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Prominent Kremlin Critic Hospitalized In Moscow

Vladimir Kara-Murza attends the second meeting of the recently elected Opposition Coordination Council in Moscow in November 2012.
Vladimir Kara-Murza attends the second meeting of the recently elected Opposition Coordination Council in Moscow in November 2012.

A prominent Russian opposition activist and grassroots political organizer who has lobbied U.S. officials to sanction Kremlin loyalists has been hospitalized in Moscow after suddenly falling ill.

Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr., was admitted to a hospital in the Russian capital on May 26 after reportedly suffering a drop in blood pressure and losing consciousness.

Kara-Murza, 33, serves as a regional coordinator for Open Russia, a nongovernmental organization founded by former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin who spent over a decade in prison in Russia and now lives in Switzerland.

Kara-Murza is also a senior member of the opposition party RPR-Parnas, which was co-founded by slain Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov.

Vadim Prokhorov, a lawyer for RPR-Parnas, was quoted by the Russian newspaper Kommersant as saying on that doctors initially believed he may have been poisoned, though no formal diagnosis had been announced.

Kommersant quoted Kara-Murza's father as saying that his son might have suffered an allergic reaction or from "irregular meals" and "little sleep," adding that it is too early to accuse "enemy poisoners" of involvement.

Kara-Murza's father, also named Vladimir, is a journalist with RFE/RL's Russian Service. He was quoted by Russian news agency RBC as saying that doctors said his son's kidneys had been impacted and that the illness could have resulted from food poisoning.

Open Russia said on its website on May 27 that Kara-Murza had initially been hospitalized with suspected heart problems but that doctors later ruled out that diagnosis.

Andrei Bystrov, an opposition activist, said in a May 27 tweet that he was with Kara-Murza's father and that doctors said Kara-Murza, Jr. suffered a "serious poisoning."

"Everything is OK with the heart. He should recover," Bystrov wrote.

Kara-Murza has lived and worked as a journalist and political commentator in Washington for more than a decade but traveled frequently to Russia, where he organized seminars and other events for opposition activists.

He fell ill a day after Open Russia released a documentary film accusing the government of Russia's republic of Chechnya of corruption and human rights abuses under the region's strongman leader, Kremlin ally Ramzan Kadyrov.

Together with former Russian prime minster and current Kremlin opponent Mikhail Kasyanov, Kara-Murza last month lobbied U.S. lawmakers in Washington to impose sanctions on Russian television "propagandists" they accuse of spearheading a media vilification campaign that they say helped lead to Nemtsov's assassination near the Kremlin on February 27.

With reporting by Kommersant, The Guardian,,, and
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