Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has said he is recovering his verbal and physical abilities at the German hospital where he is being treated for suspected Novichok poisoning.
Mr Navalny said he first felt despair over his condition after falling ill on a domestic flight to Moscow on August 20 before being transferred to Germany for treatment two days later.
A German military lab later determined that the Russian politician – President Vladimir Putin’s most visible opponent – was poisoned with the nerve agent, the same class of Soviet-era material used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in 2018.
Mr Navalny was kept in an induced coma for more than a week while being treated with an antidote.
He said in a post on Instagram that once he was brought out of the coma, he was confused and could not find the words to respond to a doctor’s questions.
“Although I understood in general what the doctor wanted, I did not understand where to get the words. In what part of the head do they appear in?” Mr Navalny wrote in the post, which accompanied a photo of him on a staircase.
“Now I’m a guy whose legs are shaking when he walks up the stairs, but he thinks: ‘Oh, this is a staircase! They go up it. Perhaps we should look for an elevator,’” Mr Navalny said.
“And before, I would have just stood there and stared.”
The doctors treating him at Berlin’s Charite hospital “turned me from a ‘technically alive person’ into someone who has every chance to become the Highest Form of Being in Modern Society again — a person who can quickly scroll through Instagram and without hesitation understands where to put likes,” he wrote.
The Kremlin has repeatedly said that before Mr Navalny’s transfer to Berlin, Russian labs and a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk found no sign of a poisoning.
Moscow has urged Germany to provide its evidence, and bristled at calls from German chancellor Angela Merkel and other western leaders for answers about what happened to Mr Navalny.
“There is too much absurdity in this case to take anyone at their word,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.
Mr Peskov also accused Mr Navalny’s colleagues of hampering a Russian investigation by taking items from his hotel room out of the country, including a water bottle they claimed had traces of the nerve agent.
Mr Navalny’s colleagues said that they removed the bottle and other items from the hotel room in the Siberian city of Tomsk Siberia and brought them to Germany as potential evidence. because they did not trust Russian authorities to conduct a proper probe.