Navalny Review – Intriguing, Energizing, Investigative Journalism

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Navalny, from Warner Bros Pictures, presents an in depth, behind the scenes, look of one of the most infamous and outrageous attempts by Russian President Vladimir Putin to murder his most outspoken adversary, Alexei Navalny.

The documentary opens with Alexei Navalny pondering the question of his possible incarceration and death. He shrugs off the director, Daniel Roher, and the story of Yale educated attorney Alexei Navalny begins.

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Known for his outspoken and opposition of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the circle of corruption that Putin propagates, Navalny embraced the use of social media, the internet and YouTube to further his campaign enlightening the Russian people, in all parts of the country. His popularity was growing by unprecedented numbers.

Then in August 2020, Navalny was the victim of an attempted assassination by poisoning with a lethal nerve agent, which had also been used in the 2018 Novichok poisoning of a former KGB double agent and his daughter in Salisbury, England.

In August 2020, the documentary show, Navalny was on a flight from Tomsk, Russia, in Siberia to Moscow, which should have taken several hours. About 30minutes into the flight, we hear intense moans. He is felled, something is wrong, and the pilot makes an emergency landing in Omsk, Russia, where Navalny is immediately treated by paramedics and hospitalized.

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Soon his wife, Yulia shows arrives with her team and are denied access, and it was August of 2020 during the height of the pandemic, and she wasn't wearing a mask, so while there was an attempt on his life, she set herself up for a confrontation because she did not bring or wear a mask.

Following this attempt, the documentary travels with him to Germany, and soon he recovers. He is convinced he was poisoned by Putin's henchmen, "Moscow 4," on Putin's order but without a full confession from any of the four men involved it is obvious but not proven.

While in Germany, he meets several journalists who are interested in helping him on his quest to unpack the attempted murder and present it to the people of the world. Soon, this team of journalists begin to build an evidence board, red thread circle pinpoints on the map, moving higher and higher up the chain of command until one leads directly to Putin. The documentary doesn't reveal if they began with Putin and moved down through the hierarchy intersecting at the poisoning, which would make sense.

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What I found as the most intriguing in this documentary was when Navalny, a well-known and recognizable figure, impersonated the assistant to a Deputy in Putin's cabinet and was able to convince Konstantin Kudryavtsev, one of the FSB officers in the team to trail and eventually poison him, that he was a junior assistant and needed a statement for the report.

As a journalist watching Navalny begin to pull information from Kudryavtsev, was energizing, reminiscent of Watergate journalist's Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. It was another moment in journalism's history, where one will look back on and understand it will be remembered throughout history as one of journalism's finest moments.

Building the truth, knowing the truth, and finally putting together the last piece of the puzzle that proves without a doubt that the attempted assassination was ordered from Putin was brilliant. Moreover hearing the facts explained and not allowing his emotions to rule him, but to remember what was crucial and imperative for the moment, and his necessary skill of compartmentalization.

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Navalny was unable to pursue justice, there was no justice available for the proof that he was the victim of an attempted murder. He would be subject to repeated injustice.

Once the story broke, CNN and global news organizations began to confirm the facts and suddenly for Navalny it was time to return to Russia, even knowing he could be arrested, or murdered. And once again we arrive at the beginning of the documentary when Alexei Navalny is asked what you tell the people if you are killed. His reply, "Giving up is not an option."

A footnote, Alexei Navalny was arrested in arrivals at a Moscow airport and is currently sentenced to nine years in prison. Konstantin Kudryavtsev, the FSB agent responsible for the poisoning, has never been seen again and is presumed dead.


Country: Russia, Germany.

Language: English, Russian and German with English subtitles.

Runtime: 98minutes.

Director: Daniel Roher.

Producer: Diane Becker, Shane Boris, Melanie Miller, Odessa Rae.

Cast: Alexei Navalny, Yulia Navalny, Dasha Navalny, Zakhar Navalny, Maria Pevchikh, Christo Grozev, Leonid Volkov, Kira Yarmysh, Georgy Alburov, Anna Biryukova, Fidelius Schmid, Tim Lister, Clarissa Ward, and in archive footage, Vladimir Solovyov, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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