- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Russian opposition leader and presidential hopeful Alexei Navalny on Tuesday said he’s lost most of the vision in his right eye after being doused with chemicals last week for the second time in two months.

Mr. Navalny, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was assaulted with a green liquid outside his Moscow office on Thursday and was hospitalized briefly afterwards with chemical burns to his right eye. He blamed Mr. Putin’s administration in the aftermath and now says the president’s policies are preventing him from seeking medical treatment outside Russia.

In a blog post Tuesday, Mr. Navalny wrote that he’s lost 80 percent of his vision on account of last week’s attack.

“For now the loss of sight is not irreversible,” he wrote in Russian. “I’m being actively treated and there’s hope I will be healed.”

Mr. Navalny said he hoped to travel to specialized clinics in Switzerland or Spain but is barred from traveling abroad on account of a controversial embezzlement conviction currently complicating matters for the opposition leader in more ways than one. In addition to resulting in the suspension of Mr. Navalny’s passport for five years, the conviction – a politically-charged one, by his own account – precludes him from challenging Mr. Putin in next year’s election pending appeal.

On Sunday, Mr. Navalny outright blamed the Putin regime for nearly blinding him in last week’s attack.

“I have no doubt — and my confidence is based on facts — that the presidential administration organized this attack,” he wrote.

Last week’s assault marked the second endured by Mr. Navalny in as many months, and occurred amid a wave of similar attacks across Russia involving “zelenka,” a caustic, green anti-septic. The following day, for example, fellow opposition activist Natalia Fedorova was similarly assaulted with green chemicals and “almost blinded,” according to opposition party leaders.

Russia’s Interior Ministry acknowledged Thursday’s assault afterwards. As of Tuesday, however, Mr. Navalny said authorities have failed so far to initiatiate any investigation into the matter, according to his latest blog post.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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