SICK

Putin Critic Was Poisoned, Wife Says

Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool/Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after a meeting with his Moldovan counterpart Igor Dodon at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 17, 2017.

The wife of a prominent Kremlin critic says he was critically poisoned by an unknown substance. Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr., one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s best-known critics, became critically ill and was placed on life support last week, mirroring a similar episode in 2015. Doctors diagnosed Kara-Murza with “acute poisoning by an undetermined substance,” his wife told RFE/RL. His blood, hair, and fingernails are reportedly being sent to a laboratory in Israel for a second opinion. “We want to get some samples tested again to try to determine what this ‘unidentified’ substance may be,” his wife said.

Kara-Murza, 35, is comatose in a Moscow hospital, were doctors say his organs have failed. He experienced a similar sudden illness in 2015, and has stated he believes he was poisoned during the 2015 incident. Both times, he was visiting Moscow when he suddenly became sick. A part-time U.S. resident, Kara-Murza works for the group Open Russia, where he has called on the U.S. to impose sanctions against Russian politicians. Putin has been accused of authorizing the deaths of other critics, including political rivals and journalists.