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“The Poisoning”: an AFP documentary podcast on the Navalny saga

Alexei Navalny is arguably the most divisive figure in Russian politics, and certainly President Vladimir Putin’s most determined and well-known opponent. He was nearly poisoned to death in August 2020 in Siberia, and is now in a highsecurity prison. In a five-part documentary podcast, AFP takes you through the events -- worthy of a spy novel -- that have been unfolding for more than a year in Russia.

Four AFP journalists (Antoine Boyer, Sarah-Lou Lepers in Paris, Jonathan Brown and Andrea Palasciano in Moscow) have immersed themselves in this saga, which says so much about Russia, Europe’s biggest and most unpredictable neighbour. They have produced a first-hand look at a piece of Russian history, with exclusive accounts from the former UN rapporteur on the poisoning Agnès Callamard, Russian parliament deputy speaker Pyotr Tolstoy, poisoned Kremlin opponent Vladimir Kara-Murza, and many activists and academics.

Is there any real opposition left in Russia? What do we know about the poisoning? Who really is Alexei Navalny – a social media star, a hero to some, a racist nationalist to others and an agent of the West according to Russian authorities? Why have his anti-corruption investigations hit such a nerve? And do we have anything to fear from Russia? The answers are to be found in this astounding series produced in French and English, which combines first-hand accounts, in-person reporting and precious sound archives drawn from 10 years’ worth of AFPTV’s video production. The first four episodes will be broadcast from September 16, before parliamentary elections in Russia scheduled from September 17 to 19. In French, the series will be broadcast Saturday and Sunday, September 18 and 19. A fifth episode, looking to the future, will be broadcast in October.

Subscribe now wherever you listen to podcasts.

“The Poisoning” will also be broadcast on the website of the European Data News Hub (, a consortium of European media dedicated to major debate topics of in the EU.


Episode 1: “The Crackdown” – The Russian opposition’s year of hell.

Episode 2: “Novichok” – A “kiss of death” is what Navalny says he felt on board a plane over Siberia. But how was he poisoned and by whom?

Episode 3: “Hi, it’s Navalny” – Facing certain imprisonment, Navalny returns to Russia. AFPTV was with him on the plane. But who is this man some call a hero and others denounce as a nationalist or Western agent?

Episode 4: “The Palace” – How Navalny’s dogged investigations into corruption made him Putin’s most troublesome opponent.

Episode 5: Now what? What does the future hold for Russia?


Since March 2021, AFP has been broadcasting – in French only - Sur le fil, a native news podcast presented by Antoine Boyer and Sarah-Lou Lepers, from Monday to Friday. A short format, from three to five minutes, both intimate and rigorous, that takes news directly from the source thanks to the Agency’s unparalleled network of journalists deployed in 151 countries.

Sur le fil can be found in the Mon Daily playlist on Spotify and on all listening platforms.


About AFP:

AFP is a leading global news agency providing fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the events shaping our world and of the issues affecting our daily lives. Drawing from an unparalleled news gathering network across 151 countries, AFP is also a world leader in digital verification. With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world in six languages, with a unique quality of multimedia storytelling spanning video, text, photos and graphics.


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