Will Alexei Navalny (want to) return to Russia?

The famed horse statue that sits a few feet from Red Square

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny will be in a Berlin hospital on Saturday morning. However, it appeared for several hours on Friday that doctors wouldn’t allow him to be flown from Russia to Germany, where his family believes he’ll receive proper care after he almost certainly was poisoned a day earlier.

Of course, Russian doctors are reporting no toxins have been found in Navalny’s system, which cannot be independently confirmed. In addition, the longer the delay in getting Navalny out of the country, the harder it might be to confirm what poisoned him.

Presuming Navalny makes a full recovery, a legitimate question must be asked: Will he return to Russia? Maybe the real question is: Will he want to return? An irritant to Russian President Vladimir Putin and other prominent Russians, Navalny has been attacked or arrested multiple times. One such attack left him with significant eye damage.

Much like the heat can slowly be turned up on a stove, the intensity of the attacks against Navalny have continued. I’m not trying to dismiss the degree of any previous attack, but none of them compares to what happened to him on Thursday.

It might be time for him to continue his fight to remake Russian politics from afar. Granted, a new address wouldn’t prevent further efforts to silence him, but it could provide him with easier access to organizations eager to assist him.

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