Vladimir Kara-Murza Unconscious, on Life Support in Moscow Hospital, Possibly Poisoned

Vladimir Kara-Murza is a leading opposition figure in Russia. On Tuesday, May 26, 2015, he collapsed suddenly and lost consciousness in his office at Open Russia in Moscow. He was rushed to Pervaya Gradskaya (First City Clinical) hospital where he remains on life support, unconscious with an undiagnosed illness of undetermined origins.

Given the sudden, mysterious, and incapacitating nature of the illness, and the Putin regime’s appalling record with respect to the murders and mistreatment of prominent dissidents, there is widespread concern that Vladimir has been poisoned. His doctors have not ruled it out though one can imagine the pressure they are under. 

Vladimir’s wife, Evgenia, has attempted to have him evacuated for treatment outside the country. However, it has been determined that his condition is too fragile for him to be moved. 

It is urgent that outside medical specialists be allowed to observe and treat Vladimir in the hospital. Vladimir is a dual UK-Russian citizen. The US and UK governments are engaged. The UK must demand access to Vladimir in order to be able to observe, treat, and monitor as appropriate the condition of a UK citizen. 

Vladimir is well known in pro-democracy circles in Washington, London, and across Europe. He was the DC bureau chief at RTVi television before he was fired several years ago for political reasons. Subsequently, he became an important communications and coordination link between Russia’s democratic opposition and the policy and opinion communities in Europe and the US. Vladimir played a key role on Capitol Hill and abroad in advocating for the Magnitsky Act and other measures to sanction criminals who rule and roam the Kremlin by denying them access to their western bank accounts and villas, etc. His testimony before Congress and various European parliaments, his brilliant commentary in World Affairs (blogging since January 2010 and also writing for the journal), and his participation in countless forums have played a key part in mobilizing support for the Russian people and their efforts to promote a free, responsible, and decent Russia.

Vladimir’s determination, his smarts, his decency, his courage, his energy, and most importantly his effectiveness in Washington and in Europe’s capitals are the attributes that are quite likely the reasons he now lies unconscious and on life support. 

Vladimir’s wife and three children reside in the Washington, DC, area. They have our prayers and support.

We ask that the government of the Russian Federation make every effort to ensure that Vladimir receives the best medical treatment available and to immediately allow non-Russian specialists access to his hospital room.

— James S. Denton, Publisher and Editor

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