Kremlin mocks Navalny for his phone call to alleged member of FSB hit squad
The YouTube video of Alexei Navalny speaking to a suspected FSB agent immediately became an online sensation - Navalny.com via Reuters / Navalny.com via Reuters
The Kremlin mocked Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, for claiming he managed to speak to one of the men allegedly involved in a botched conspiracy to kill him earlier this year, claiming he had one "Freudian fixation on his own crotch area". "
Mr Navalny, who had been in a coma for weeks after being poisoned by nerve agents, posted a 49-minute phone conversation Monday with one of the suspected Russian intelligence agents involved in the August attempt of his life.
The man, who apparently believed he was speaking to a senior intelligence official, overheard Mr. Navalny the operation and confessed that the FSB wanted to kill him.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters on Tuesday that he was speaking in person but felt it was necessary to say that, in his opinion, the politician was "very paranoid". "You can also see certain signs of megalomania clearly," he said.
Mr. Peskov also referred to the part of the phone conversation in which the alleged agent gave Mr. Navalny an extensive account of his nerve agent-smeared blue underpants and described the remarks as "Freudian fixation on his own crotch and so on".
The unfortunate agent spoke at length about the operation and at the end of the conversation asked Mr. Navalny, who pretended to be an advisor to FSB boss Nikolay Patrushev, whether it was okay to talk over an unsecured telephone line.
Identified as Konstantin Kudryavtsev, the man instantly turned into a prankster, and his revelation that the novichok nerve agent was smeared on Mr. Navalny's underpants led to countless internet memes.
When asked whether the call raised doubts about the competence of the Russian intelligence services, Mr. Peskov insisted on Tuesday that the FSB was "very efficient" in defending national security.
Mr Navalny, who had grown in prominence thanks to his investigations into official corruption, suddenly fell ill on a plane from Siberia to Moscow in August.
He was flown to Germany, where several independent laboratories confirmed that he was poisoned with the military nerve agent Novichok.
The top enemy of the Kremlin called the suspect agent last week just before the independent Bellingcat investigative group published a bomb investigation identifying FSB agents, including Mr Kudryavtsev, who followed Mr Navalny for days before he was poisoned.
Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed last week that FSB agents had indeed lagged behind Mr Navalny as a precaution, but insisted that no one would kill him.
The stunning video of Mr Navalny talking to the suspected agent on the phone received over 12 million views within 24 hours and prompted pro-democracy activists in several Russian cities to cut local FSB branches.
A famous Russian documentary filmmaker was arrested Tuesday afternoon when he was standing in front of the FSB headquarters in central Moscow holding a pair of underpants.
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