The wife of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny (44) is back in Germany. She flew from Moscow to Frankfurt airport on Wednesday afternoon, Der Spiegel reports.
Julia Navalny spent about five months in the Federal Republic with her husband, who was recovering from his poisoning but flew back to Moscow together just over three weeks ago.
Russian media speculate that Julia Navalny has fled for fear of the authorities’ repression against the opposition, however, according to the German news magazine, government sources in Berlin speak of a private visit.
Navalny was arrested on January 17 on his return to Moscow. He already expected to be arrested. According to Russian justice, Navalny had to report every two months again in September because he was released from the Berlin hospital.
A judge immediately detained him for 30 days. A court in Moscow sentenced him to 3.5 years in prison in early February. Several days later he had to appear in court for an alleged libel case.
Since then, protests from his supporters have intensified. They are demonstrating across the country for his release and against President Vladimir Putin. Russian police respond with massive arrests, arresting more than 11,000 people in January alone, including Navalny’s wife.
In a letter, Navalny’s wife begged Russian President Putin to let her husband leave for Germany. This after the German organization Cinema for Peace had offered help and wanted to send a private jet with doctors to Russia.
Doctors in Omsk initially banned Navalny’s transport because his condition would not be stable enough for such an ambulance flight. A day later they agreed to fly over Navalny.