OMSK, Russia -- The head of the trauma and orthopedics department at the Russian hospital where opposition politician Aleksei Navalny was treated for poisoning last summer has died.
The Omsk emergency hospital No. 1 said in a statement that Rustam Agishev passed away on March 26.
"In December last year, Rustam Agishev suffered a stroke and was unable to get over that illness," according to the statement, which did not mention foul play as a possible cause of death.
Navalny was admitted to the acute-poisoning unit of the hospital on August 20 after he became ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow.
Initially, doctors at the hospital publicly admitted that the cause of Navalny's illness was poisoning, but then denied that it was.
Agishev's death comes two months after the death of the deputy chief physician for anesthesiology and resuscitation at the hospital.
Sergei Maksimishin died in his ward from a heart attack, the press service of the regional Health Ministry said on February 4. He was 55.
In October, another deputy chief physician at the hospital, Anatoly Kalinichenko, quit his job, saying that he moved to a private clinic because of his "love of surgery more than to be an administrator."
When Navalny was rushed to the clinic with poisoning symptoms in August 2020, Kalinichenko, who was initially responsible for his medical care, communicated with the media and doctors in Germany, where Navalny was later transferred.
However, the hospital's chief physician, Aleksandr Murakhovsky, a member of the ruling United Russia party, soon took over communication with media and announced that Navalny's grave health condition was caused by a "metabolic disorder."
Murakhovsky, who also delayed Navalny's transfer to Berlin for two days, was later appointed health minister for the Omsk region.
Navalny was put into a medically induced coma and evacuated to Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the poisoning. Tests in Europe determined that the toxin was from the Novichok family of Soviet-era nerve agents.
Navalny, who returned to Russia from Germany in January, is currently incarcerated in Correctional Colony No. 2, about 100 kilometers from Moscow.
A Moscow court in February ruled that while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an older embezzlement case that is widely considered to be politically motivated.
His suspended 3 1/2-year sentence was converted into jail time, though the court reduced that amount to 2 1/2 years for time already served in detention.
Navalny's allies said on March 24 they were concerned over his deteriorating health and called on prison authorities to clarify his condition.
Members of the Public Oversight Commission in the Vladimir region met with Navalny on March 28, and Vyacheslav Kulikov, the chairman of the commission, said in a statement that Navalny complained about pain in his leg during the meeting and asked for assistance in getting injections to treat it.
Kulikov also said Navalny was able to walk and did not voice any other complaints. He said Navalny's request for injections had been officially registered.
"We asked doctors to pay attention to this and, in case it is necessary, to carry out an additional medical checkup," Kulikov said.
Correctional Colony No. 2 is known as one of the toughest penitentiaries in Russia.