Accessibility links

Breaking News

Kremlin Critic's Father Believes Son Was Poisoned

Vladimir Kara-Murza (left) was once a political ally of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov (right), who was shot dead in central Moscow in February.

The father of a Russian opposition activist who mysteriously fell ill in Moscow last week says he believes his son was poisoned.

Vladimir Kara-Murza, host of a talk show on RFE/RL's Russian Service, said on June 4 that he came to the conclusion that his son was poisoned after doctors were unable to determine the exact cause of his sudden illness.

The son, also named Vladimir Kara-Murza, was rushed to hospital in Moscow on May 26 with symptoms of kidney failure and subsequently fell into coma.

"Doctors have not been able to establish the exact cause of the illness. We are tired of that and of ridiculous suggestions about a routine food poisoning circulating in media," the elder Kara-Murza said. "Those who ate with him that day are all right. He was the only one who abruptly felt extremely unwell hours after eating that day. Now we have all reasons to suggest that my son was poisoned."

The younger Kara-Murza, 33, is a coordinator for Open Russia, a nongovernmental organization run by former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin who spent over a decade in prison in Russia and now lives in Switzerland.

Open Russia recently released a documentary critical of the Kremlin-backed leader of Russia's Chechnya region, Ramzan Kadyrov.

On June 3, the younger Kara-Murza's wife, Yevgenia, said her husband had come out of the coma and recognized relatives.

The elder Kara-Murza told RFE/RL that his son was under heavy medication and could not yet explain what happened.

Kara-Murza's family had earlier said that no evidence of foul play had emerged.

In addition to his work with Open Russia, the younger Kara-Murza was once a political ally of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead in central Moscow in February.

The younger Kara-Murza serves as a senior member of the opposition RPR-Parnas party, which Nemtsov co-founded.

The younger Kara-Murza is a dual Russian-British citizen who, together with his wife and children, is based in Washington, where he serves as a key liaison between Russian opposition groups and top American policymakers. He travels frequently to Russia to conduct seminars and other events for opposition activists.