A former Russian TV journalist said that her country’s president, Vladimir Putin, does not have enough poison to kill all his opponents, referring to the accusations leveled at the Kremlin of his involvement in assassinations or attempted murders of his critics inside and outside the country.
Marina Ovsyanikova had become the talk of the hour at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine after she cut off the television broadcast of the first channel in which she works, to announce to everyone her rejection of the war.
At the time, the 45-year-old journalist received global acclaim after she stormed the main news program to protest the invasion of Ukraine, holding up a banner that read “Stop the war”.
Ovsyannikova entered the set of the live broadcast of the nightly news, shouting “Stop the war, not the war!”
She carried a sign that read in Russian: “Don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.”
Ovsyanikova hopes, in remarks reported by the British newspaper “The Independent”, that Putin will be forced from power by members of the country’s political and military elite.
The newspaper, which was able to flee abroad after being imposed on house arrest, cited Putin and the performance of the Russian army being subjected to great criticism by the supposed loyalists of the Kremlin residents, including the leader of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and the President of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.
“I think Putin does not have enough (Novichok) for all his opponents,” she told Britain’s Sky News. “Because actually when the war started, a lot of people started speaking out against the regime and a lot of people will.”
Novichok is a toxic chemical weapon developed during the former Soviet Union and was used on June 30, 2018 against double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal.
The two spent weeks in a hospital in Britain, and are in critical condition.-
The British government blamed Moscow for the poisonings and expelled 23 Russian diplomats it said were spies.-
The United Kingdom’s allies followed suit, expelling 342 Russian diplomats from around the world.
And on August 20, 2020, Novichok was used to try to get rid of a prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, who is best known for his investigations into several major corruption cases in his country.
Navalny fell ill on a domestic flight from Tomsk to Moscow, where he was taken to hospital in Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing.
Later, he ran to Germany where he received further treatment.
And in September of that year, the German government announced that Navalny had been poisoned with Novichok.
Ovsyannikova said Navalny is a “hero”, but since he is in prison, “there is no leader who can unite the people” to oppose Putin.
She also said she was worried about Navalny’s health, which has visibly deteriorated since his imprisonment.
“There is no active organisation. So I think the elites will split, and we don’t know how Putin will be removed,” Ovsyannikova said, speaking of the Russian opposition and how the war might end.
And she added, “It may happen in the form of a classic coup, he may not be killed or poisoned, but someone from his inner circle may come to him one day and say to him (Vladimir Putin, we are losing the war. It’s time to go).”
She added, “When Russia loses the war, it will be Putin’s last day in power.. That is clear. He fears for his life. He is in his refuge, and he is isolated.”