It is premature to blame the Russian government for the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, poisonings have taken place many times before, both in Russia and internationally, if the Kremlin were behind this poisoning why would they fail? In addition this case has not gone beyond accusations so far, with Germany currently engaging in megaphone diplomacy, and European nations not collaborating or cooperating with their Russian counterparts. Furthermore Navalny has not just angered the Russian government, but has been a controversial figure for many in the Russian political opposition also. Following the Russian annexation of Crimea Navalny said, “the reality is that Crimea is now part of Russia … Crimea is ours”, and was widely criticised, many people have been infuriated by Navalny, not just Putin.
Navalny remains too high profile for this to be a attack sanctioned by Putin, Navalny has a lot of powerful enemies, as he has targeted very powerful non-government figures in Russia with his anti-corruption activism. However the current situation is now of one side's word against the other, it would be good if doctors were open to sharing their samples and data to determine independently what exactly happened to Alexei Navalny and what he was poisoned with, otherwise this will turn into a diplomatic blame game. The Russian government clearly needs to do more here, but transparency on all sides is the only way the international community could overcome their entrenched narratives, and for the situation to not escalate further.