Former doctor at Russian hospital that treated Navalny goes missing

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Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny
Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny

Moscow [Russia], May 10 (ANI): The former chief physician of the Siberian hospital, where Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was treated immediately after he was poisoned with a nerve agent last year, has gone missing.

Local police in Omsk told TASS that Alexander Murakhovsky, Health Minister of the region, was reported missing on Saturday after leaving a hunting base in a forest on an all-terrain vehicle on Friday and has not been seen since, CNN reported.

In a statement, the regional Interior Ministry of Omsk said police officers were searching for a man who had gone missing in the Bolsheukovsky district, without naming the physician.

"On May 8, 2021, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the Omsk Region received a message that in the village of Pospelovo, Bolsheukovsky District, a resident of Omsk, born in 1971, left the hunting base on an ATV going to the forest. For about a day, the acquaintances of the disappeared made independent attempts to find the man, after which they reported the incident to the police," the statement said.

The Ministry said that search operations underway were complicated by the difficult terrain and the presence of wetlands.

Murakhovsky was promoted to the position of Health Minister of the Omsk region after his handling of Navalny's hospitalisation last year, CNN reported citing TASS.

He was the chief doctor at Omsk emergency hospital number 1 when Navalny was admitted to the acute poisoning unit of the hospital on August 20, 2020, after falling ill on a plane heading from Siberia to Moscow.

Murakhovsky had then told the media that the main working diagnosis for the Kremlin critic was "a metabolic disorder which caused a sharp drop in blood sugar", CNN reported.

Navalny had ridiculed the promotion of Murakhovsky to Omsk regional health minister, saying: "You lie, fake test results, are ready to please the bosses in any way - you get an award and a promotion."

In February this year, a senior doctor of the hospital, Sergey Maximishin, suddenly died at the age of 55. Rustam Agishev - another top doctor who worked at the hospital, also died in March, although it is not clear if Agishev had anything to do with Navalny's treatment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any role in Navalny's poisoning, and prison officials say they are providing adequate care.

The Kremlin critic went on hunger strike on March 31 while in prison to demand medical care, but ended it last week when he was finally given medical attention.

Russia has brought several cases against Navalny, which he and his supporters say are trumped up. (ANI)