On September 7th, Russian media Pravda.ru suggested that a potential version of why Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny could have been poisoned.
It relates to a conflict a colleague of his – Vladimir Ashurkov and other foreign partners. And the probable poisoner is a bookseller from London, a friend of Evgeny Chichvarkin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a previously unknown girl by the name of Maria Pevchikh.
First of all, however, what was Navalny doing in Siberia?
Alexey Navalny arrived in Novosibirsk on August 15th.
During the trip, he was accompanied by employees of FBK (Navalny’s NGO “Anti-Corruption Foundation”), including: Georgy Alburov, Pavel Zelensky, Ilya Pakhomov, Vladlen Los, press secretary Kira Yarmysh and unknown to anyone Maria Pevchikh.
According to the schedule, Navalny held a meeting with volunteers and recorded materials for a new investigation ahead of the 13 September elections, and later went to Tomsk. It is this part of the journey that holds the key to solving the mysterious poisoning.
In Tomsk, Navalny collected information and talked about the work of United Russia in the housing sector.
Special attention was paid to Tomskvodokanal LLC. The company maintains water supply networks throughout the city after it won the competition against the Moscow-based Rosvodokanal (RVK).
At the same time, RVK is the country’s largest private operator of centralized water supply and sanitation systems, which Ashurkov supports from time to time. All this became known from the video posted by FBK on September 3rd.
The interests of Rosvodokanal extend much further than Siberia. In particular, RVK is fighting for water supply in Ryazan, trying to get a 49-year contract.
Nevertheless, the defeat in Tomsk significantly hit the company’s plans, so the reported media ally of Ashurkov, Alexey Navalny, was thrown into the case.
Elections and concern for the housing and communal services sector in Siberia have become a good cover for the struggle for the market.
But why exactly the trip to Tomsk became such an issue and what role Ashurkov and the owner of shops from London played in the poisoning of Navalny, becomes clear if the history of their interaction with Navalny is traced.
This traces back to 2010, back then Navalny didn’t have his own “brand” yet and ran a political blog on the LiveJournal platform, which finally attracted the long-awaited attention of a potential investor. He was contacted by Vladimir Ashurkov, who from September 2006 to February 2012 was director of asset management and control at CTF Holdings Ltd, the managing company of the Alfa Group consortium.
Later, it was Ashurkov who brought Navalny to the public, providing contact with foreign financier William Browder and Evgeny Chichvarkin, who settled in London. This made it possible to build a strategy for creating their own brand and gaining influence on the social and political agenda. Big bets were placed on Navalny: he was supposed to create a broad democratic opposition movement.
Over the next few years, Ashurkov actively integrated Navalny into the global elite. He created a name, image, brand for a little-known blogger. He helped negotiate financing, leaked dirt for high-profile investigations and gave instructions for creating his own project. And in 2011, Navalny, together with Ashurkov, founded the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). In 2012, it became officially known about the cooperation of the top manager of “Alfa Group” with the opposition, because of which he had to leave his post.
Later, Ashurkov was officially included in Navalny’s team and appointed to the position of FBK’s executive director.
Time passed, the Anti-Corruption Foundation developed, gained an audience and launched new projects.
Alexei Navalny became the informal leader of the opposition, having received media and financial support from foreign investors and organizations, studied at Yale and concentrated the most numerous opposition movement in his hands.
FBK collected hundreds of millions of rubles in donations, and millions of dollars passed through the bitcoin wallet of the head of Navalny’s headquarters, Leonid Volkov.
However, it appears that Navalny gained quite a bit of confidence due to what was going on and then, suddenly, he began losing allies.
The first piece of news was the fact that Yevgeny Chichvarkin closed the “Fund for Fighting Corruption and Supporting Libertarianism” three months after its establishment.
The organization, created in London in November 2019, was supposed to streamline the financing of Navalny, carried out personally through Chichvarkin.
The liquidation of the fund took place on February 25, 2020, according to the information on the website of the UK Companies House.
The reason could be the conflict between Navalny, Chichvarkin and Khodorkovsky over calls not to protest against the amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the “Smart Vote” launched by FBK in 2019.
This likely relates to personal reasons: Khodorkovsky is a very close person to him and the godfather of his daughter. In addition, Navalny and Khodorkovsky have common sources of funding and backers who did not appreciate the opposition’s excessive independence.
As an NGO-foreign agent, FBK cannot legally use the smart vote technology and influence electoral processes, thereby endangering the existence of the organization and the funds invested in its work.
Against the background of all the accumulated issues, problems with a debt of 88 million to “Putin’s Chef” Yevgeny Prigozhin and the prospect of bankruptcy, a long-lasting and unresolved conflict began between Navalny, Ashurkov and other London oppositionists a few months ago.
A debt of 88 million rubles to “Putin’s Chef”, pushed Navalny to announce the liquidation of FBK on July 20.
According to Russian media sources close to FBK and Navalny, the decision was made without discussion with Ashurkov and Volkov.
“Naturally, Ashurkov did not like amateur performances. Too much has been invested in Navalny and FBK in 10 years to allow him to single-handedly close the office, transfer money to another legal entity and work through a new fund. There was also a question of the reputation of both Ashurkov himself, and people who support him,” the source said.
On July 22, Ashurkov called Navalny and demanded an explanation, offering two options for the development of events, according to the source.
“At first Ashurkov tried to explain that closing FBK, especially without consulting anyone, was impossible. Navalny was given an ultimatum, and the consequences of its liquidation – ‘If you switch to another legal entity, you return all the funds invested in you and the fund: you transfer all monetary and material assets, return the last 33 million invested in you from FBK accounts and your personal from foreign accounts.’
