She was arrested outside the penal colony where Alexei Navalny is staying. She wanted to find out what his state of health was, demanded that medics she trusted be admitted to him. Who is Anastasia Vasilyeva?
On Tuesday, Vasiliev and several activists from the Alliance of Physicians came to Pokrov in the Volodymyr Oblast, where Alexey Navalny is serving a 2.5-year sentence. The Alliance of Physicians is an independent trade union in Russia cooperating with the Alexei Navalny Foundation for Fighting Corruption. In early March, it was recognized by the authorities as an organization acting as a “foreign agent”.
Vasilyeva was not allowed to enter Navalny. As reported by the BBC, doctors and journalists stood at the entrance to the penal colony for about three hours. Later, female prisoners arrived, and the police began warning those gathered that they were disrupting the work of the facility. A few minutes later, Vasiliev was arrested. Ksenia Pachomova, the chief of staff of Navalny in Kemerovo, and several other people, including the operator of the American television channel CNN, were also crammed into the prisoner.
– If necessary, we will come back here with tents – Vasiliev told the BBC. Who is she?
A visit to an ophthalmologist after an attack by an unknown perpetrator
Anastasia Vasilyeva specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic eye diseases. The BBC recalled that the doctor met Navalny a few years ago, while working at a private clinic in Chaika in Moscow. The opposition activist then needed the help of an ophthalmologist after an incident which took place at the end of April 2017, when in front of the office of the Foundation for Combating Corruption in Moscow an unknown perpetrator doused him with disinfectant in Russia it is called green grass. The substance got into the right eye.
In a telephone conversation, Vasiliev recommended Navalny – she did not know at the time that he was a famous blogger, politician and critic of the Kremlin – to use eye drops. Later, she wanted to see how she was doing. When he replied that it was wrong, she asked him to come to the clinic. When she examined him, she decided that the matter was more serious, that her patient might lose an eye. – I contacted Dr. Guell, he is one of the best specialists in Spain, he performs a corneal transplant – Vasiliev told journalists. Navalny underwent surgery in Barcelona. She did.
After my mother was fired from her job
Anastasia Vasilyeva founded the Physicians Alliance after her mother, also an ophthalmologist, was fired from her job. In an interview with Radio Swoboda, the activist mentioned that she was looking for lawyers to help in her mother’s case. She also turned to Navalny. The defense lawyer indicated by the opposition won the case in court. The mother returned to work at the Moscow Research Institute of Eye Diseases.
There has been much speculation in the pro-government media about Vasilyeva’s connections with the Federal Security Service. Her ex-husband’s father was an FSB general. The woman replied that she rarely contacted him and never asked him for help. – We all have relatives. My grandmother’s brother was a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU. I found out about it recently. I was surprised – she confessed. Vasilyeva also said that she had previously been apolitical and treated Vladimir Putin well, and was convinced that she was living “in a wonderful country with a wonderful president.”
At the end of March, Navalny’s defenders announced that they suffered from severe back and leg pain and needs medical attention. The opposition activist runs a hunger strike in the penal colony, demanding that it be watched by the famous Moscow neurologist Alexei Barinov. Instead, Navalny was examined (in mid-March by a doctor appointed by the prison services. He promised to provide the opposition’s lawyers with the documentation with the diagnosis and treatment. Both Navalny and his lawyers have not met her so far.
“Without proper treatment, every missed minute of Alexei Navalny’s hunger protest can lead to a further worsening of toxic polyneuropathy, nervous impairment, up to coma and death,” the Physicians Alliance said in a statement.
BBC, Radio Swoboda, tvn24.pl
Main photo source: SERGEI ILNITSKY / PAP / EPA