive. Berlin’s Charite hospital said Monday that Navalny’s condition has further improved, allowing doctors to end the medically induced coma and gradually ease him off mechanical ventilation. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Democrat and the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are together calling on President Donald Trump to investigate whether chemical weapons were used by Russia in the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told Trump in a letter Monday that they are “deeply concerned” by reports that Navalny was poisoned in August with a chemical nerve agent. The two lawmakers are pushing for a formal U.S. investigation into whether Russia violated international law or used a lethal weapon against one of its own nationals — a request they say triggers a required 60-day evaluation period under U.S. chemical weapons law.



FILE - In this July 20, 2019, file photo, Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny gestures while speaking to a crowd during a political protest in Moscow, Russia. The German hospital treating Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he has been taken out of an induced coma and is responsive. German experts say Navalny, who fell ill Aug. 20 on a domestic flight in Russia, was poisoned with a substance belonging to the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.  (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)


© Provided by Associated Press
FILE – In this July 20, 2019, file photo, Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny gestures while speaking to a crowd during a political protest in Moscow, Russia. The German hospital treating Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he has been taken out of an induced coma and is responsive. German experts say Navalny, who fell ill Aug. 20 on a domestic flight in Russia, was poisoned with a substance belonging to the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

Navalny, a high-profile critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany last month after falling ill on an airplane flight in Russia. German chemical weapons experts say tests showed the 44-year-old was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent.

Engel and McCaul urged Trump to enact additional sanctions on Russia if it’s determined that chemical weapons were used against Navalny.

“Those responsible for this despicable attack must be held accountable, and Russian President Vladimir Putin must know that he and his cronies will not be allowed to violate international law with impunity,” the two men wrote.

The administration has not yet responded to the request. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany last week called the poisoning “completely reprehensible” and said the U.S. was “working with our allies and the international community to hold those in Russia accountable.”

Navalny has been taken out of an induced coma and is improving, the German hospital treating him said Monday. Doctors said it was too soon to say what long-term effects he may have suffered.

The German authorities said last week that tests showed “proof without doubt” that Navalny was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent. British authorities identified the Soviet-era Novichok agent as the same poison used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in

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Traditional Russian Christmas Ornaments and Decor

Russian Christmas ornaments come in almost every shape and design imaginable; making any Yuletide décor more festive. Many Russian Christmas ornaments are made from durable plastic, but many are still hand made and hand painted in delicate wood and blown glass. Some are designed not to grace your tree but to beautify every room in your home with traditional images of the Christ child and Holy Family, keeping the true spirit of the season alive in eye-catching adornments that will become heirlooms in your family.

Ornaments popular around the world are also popular in Russia, including angels, Christmas trees, snowmen and, of course, Santa Claus. They come in many sizes and painted in every color of the rainbow. Many of the ornaments are uniquely Russian: Pieces patterned after the famous nesting dolls or “matryoshkas” or the Snow Maiden of Russian literature. The magnificent onion-shaped domes of Russian Orthodox church steeples, like Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, are also popular. Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcraker” will always be the traditional performance of the season and nutcracker Christmas ornaments are a perfect reminder of that beloved classic.

Taking their cue from the fabulous Faberge Easter eggs, some Russian ornaments are eggshell shaped and painted in minute detail with Grandfather Frost, angels, rabbits and snow-covered dachas. Even a whole village might find itself hanging among the needles in miniature.

Whatever your personal preference in Christmas tree decor, a Russian ornament will add a distinctive flavor to your Christmas scene that family and friends will remember. In fact, don’t be surprised if their next tree looks a lot like yours did this year!

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