Vladimir Kara-Murza, a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin, collapsed in Moscow on Tuesday. A friend of Boris Nemtsov, the Russian dissident murdered in February, the 33-year-old showed no previous signs of illness.
Andrei Bystrov, a friend of the Kara-Murza family and a fellow dissident, recently announced that doctors had confirmed that Kara-Murza had been poisoned. He went on to say that doctors are still identifying the exact poison, telling the Telegraph, “It could be anything.”
If true, this would be the latest in a series Kremlin poisonings of dissidents. Alexandr Litvinenko was infamously poisoned with Polonium-210 in London in 2000. The pro-European Ukranian politician Viktor Yeshchenko was poisoned with dioxin in 2004, and blamed the Kremlin. That same year, Anna Politovskaya, a Kremlin critic and human rights activist, was poisoned onboard an Aeroflot flight, for which she blamed the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). Although she survived, she was shot two years later. In 2009, the Russian oligarch in exile Alexandr Perepilichny received death threats, and was poisoned with Gelsemium. He had been helping Swiss authorities prosecute Russian corruption at the time.
In February of this year, Boris Nemtsov, a prominent Russian democrat and capitalist, was shot dead just steps from the Kremlin walls. Kara-Murza was reportedly a close friend and confident of Nemtsov. Vladimir Kara-Murza Sr. is a fixture of Russian news media and a frequent critic of the Putin government’s gradual takeover of private news outlets. He believed that his son was poisoned as soon as he fell ill, and told the BBC as much. He added, “If someone did want to frighten us, then they succeeded.”
Benjamin Parker is an intern at The Weekly Standard.