Officials in Russia's Omsk region says regional Health Minister Aleksandr Murakhovsky, who was the head doctor at the hospital that treated opposition politician Aleksei Navalny last August, has been found alive after going missing under mysterious circumstances.
Murakhovsky, who had been missing since May 7, came out of a forest some 32 kilometers from the site where he disappeared while hunting, the government's press service told the state TASS news agency on May 10.
"The health minister of the Omsk region, Aleksandr Murakhovsky, came out to the people near the village of Basly. His state of health is normal," the statement said, adding that he is being examined by medical personnel at a hospital in the Bolsheukovsky district.
Murakhovsky's disappearance raised eyebrows after two other doctors at the hospital where Navalny was treated for a poison attack have died in recent months.
He went missing after he left a hunting base on an all-terrain vehicle on May 7. His acquaintances reported his disappearance to the police the next day.
Emergency services, hunting inspectors, employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, police officers, and local residents were involved in a search for Murakhovsky.
Murakhovsky was the head doctor at the hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk that treated Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic. A few months later, he was appointed health minister for the Omsk region.
Navalny was admitted to the hospital on August 20 after he became ill on an airplane, forcing his flight to make an emergency landing in Omsk.
Initially, doctors at the hospital publicly admitted that the cause of Navalny’s illness was poison, but then later denied it. After tense negotiations with the authorities, Navalny was airlifted to Germany for further treatment that likely saved his life.
Murakhovsky, a member of the ruling United Russia party, delayed Navalny's transfer to Berlin for two days after announcing that Navalny's grave health condition was caused by a "metabolic disorder."
Navalny, who returned to Russia from Germany in January, is currently serving a 2 1/2-year prison sentence on embezzlement charges that he says were trumped up because of his political activity. A Moscow court in February ruled that, while in Germany, Navalny violated the terms of parole from the embezzlement case.
Navalny recently ended a hunger strike to demand he be examined by his own doctors amid what he has described as a “deliberate campaign” by Russian prison officials to undermine his health.
Two other doctors at the Omsk hospital where Navalny was treated have died in recent months.
The Omsk emergency hospital No. 1 said in March that Rustam Agishev, head of the trauma and orthopedics department, died due to complications after suffering a stroke in December.
Agishev’s death followed the death in February of Sergei Maksimishin, deputy chief physician for anesthesiology and resuscitation at the hospital. Officials said at the time that Maksimishin died of a heart attack.