A top strategist for Navalny said the demonstrations were called with three days’ notice because “We don’t know how long he can hold on.”
Associates of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny called Sunday for massive protests in the heart of Moscow and St. Petersburg on Wednesday, saying Navalny’s health is deteriorating severely during a hunger strike.
Leonid Volkov, a top strategist for Navalny, said the demonstrations were called with three days’ notice because “his life hangs in the balance….We don’t know how long he can hold on. But it is clear we do not have time.”
The 44-year-old Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most visible and persistent critic, started a hunger strike more than three weeks ago to protest prison authorities’ refusal to allow him to be seen by a private doctor. He says he is suffering from severe back pain and loss of feeling in his legs, and that the medical care in prison inadequate; the Russian penitentiary service says he is getting appropriate care.
A doctor said Saturday that test results he received from Navalny’s family showed sharply elevated levels of potassium, which could lead to cardiac arrest, and signs of kidney failure.