CAGED Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s wife Yulia Navalnaya has fled Russia for Germany, Interfax reported today.
Navalnaya reportedly flew to Frankfurt from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport.
Yulia’s reported departure comes a week after Navalny was sentenced to two years and eight months in a prison colony for breaking probation in a 2014 fraud conviction.
He had been arrested after returning to Moscow having recovered from a near-fatal Novichok nerve agent poisoning in Germany that he blames on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After Navalny fell violently ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow, Yulia went to great lengths to get him transferred by medical aircraft to Germany.
While her husband fought for his life in a Berlin hospital, she regularly briefed journalists on his condition.
Among the first words after waking from his coma, Navalny said: "Yulia, you saved me."
Yulia's sudden departure from Russia comes after Moscow court granted a request by investigators for the arrest of Leonid Volkov, one of the closest allies of Navalny, the Interfax news agency reported.
Volkov, who oversees Navalny's regional headquarters, has angered the authorities by organising anti-Kremlin protests from his base in Lithuania, demanding the release of Navalny.
Tens of thousands have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest against Navalny’s jailing.
Yulia herself turned out to a demonstration but was arrested on charges of attending an unauthorised demo, and was ordered to pay a fine of 20,000 roubles (£192.33)
It comes as the number of Russians who expect there to be new protests has jumped to its highest since 1998, the independent Levada pollster said today.
The Moscow-based Levada Centre said an opinion poll conducted from January. 29 to Febuary 2 showed that 45 per cent of people expected fresh political protests, a jump from 23 per cent last November.
The poll also found that 43 per cent of people said they thought protests with economic demands were possible. That level was last recorded in November 1998, the year of Russia's financial crisis.
More to follow…
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