FBK is the one who can pay off the debts and will not allow the appointment of an arbitration manager who will have access to the entire financial history of the fund. In addition, Navalny must remove all films and investigations himself so that no one gets to them. This prospect made everyone very nervous. And Navalny also had to return all the shares that Ashurkov gave him to join the boards of directors of all major companies. in Russia for access to internal documentation and meetings. So Navalny collected the first materials for his investigations,” the source said.
Reportedly, Navalny reacted strongly and caused quite a conflict. And he had quite a bit of assets in FBK. As of 2012, his portfolio contained securities of 37 OJSCs, including Gazprom, Rosneft, Lukoil, Surgutneftegaz, VTB Bank and others.
After Ashurkov’s call, Navalny did not back down from his idea and continued to develop the topic of liquidating FBK, counting donations and helping people to re-register regular donations to new accounts.
At the same time, active exploitation of the topic continued to promote existing projects of the fund and increase the popularity of Navalny himself as a “victim of the regime.”
Observing the situation, Ashurkov on July 27 made a new attempt to discuss with Navalny further steps on the FBK. But this conversation also ended in a scandal through the fault of the oppositionist.
Navalny’s words about the absence of shares are indirectly confirmed by the presence of income from his wife.
Probably, two or three years ago, the oppositionist actually gave her securities. And having a debt of 29 million to Prigozhin, he also withdrew his personal funds from the accounts, simultaneously closing accounts in Alfa-Bank in July.
Now Navalny has 43,079 rubles at Tinkoff and 164,153 rubles at Raiffeisen. But these accounts were arrested in the framework of the case of money laundering in FBK.
A massive sum of money in treasures and various assets had disappeared.
In late July, however, Ashurkov called Navalny and told him that the conflict was behind them and everything was fine.
And on August 15, Navalny, together with his employees, as well as with Maria Pevchikh, who arrived in Russia on August 7, left for Novosibirsk.
Maria is a 33-year-old woman with an opaque life history and very interesting facts in her biography.
Despite the age of information technology and social networks, there is practically little information about Maria.
In 2008 she graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in Sociology. According to Russian sources, during the studying in the Moscow State University, she already had strong pro-British views, and was publicly declaring a goal to get a British citizenship. Later she graduated from the elite London School of Economics and Political Science. She has been living in Great Britain for a long time, and at the age of 22 she served as an assistant to one of the members of the British Parliament.
At the moment, she is in business, owning a chain of bookstores in the UK and Australia. Her exact level of income is unknown, but there was enough money for an apartment overlooking the Tower of London in the elite complex The Circle on Queen Elizabeth Street.
Her father, Konstantin Pevchikh, owns a research company and a biological laboratory. LLC “Fotisse” was registered at the end of July this year. There is no information on the scope of the organization. NIOBIS LLC has been developing projects for growing viruses and biological cells for ten years.
Maria Pevchikh has extensive business and political ties, including with Chichvarkin and Khodorkovsky. These both persons are widely known for their active anti-Russian position, involvement and funding of various anti-government campaigns in Russia and apparent ties with Western, mostly British, special services.
Navalny and Pevchikh have known each other for at least the last 10 years. Since 2010, at the request of Ashurkov, she has been providing information support to the oppositionist, providing information about the assets of high-ranking Russians in the UK for investigations.
Such data cannot be found in the public domain, and therefore there is reason to believe that Maria is cooperating with the European intelligence services and MI6.
The woman visits Russia two or three times a year, and secretly contacts Navalny. She herself does not take joint photos and videos, and hides her presence on the Internet through a VPN. During her visit to Russia, she practically does not leave Navalny, maintaining contact.
She also has a long-term relationship with Ashurkov: in 2013, she organized negotiations in Moscow between ex-Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt and adviser to the President of Lithuania on foreign policy issues Renaldas Vaisbrodas with Navalny and Ashurkov.
This is confirmed by a photo published by Nation News of Navalny and her.
She was reportedly constantly by Navalny’s side during his visit to Novosibirks and Tomsk, she, however, didn’t board the plane.
Now let’s put all the facts together. For the first time in ten years, invulnerable to the authorities and law enforcement officers, Navalny goes into a conflict with his allies and immediately finds himself in a coma.
At the same time, not somewhere in the center of Moscow, but on a business trip, where Ashurkov sent him to investigate and, moreover, sent a girl to him who works closely with him on political projects.
Then Germany allegedly discovered Novichok traces, and immediately accused Russia.
Meanwhile, Zimin, who paid for the flight, was dismissed as a suspect because he is a ‘generous philanthropist’, while Ashurkov and his accomplices remained in the shadows, controlling the situation in Germany through Maria, successfully getting rid of the powder keg, which was ready to explode at any moment.
As a result: Navalny is at death’s door. Russia is blamed for the entire fiasco.
But the tangle of strange coincidences is slowly beginning to unwind. And now the main thing for those who really wanted to remove Navalny was to have time to fan the hype so that everyone was looking for people with Novichok ampoules, and not those who really benefited from the blogger’s death.
Another side that gained profit from the ‘poisoning’ of Navalny is the part of the Euro-Atlantic establishment that stands against the closer Russian-German cooperation (for example Nord Stream 2 project) and the stabilization of the Western-Russian relations in general. In this case, the entire poisoning story may have been staged by British MI6 and affiliated structures and agents.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- The Navalny Case: Merkel vs. German Deep State
- Highly Likely Strikes Back: Navalny ‘Poisoning’ And Rift Within Russian Elites