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Vladimir Putin 'gave the order' to free Navalny before 'murder' as cover-up plot exposed

Russian President Vladimir Putin may have given the order to exchange opposition leader Alexei Navalny just hours before his tragic death on February 16.

The alleged exchange would have involved Navalny for Russians arrested in the West, and the plot thickened with claims of a potential cover-up or strategic move to manipulate negotiations.

According to four sources familiar with the exchange plans, as reported by the Telegram channel News Agency, Putin discussed the potential deal during a morning meeting with billionaire Roman Abramovich, approximately four hours before the first report of Navalny’s death in the Kharp colony village.

One source suggested that Putin verbally agreed to the exchange during this meeting.

Journalist Hristo Grozev said: “From what we knew in the last days before the murder, it was the impression that he (even to the surprise of the negotiators on the Russian side) agreed.”

However, Grozev raised suspicions that this agreement might have been a deceptive tactic, either as a “cover-up for murder plans” or a strategic move to conclude negotiations.

One source interpreted Putin’s possible agreement as a “cold-blooded decision to order Navalny’s murder” upon learning of the West’s readiness to extradite Vadim Krasikov, a Russian special services officer sentenced to life in Germany.

Another source, an acquaintance of Abramovich, urged caution, emphasising the need to await the results of the investigation into Navalny’s death.

The intricate web of the exchange deal allegedly involved not only Navalny but also other individuals.

The Russian side reportedly offered to extradite Navalny to Germany and the United States in exchange for several prisoners, including Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich and retired American Marine Paul Whelan.

Meanwhile, Western countries were allegedly prepared to extradite Krasikov, convicted in Germany, and some Russians convicted in the United States, with mention of Vladislav Klyushin, the founder of the M13 company, surfacing during negotiations.

Negotiations for the exchange had been ongoing since at least the spring of the previous year, with Germany expressing initial agreement in the summer of 2023. The exchange operation faced a setback in September 2023 after The Wall Street Journal exposed the plans.

However, discussions resurfaced in December, gaining momentum when Navalny was transferred to a polar colony above the Arctic Circle.

The finalisation of the exchange plan allegedly occurred during a meeting between US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in early February.

Several high-ranking Russian emissaries, including Abramovich, had been sent to Putin in the preceding months, with the Kremlin’s agreement to discuss Navalny’s exchange initially conveyed by the head of Putin’s administration, Anton Vaino.


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