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Russian Opposition Journalist Reportedly Poisoned in Georgia

According to the Russian internet publication The Insider’s investigative report published on August 15 several Russian opposition journalists have been poisoned recently in foreign countries, in connection to their professional activity, among those Irina Babloyan, who was reportedly poisoned in Tbilisi, Georgia.

According to the publication Ekho Moskvy journalist Irina Babloyan moved from Moscow to Tbilisi in mid-October and stayed at the King Tamar hotel. On the evening of October 25, she she began to feel as if she had come down with something and woke up the next morning with severe weakness and dizziness.

On the evening of 26 October, the palm and plantar syndrome appeared – the palms of her hands turned purple and burned, as if “you were holding fire in your hands”, and the same happened to her feet. Despite these strange initial symptoms, Irina went to Yerevan, Armenia, where she travelled by car on the night of October 27. In the car, her condition worsened, her brain became foggy and she could not concentrate. “You lie down, but the feeling of fatigue doesn’t go away, as if you can’t rest. I had the feeling that my body didn’t belong to me anymore, it became cotton wool, there was a lot of anxiety”.

In Yerevan, her symptoms worsened, she had stomach pains, nausea and a metallic taste in her mouth – symptoms very similar to those of other poisoning victims, such as Medusa correspondent Elena Kostyuchenko, who was allegedly poisoned in Ukraine.

Irina did not consult a toxicologist immediately after the symptoms appeared – she could not believe that anyone would want to poison her. When she moved to Berlin a few months later, she gave blood for a toxicology test. However, she was later told by the laboratory that her blood samples had been ‘lost’ and instead the police came and questioned Irina thoroughly about the circumstances of the case. Irina recently had another toxicology test, but it was so late that it is virtually impossible to find any traces of toxins.

According to the publication, unlike Elena Kostyuchenko’s case, Irina Babloyan’s is more difficult to diagnose as poisoning because there are too few results of medical analyses. However, according to the experts interviewed by The Insider, the clinical picture described by Irina cannot be convincingly explained by the presence of any known disease, so the version of exogenous poisoning seems more likely. The similarity of the symptoms to those described by Elena Kostyuchenko suggests that the same or a similar poison may have been used, but it is difficult to say what kind of poison was used.

Taking into account a trend and a number of verified cases of the poisoning of the individuals opposing and criticizing the Kremlin policy, such as Alexander Litvinenko, Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Kara-Murza, the Sergei Skripal case, and others, the stories of the poisoned journalists acquire credibility. has contacted the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Georgian State Security Service for comment on the case, which will be reflected in this news as soon as we receive further information.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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