Russia: Elvira Vikhareva, a new poisoned opponent
The young woman hosts a program on YouTube, where she defends anti-war positions. She was allegedly poisoned with potassium dichromate.
By Marc Nexon
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DFor a month, she no longer appears on the screen. Only his voice accompanied by a photo leads interviews with interlocutors whose faces we can still see. Thirty-two-year-old Elvira Vikhareva has a reason to be discreet: she is losing her hair and eyelashes, suffering from convulsions, her nails are deformed and her hands are shaking. Some time ago, he also happened to faint.
She nevertheless continues her videos on YouTube seen by 53,000 subscribers, where exiles and dissidents express themselves. Elvira Vikhareva is not an opposition figure. Her name is unknown to the public even if, in 2021, she unsuccessfully tried to participate in the legislative elections. She is a simple citizen present for seven years at all the demonstrations and determined to continue her political fight.
In the aftermath of the outbreak of war in Ukraine, she chose to stay in Russia. A decision that cost him dearly. At the end of last year, she was presumably poisoned. Traces of potassium dichromate, a toxic substance used in inks, dyes and the cause of cancer, were found in his blood. She assumes that the product was placed in her food or drink and says she is hardly surprised. “If a person living in Russia defends an anti-war position, he becomes enemy number one,” she said on Dojd, an independent Russian television station broadcasting from abroad.
Many poisoning precedents
Vikhareva’s case is not isolated. Poisons figure prominently on the shelves of intelligence services. The most resounding case concerns Alexeï Navalny, 46, the cantor of anti-corruption, at the head of a national movement before his conviction in March 2022 to nine years in prison. Everything indicates that the FSB tried to eliminate him in the summer of 2020 by applying Novichok, a nerve agent, to his underpants during a trip to Siberia.
Another known victim: Vladimir Kara-Murza, 41, also behind bars and today threatened with twenty years in prison. A graduate of the University of Cambridge, former companion of the famous opponent Boris Nemtsov, assassinated in 2015, Kara-Murza survived two poisonings: the first in 2015 during a lunch in Moscow, the second in 2017, just before to take a plane back to the United States. On two occasions, he fell into a coma for several weeks.
“The doctors only gave him a 5% chance of survival, declared in June 2022 to the Point his wife Evguenia, his kidneys, his lungs, his heart, most of his organs were damaged. He walked for a long time with a cane and had to relearn how to use a spoon. »
There is also Piotr Verzilov, 35, a close friend of the protest punk group Pussy Riot poisoned in 2018. Treated in Germany like Navalny, he temporarily lost his sight and the ability to speak. The doctors were however unable to identify the toxic product ingested. Verzilov was reportedly punished for stepping on the pitch during the World Cup final in Russia in July 2018.
Polonium 210 tea
Finally in 2006, during Vladimir Putin’s second term, a scandal broke out in Great Britain. The opponent and former spy Alexander Litvinenko died at the age of 43 after drinking tea with two members of the FSB in a London hotel. Polonium 210, a highly radioactive substance, was allegedly poured into his drink. The British investigation concludes that the operation was “most likely” given the green light by Putin.
Don’t bury me, dying is not part of my plans, I’m sure those who committed this act will be punished sooner or later.Elvira Vikhareva
The case of Elvira Vikhareva illustrates one thing in any case: the use of poison, hitherto reserved for the leaders of the protest, is becoming widespread among ordinary opponents. The person concerned, she claims to recover and does not intend to disarm. “Don’t bury me, she says on Facebook, dying is not part of my plans, I’m sure those who committed this act will be punished sooner or later. »