“Navalny”: How the Kremlin opponent was poisoned by Putin’s people
By Sophie Fritschek
Germany – Exciting! “Navalny”, a documentary about the Russian politician of the same name, has been running in Germany since May 5th cinemas, which relentlessly reveals the background to his poisoning. the TAG24 review.
Against the background of the Ukraine war, the documentary could not be more up-to-date and explosive. It revolves around Alexej Navalny, 45, Vladimir Putin’s (69) political archenemy, who has been the leader of the opposition in Russia for years.
On August 20, 2020, he barely survived a poison attack that was covered in the media worldwide. In January 2021, despite all the danger, he decided to return to his homeland, was promptly arrested at the airport and has been serving several years in a camp since then.
Canadian director Daniel Roher (29, “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band”) uses these real backgrounds not only to give us an impression of Navalny as a person, but also to give a look behind the scenes of Putin’s rule to throw.
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Cameras followed Navalny and his family for several months – during his treatment in the Berlin Charité, in a small town in the Black Forest and on his return trip to Moscow.
The sometimes emotionally very intimate recordings are rounded off with archive photos and interviews.
German trailer for “Navalny” by director Daniel Roher
“Navalny” reveals the shocking incompetence of the Russian power apparatus
The picture is drawn of an astute, charismatic and courageous politician with a great deal of affinity for the social media that have made him so popular.
Although he has every reason to fear Putin, he repeatedly emphasizes: “I’m not afraid.” Not even his family with two young children, who actively support him and who, in the case of his wife Julija, probably saved his life.
You quickly let yourself be carried away by this heroic impression and follow the captivatingly drawn-out documentary, which at times presents itself like a thriller, as if spellbound.
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Navalny allies himself with the hacker Christo Grosew from the international research network Bellingcat, which has set itself the goal of clarifying the case of his poisoning. In doing so, the investigators encounter so much concentrated incompetence that one’s jaw literally drops.
The absolute highlight of the absurdity in “Navalny” is undoubtedly the “prank call” that Navalny pulls up with Christo in order to gradually call his unsuspecting near-murderers personally and elicit shocking details from them.
Original trailer for “Navalny”
“Navalny” will captivate viewers, but will also leave some questions unanswered
The film concentrates on this quite exciting topic and on the period between poisoning and arrest. This makes the documentary much tighter than most other genre works. It portrays Navalny and Putin as opponents and shows the prestige damage the latter suffered as a result of the failed attack.
However, other questions must be left behind. For example, more profound portraits of his relatives, who are undoubtedly also exposed to great danger.
Also, Navalny doesn’t find support everywhere. Roher asks him about his political affinity with the extreme right in Russia, which he justifies with the urgent need for supporters. Otherwise you have to piece together the rest from the archive recordings.
Navalny, it seems, sees himself primarily as the leader of the Russian opposition, whose primary goal is to eradicate widespread corruption. It therefore covers such a broad spectrum that a political classification is only possible to a limited extent. In any case, the question of Putin’s challenger seems to have been settled for the time being, at least in the case of Navalny.
Since the end of March, he has been serving nine years in a Russian prison camp under harsher conditions under legally questionable circumstances for alleged embezzlement. From there he is partly able to call for protests against the Ukraine war. Whether and when he will actually leave prison is still in the stars.
All in all, “Navalny” has become a highly exciting documentary that comments well on the current political situation and reveals the shocking background of the case.
Cover photo: DCM Cable News Network Inc.