charite navalny
© Sputnik / Alexei Vitvitskiy
The building of the Charite clinic in Berlin, where Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is being treated
US-based chemist and independence campaigner for Tatarstan Vil Mirzayanov has 'apologized' to Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, saying he considers himself indirectly responsible for his high-profile alleged poisoning.

Mirzayanov, who left Russia in the mid-1990s, has frequently claimed that he was one of the developers of Novichok. This has been rejected by other scientists known to have been on the team which created the lethal substance. In 1992, Mirzayanov leaked the structure of the poison, which resulted in Russian authorities charging him with treason, in a case that later collapsed.

Speaking to TV Rain, Mirzayanov said that he was part of the group behind the military-grade poison, which Germany claims has been found in the activist's body. He also asserted that Navalny's symptoms are typical of those experienced by people who have experienced exposure to Novichok.

"All the symptoms are similar," Mirzayanov said. "Navalny will have to be patient. But in the end, he should recover."

As none of Navalny's associates were infected, the former scientist believes that the poison must have entered his body through his digestive tract.

However, according to Leonid Rink, a man commonly referred to in Russian media as the creator of Novichok, Mirzayanov was not involved in the development of the poison and is not an expert on its symptoms.

"He has nothing to do with biochemistry, nothing. He is an ordinary chromatographer," Rink told Moscow news agency RIA Novosti. "He's had nothing to do with the creation of Novichok."

According to Rink, Navalny would not be alive if he was genuinely poisoned by Novichok.

Rink was backed up by Vladimir Uglev, another scientist known to have been on the poison's development team, who claimed that Mirzayanov "never took part in field tests."

Navalny, a well-known opposition figure and investigative journalist, fell ill on August 20, on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. Following an emergency landing, he was immediately hospitalized in the Siberian city of Omsk. Two days later, after a request from his family and associates, Navalny was flown to Germany for treatment at Berlin's Charité clinic. Over a week later, Berlin announced that the opposition figure was poisoned with a nerve agent from the 'Novichok' group. Contrary to German experts' diagnoses, medical professionals in Omsk deny that any poison was found in his body.

On Saturday, a post on Navalny's Instagram account explained that he is slowly recovering and is expected to get back to normal.


Mirzayanov has long been a vocal Kremlin opponent and Tatar activist. A member of the Presidium of the Milli Mejlis of the Tartar People in exile, he has prominently advocated for Tatarstan, a majority Muslim republic, to separate from Moscow. Back in 2008, he was declared "Prime Minister" of the region's "government in exile"