How dissident Navalny’s new standoff with Putin could play out

The long-running confrontation between the Kremlin and Alexei Navalny took a darker turn this week as Russia’s best-known opposition figure launched a hunger strike to demand proper medical attention and protest his prison treatment.

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April 2, 2021 - 10:57 AM

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands inside a glass cell during a court hearing at the Babushkinsky district court in Moscow on Feb. 20, 2021. The Kremlin's most prominent opponent was jailed on charges of violating parole requirements. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

The long-running confrontation between the Kremlin and Alexei Navalny took a darker turn this week as Russia’s best-known opposition figure launched a hunger strike to demand proper medical attention and protest his prison treatment.

Now his allies are openly voicing fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin once again wants him dead.

Navalny, 44, barely survived a poisoning seven months ago with a military-grade nerve agent, an attack Western governments blamed on the Russian security services. Now he is serving a 2½-year sentence in a harsh penal colony east of Moscow, after returning to Russia in January from Germany, where he spent months convalescing from his poisoning ordeal.

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