Russian Dissident Attacked in the West

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Leonid Volkov, one of Navalny’s top lieutenants, has been assaulted near his home in Lithuania. While in his car, attackers broke his car’s windows with hammers, before pepper spraying him and bludgeoning him. Volkov survived the attack, and it is not certain whether the act was meant to intimidate or kill him.

Navalny was Putin’s top political rival in Russia, despite sharing some agreement on policies, such as Crimea being true Russia land. He was arrested when returning to Russia in 2021, and imprisoned in secret circumstances. Navalny was later declared dead, whether by intentional assassination or willful neglect in his living conditions. Politico reports:

“They broke the window in his car and sprayed tear gas in his eyes, after which the attacker began to beat Leonid with a hammer,” wrote Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokesperson, on X — the site formerly known as Twitter — shortly after 10 p.m. local time.

Yarmysh retweeted graphic pictures from another account that appear to show Volkov with a wound on his leg and damage to his car.

The Baltic states still have a large Russian minority there, on account of being part of the Soviet Union for decades. While many are loyal to their government, a sizable minority are influenced by Moscow and are at risk of recruitment by Russian intelligence. The NY Times continues:

The Lithuanian police confirmed that a Russian citizen, whom they did not name, was beaten outside his home in Vilnius shortly after 10 p.m. local time, according to the Baltic news outlet Delfi.

“News about Leonid’s assault are shocking. Relevant authorities are at work,” Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuania’s minister of foreign affairs, said in a statement on X. “Perpetrators will have to answer for their crime.”

Lithuania is a member of NATO, so Russia will currently not seek to attack it with conventional means. However, this confirms that it is actively conducting intelligence and illicit activities in those countries to weaken its rivals.

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