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Opposition activist Alexei Navalny talks to the media after being released following 30 days of detention in July 2019. Photo: Dmitry Serebryakov/TASS via Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is in the intensive care unit of a Siberian hospital after being left unconscious from a poisonous toxin believed to have been mixed in his tea, his press secretary, Kira Yarmash, tweeted Thursday.

Why it matters: The anti-corruption lawyer is the face of Russia's domestic opposition to President Vladimir Putin. His activism has led to him being targeted by authorities in raids and jailed dozens of times. Navalny was hospitalized in 2019 after his doctor said he was poisoned with "undefined chemical substances."

Details: Yarmash said Navalny felt ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow and the plane made an emergency landing in the city of Omsk, where he was taken to hospital, per a Twitter translation.

  • "We assume that Alexei was poisoned with something mixed into the tea," her statement said. "It was the only thing that he drank in the morning. Doctors say the toxin was absorbed faster through the hot liquid. Alexey is now unconscious."
  • An Omsk Emergency Hospital spokesperson described the 44-year-old's condition to Russian news agency Tass as "serious."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Sep 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden's hardline Russia reset

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Mark Reinstein

When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
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Pfizer CEO feels "liberated" after taking COVID vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells "Axios on HBO" that he recently received his first of two doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Bourla told CNBC in December that company polling found that one of the most effective ways to increase confidence in the vaccine was to have the CEO take it.

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Ripple CEO: SEC lawsuit is "bad for crypto" in the U.S.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by U.S. regulators, it would put the country at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

Between the lines: The SEC in December sued Ripple, and Garlinghouse personally, for allegedly selling over $1.3 billion in unregistered securities. Ripple's response is that its cryptocurrency, called XRP, didn't require registration because it's an asset rather than a security.