Navalny documentary wins Oscar

A CNN Films and HBO Max-produced movie about Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has won an Academy Award for best documentary.

The fly-on-the-wall production directed by Canadian filmmaker Daniel Roher details the Navalny’s alleged poisoning, which he blamed on the Russian government.

Roher received the award on Sunday alongside Navalny’s family during the Oscars ceremony at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. The film previously won several Western cinematography trophies, including at the Sundance Film Festival, the British Academy Film Awards, and the Producers Guild of America Awards.

Navalny, a veteran anti-corruption campaigner and opposition protest organizer, fell ill in August 2020 while on a domestic flight in Russia. After his plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, he was rushed to hospital, where doctors saved his life. He was later moved to Germany for treatment.

Navalny and his Western backers claimed he was poisoned with a chemical weapon deployed by agents of the Russian government. Moscow denied the allegations and said Germany and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had stonewalled Russian requests to participate in the investigation into the incident. Some Russian officials argued that the situation was likely orchestrated by Western special services in concert with Navalny’s team.

Navalny returned to Russia in January 2021, despite warnings by the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service that he would be arrested. At the time he was serving a suspended sentence and broke his parole terms by failing mandatory checks. The violation activated his suspended term, the prison agency said at the time.

Navalny had previously been found guilty of defrauding the Russian subsidiary of the French cosmetics producer Yves Rocher and another firm out of some $400,000. He claimed the case against him and his brother, who was a co-defendant, was fabricated and politically motivated.

The critically acclaimed documentary follows him, his family members and political associates from his time at the Charite clinic in Berlin to his arrest at a Moscow airport.

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