Navalny was not the first, nor the last to be poisoned. Meet Russian poet Dmitry Bykov

Bellingcat has tied the FSB to numerous assassinations attempts and poisonings over the years. We recently discussed this past spring of the near-fatal poisoning of outspoken opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza. We all know about Navalny and the attempted assassination on his life almost a year ago.

It’s fair to say the FSB would be monitoring you if: you’re an outspoken critic of the Russian government, twice refused personal invitations to meet with Putin as part of the president’s sit-downs with representatives of Russia’s culture elite, an active opposition taking regular part in and co-organizing anti-government protests, and opposed Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its intervention in Eastern Ukraine.

If you met one of these, you would be monitored. Russian writer, poet, and journalist Dmitry Bykov did everything mentioned above. Bykov is a critic, educator, and a satirist whose poetry covered current events and the Russian political regime.

Bellingcat’s most recent article highlights how Bykov was monitored for nearly a year before his poisoning. Bellingcat provides data points in which the FSB made similar reservations to Bykov’s flights and hotel stays.

Bellingcat was able to demonstrate that the three officers who tailed Bykov also shadowed Navalny in the weeks before his poisoning. Two of the surveillers – Paniaev and Osipov – also followed both Bykov at the time of his poisoning in April 2019 and  Navalny during his poisoning in August 2020. On the morning of April 16th, Bykov began to experience similar symptoms to those that Navalny experienced during his poisoning.

Bellingcat explained how Doctors confirmed that Bykov’s symptoms had significant overlap with those experienced by Navalny. These included profuse perspiration and a severe reduction of the volume of circulating blood despite a preserved heart rhythm. Bykov’s pulse was faster than that of Navalny’s but at 60-65 beats per minute it was still slower than would have been expected under these conditions. Doctors, who requested to be quoted anonymously, also said that Bykov’s blood sugar profile showed deviations similar to those displayed by Navalny, including elevated glucose levels, ketones in his urine, slightly elevated amylase, and extreme constriction of the pupils. EMT doctors initially dismissed these deviations as the side effects of the barbiturates introduced into the patient’s system during his two-day stay in the Ufa hospital and a presumed but non-specific “bacterial food poisoning.”

There were many signs seen not only by Bykov, but also by his wife Ekaterina Kevkhishvili dating back to May 2018. After the FSB booked flights in May 2018 similar Bykov’s to Ufa, Kevkhishvili says she began noticing the first signs of surveillance after repeatedly seeing a man staring directly at them from an apartment with binoculars. Kevkhishvili waved each time she saw them and then they would disappear.

In the days before the poisoning, Kevkhishvili explained how she had received numerous alerts on her phone that someone had attempted to log on to her messenger apps and recalled that her Telegram app had been compromised.

It is clear that the FSB does their research and plots the perfect time to conduct their attacks.  

To our readers and followers: if you feel someone is following you please report these incidents to authorities. While it might not have impact at the time, it could have greater impact later and potentially leaders to draft laws that protect you, your loved ones, and ensure that the Russian government cannot freely roam in your country.

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