Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russian Activist Verzilov 'Arrives In Germany' To Begin Treatment


Pyotr Verzilov is chased by a steward during a World Cup protest on July 15.

Russian activist Pyotr Verzilov, a member of the anti-Kremlin rock band Pussy Riot and the dissident art troupe Voina, has reportedly arrived in Berlin on a medical flight from Moscow to continue treatment following a suspected poisoning.

German tabloid newspaper Bild reported on September 15 that the 30-year-old Verzilov is set to be transported to an unnamed Berlin clinic as family members say he has lost his sight and his ability to walk or speak but that he has regained consciousness.

The paper said his former wife, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, was waiting for Verzilov at Berlin's Schoenefeld Airport when he arrived.

"I believe that he was poisoned intentionally, and that it was an attempt to intimidate him or kill him," the paper quoted her as saying.

The newspaper displayed a video of what it said was Verzilov on the plane at the Berlin airport. It appeared to show him sitting up with assistance. The report said Verzilov's mother was also on board the craft.

Earlier on September 15, the Meduza website quoted Verzilov's partner, Veronika Nikulshina, as saying a doctor from a clinic in Berlin and a friend of Verzilov's father recommended care outside of Russia for Verzilov.

Verzilov's condition has improved, but he still has "delusions and hallucinations," she was quoted as saying.

"He is communicating better, but he is always asleep because he is tired," she added.

Verzilov, a co-founder of the Mediazona website, which reports on trials of Russian activists, was being treated in the toxicology section of Moscow's Bakhrushin City Clinical Hospital.

Earlier this year Verzilov, who is also a Canadian citizen, was sentenced along with Pussy Riot members to 15 days in jail for briefly interrupting the July 15 World Cup final in Moscow between France and Croatia by running onto the field wearing fake police uniforms.

Verzilov became known as a member of Voina (War) in the late 2000s.

He performed with then-wife Nadezhda, who went on to form punk protest band Pussy Riot with Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova founded Mediazona in 2014, with Verzilov becoming publisher. The site focuses on trials of arrested activists in Russia.

With reporting by Bild, Meduza, and Reuters
  • 16x9 Image

    RFE/RL's Russian Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Svoboda is the leading international broadcaster in Russia. As Russia witnesses increasing control of the media by state authorities, Radio Svoboda has become a key forum for those who lack access to other means of free expression.

XS
SM
MD
LG