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Navalny's associates say he was to be exchanged for FSB hitman Vadim Krasikov, negotiations were in final stage on February 15

Maria Pevchikh, head of investigations at Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF), has announced that the politician was killed in prison as his associates managed to negotiate his exchange for the FSB-linked “bicycle assassin” Vadim Krasikov.

Krasikov is currently serving a life sentence in Germany for the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a former Chechen commander who fought against Russia in the Second Chechen and the Russo-Georgian war.

In a video released earlier today, Pevchikh said:

“At the beginning of February, Putin was offered to swap the FSB killer, Vadim Krasikov, who is serving time for murder in Berlin, for two American citizens and Alexei Navalny. I received confirmation that negotiations were at the final stage on the evening of February 15th. On February 16th, Alexei was killed.”

According to Pevchikh, two years ago the ACF team came up with a solution that could work, since foreign countries are under no obligation to help an arrested Russian citizen: a humanitarian exchange.

“Investigator Christo Grozev helped us devise and implement this plan,” noted Pevchikh. “He searched, identified and exposed these spies in droves. At the same time, we were preparing a list of Russian citizens, Russian politicians, activists, fighters for freedom and human rights who needed to be freed from Russian prisons. Implementing this plan took two whole years. It could have taken less. With desire and political will, it’s a matter of months, not years. But there was no desire or will. Huge efforts, endless persuasion, weeks of waiting for responses, dozens of trips, hundreds of unanswered calls. Officials, [both] U.S. and German, nodded understandingly, talked about how important it was to help Navalny and the political prisoners, shook hands, promised and… did nothing. We tried again. In the most desperate and insane ways. Through acquaintances of politicians, through the wealthiest people on this planet who influence these politicians. Through Putin's friends like Henry Kissinger.”
“By December [last year] the plan was in action. [...] Putin himself indicated who he wanted to get as a result of the swap - the Berlin murderer Vadim Krasikov. only way to get Krasikov was to exchange him for Navalny. [...] ‘Hold on,’ thought Putin. ‘I can’t tolerate Navalny being free. And since they are willing to exchange Krasikov on principle, then I just need to get rid of the bargaining chip. Then offer someone else when the time comes.’” — reported Pevchikh.

In an interview with former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson in early February, Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was open to swan jailed journalist Evan Gershkovich of The Wall Street Journal for Krasikov. According to Putin, the journalist, who is jailed in Russia on espionage charges, could be exchanged if there is a “reciprocal movement.” At the same time, Putin admitted that he is not sure whether Gershkovich is indeed a spy.

On February 24, Russian authorities handed over the body of the murdered opposition politician Alexei Navalny to his mother, Lyudmila Navanaya, ending a week-long standoff.

Two days earlier, on February 22, Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh confirmed that the medical death certificate, shown to Lyudmila Navalnaya, listed her son’s cause of death as “natural.”

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