Someone should know the whole truth about what actually happened to Alexei Navalny on board the flight from Tomsk.

Motive, who, how and where brought the plan to fruition.

Let's try to untangle at least a small part of this tangle and see where it takes us.

Today we will talk about Maria Pevchikh, allegedly the head of the investigation department at the Anti-Corruption Foundation *. 

But her name is not on the list of employees, nor among the executors of those projects of the foundation, in which she, according to her, took part.

In fact, just a month ago, very few people heard about her.

Even the former deputy head of Navalny's Moscow headquarters hardly remembered her.

“I didn't remember her right away, but I did.

I saw her in 2016 at one of the internal events.

I have already said that Navalny treated her in a special way, this is not just some ordinary employee, despite her age.

He treated her with special reverence, respectful, emphatically respectful, and communicated as an equal.

This, in general, is not in the habits of Alexei - to communicate with someone on an equal footing.

Because machismo always prevails in it: here I am, descended from my throne, laugh at my jokes.

It wasn't with her.

We had relatively equal communication with her, which underlines a certain foreign mysterious status, ”says Vitaly Serukanov. 

Let's follow the elusive Maria on the fatal day for the Navalny flight and the days to follow.

So, August 20th.

Navalny flies from Tomsk to Moscow, and Maria remains in Siberia - she had to finish some business. 

At 08:25 the pilot requests permission for an emergency landing in Omsk.

Five minutes later he was told that there was a threat of mining at the Omsk airport.

As a result, it turned out that the threat was not confirmed, but where did it come from?  

“Taking into account the information in the media that the deliberately false report about mined institutions in the city of Omsk was made in order to prevent the emergency landing of a scheduled plane, including Navalny, investigators are working out additional versions of what happened.

The verification found that the anonymous message was sent through a postal service that provides free temporary email services.

The servers of this mail service are located on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany, ”the Russian Interior Ministry said. 

After a successful landing, Navalny was urgently hospitalized.

At this time, Maria decides to return to the hotel room where he lived and look for possible evidence there.

With the collected material evidence, she flies to Omsk to Navalny. 

Two days later, she is already on a special flight, together with Navalny and his wife Yulia, heading to Berlin.

And Mary, as a friendly person, a European living in London, is welcomed with open arms. 

“So they are sure that she does not work for the FSB.

There are no fools in the modern world.

This means that they are sure that a person is not dangerous for their country.

They fully understand what kind of person he is, ”says Serukanov. 

Navalny was greeted with all the honors and quickly taken away in a military ambulance to the Charite hospital.

He is even visited by a very distinguished guest. 

“It was a private meeting between the chancellor and Mr. Navalny.

It was a meeting with a person who fell ill as a result of an attack with the use of a nerve agent, who is receiving medical assistance in Germany, ”commented Steffen Seibert, spokesman for the Cabinet of Ministers of the Federal Republic of Germany.

That is, the head of state pays a visit to a foreign citizen in the midst of an epidemic?  

Meanwhile, Maria Pevchikh perfectly played the role of an assistant investigator from a detective novel, taking with her the most convincing evidence.

She smuggled a deadly poisonous substance from a hotel room in Siberia through several airports.

  • © REUTERS / Fabrizio Bensch

“It was strategically packaged in different places because we understood that, no matter what, these bottles are just bottles, nothing significant.

But there is a microscopic chance that they will be valuable.

If we hadn't taken them from Tomsk, they would have become garbage.

There is no doubt that now these bottles would be gone, ”Pevchikh said in an interview with the BBC.

These unfinished bottles of water became the main evidence, because on the basis of their analysis, German laboratories determined the presence of a Novichok, which provoked a diplomatic scandal. 

An ideal version leading to the conclusion that an overly active oppositionist was poisoned by the dogs of an authoritarian regime has been built.

The case can be closed.

Or not? 

“During the pre-flight inspection of Maria Pevchikh at Tolmachevo airport (Novosibirsk), there were no containers with a volume of more than 100 ml in her suitcase and backpack, including a bottle of water.

After passing the pre-flight inspection, Maria Pevchikh bought a 500 ml bottle of Holy Spring water in a vending machine in the sterile zone of the airport, with which she flew to the city of Omsk, ”the Russian Interior Ministry noted. 

So, we do not know for certain who this woman is, and now, in the light of the bottle smuggling story, her role becomes even more mysterious.

But no one asked questions or tried to find answers.

The suspicions were clothed in the form of a political decision.

“We believe that there is no plausible explanation for the poisoning of Mr. Navalny other than Russia's involvement and responsibility.

Drawing the necessary conclusions on the basis of these facts, France and Germany will acquaint their European partners with proposals for additional sanctions, ”the French and German Foreign Ministry said in a joint statement. 

Someone has already found a motive, a weapon, and a criminal.

And he even decided what punishment he should bear.  

“Is it possible that someone transported material evidence containing the Novichok chemical warfare agent, but no one around was poisoned or injured?

At first glance, this is difficult to imagine.

If we recall the incident with the Skripals in England, then, in addition to them, two more people who were in contact with the Novichok became victims of poisoning.

Anyone who looks at the current situation will find it implausible.

If you are transporting a Novichok, you, by definition, infect others and those who come in contact with you, ”explains political scientist Martin McCauley.

But in fact - the further, the more questions.

Obviously, this is not a primitive detective story, but a thriller, where the mystery is still very far from the solution.

* The Fund for the Fight against Corruption (FBK) is included in the register of NPOs performing the functions of a foreign agent, by decision of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation dated 09.10.2019.