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Should Navalny be replaced?

Kremlin critic Navalny should be released in a prisoner exchange: his team reports this in a video published on YouTube. Accordingly, the negotiations for an exchange for the “Tiergarten murderer” were well advanced.

According to his team, the Russian Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who died in custody, should be exchanged for the “Tiergarten murderer” who was imprisoned in Germany. “I received the news on February 15 that the negotiations were underway and were in the final stretch,” said the political director of the Navalny Anti-Corruption Fund, Maria Pevchich, in a video posted on YouTube. On February 16, Alexei Navalny died in a prison camp in the far north of Russia, according to prison authorities.

Pevchich: Putin didn't want Navalny free at any price

At the beginning of February, Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin was made an offer according to which the “Tiergarten murderer” Vadim K., who was convicted in Germany in December 2021, could have been handed over to Russia – in exchange for Navalny and two Americans. According to Pewtschich, the plan to free Navalny had been pursued for a long time and particularly intensively after the start of the Ukraine war. She did not say who exactly was involved in the development of these supposed exchange plans and how specific they were.

In his propagandistic interview with the controversial right-wing US talk show host Tucker Carlson on February 9th, Putin indicated – without naming K. – that he imagined exchanging a “patriot” for the US journalist Evan Gershkovich, who is imprisoned in Russia could. “The negotiations are already underway,” Putin said at the time. Pevchich interpreted this statement by the Russian head of state as a “sign of the exchange that almost took place.”

She accused Putin of personally ordering Navalny's killing given the advanced negotiations. He didn't want to release the opposition member at any price. Pewtschich suspects that he realized that the West was ready to exchange Vadim K. and then decided to get rid of Navalny as an exchange object. “This is the absolutely illogical, irrational behavior of a crazy Mafiosi,” she said.

Federal Government does not comment on the case of K.

It is unclear whether there was actually a realistic chance of getting Navalny released against the “Tiergarten murderer”. In response to a request from replied last week: “The federal government has no comment or position on the matter.”

With regard to the latest statement from Navalny's team, deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann, when asked by the dpa news agency, referred to previous statements and said: “And I can't answer this other than that we can't comment on it.”

Wadim K. murdered a Chechen exile in Berlin in 2019. K. is said to have committed the murder on behalf of Russian state authorities.

Frank Aischmann, ARD Moscow, tagesschau, February 26, 2024 5:38 p.m

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