One-fifth of Russians now approve of poisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, according to an opinion poll published on Friday, a figure more than twice as high as a year ago but one accompanied by a doubling of disapproval of his activities.
A vocal opponent of President Vladimir Putin, Navalny, 44, fell ill on a domestic flight in August and was airlifted to a Berlin hospital. Germany says he was poisoned with a rare nerve agent. Russia says it has seen no evidence he was poisoned.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app
His case has attracted attention worldwide and at home, with Western leaders demanding an explanation from the Kremlin over what happened.
According to the poll by the Levada Centre, conducted in late September, 20 percent of respondents approve of Navalny’s activities, while 50 percent do not. In 2019, his approval rating was 9 percent, but the percentage of those who disapproved of him was also lower, at 25 percent.
Of those who had heard about Navalny’s poisoning, 55 percent said they did not believe it was a deliberate act
Russia’s diplomatic mission to the EU last month quoted aprevious survey putting Navalny’s popularity at only 2 percent and commented that it would make no sense for Moscow to have poisoned a political opponent with so little support.
Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, responded at the time: “It’s as if they’re saying ‘If his rating was 20 percent, then we would have poisoned him.’”
The Kremlin this week accused Navalny, who has vowed to return to Russia, of working with the CIA after Navalny said he believed Putin was behind the suspected poisoning.
“The problem for those in power is that discrediting Navalny doesn’t automatically translate into some kind of affinity towards the Russian authorities,” said political analysis firm R.Politik on Telegram.
“It’s a false dichotomy: Putin or Navalny. Many don’t like either.”
Putin’s approval rating dipped to 59 percent in April, a two-decade low, but had recovered to 69 percent as of Friday, Levada polling data showed.
Europeans, UK write to UN Security Council about threat posed by Navalny poisoningThe poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny “constitutes a threat to international peace and security,” Britain, France, Germany, Estonia and ... World News
In interview, Russia’s Navalny accuses Putin of being behind poisoning by nerve agentRussian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is recovering in Germany after being poisoned in Russia by a nerve agent, accused Russian President ... World News
Russian opposition leader Navalny says Merkel visited him in hospitalRussian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said on Monday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited him while he was recovering in a Berlin hospital ... World News
Russian opposition politician Navalny’s treatment in Germany could last ‘weeks’Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny is likely to remain in Germany for weeks as he still requires lengthy treatment to help him recover from ... World News
Russian opposition figure Navalny says Novichok found ‘in and on’ his bodyRussian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Monday that Western laboratories had found traces of a Novichok nerve agent in and on his body and ... World News
Novichok scientist apologizes to Russian opposition figure NavalnyA scientist involved in the secret Soviet program to create the Novichok nerve agent has apologized to the Russian opposition politician Alexei ... World News
Kremlin says bottle in Navalny case could have been evidence, but was removedThe Kremlin said on Friday that a water bottle found in the hotel room of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who Germany and other western governments ... World News
Chemical weapons watchdog says examining Russian opposition leader Navalny samplesThe global chemical weapons watchdog confirmed Thursday that it had sent experts to Germany to collect samples from Russian opposition leader Alexei ... World News