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The Man Putin Couldn’t Kill Premieres Thurs 4 Nov on SBS

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In August 2020, on a flight to Moscow, Russia’s charismatic opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, started to scream in agony.

The flight immediately diverted to the nearest city and he was rushed unconscious to hospital. What happened next shook the world.

With interviews almost entirely from those ‘in the room’, this film pieces together this incredible story. World leaders pressure President Putin to allow Navalny to be airlifted to a hospital in Berlin experienced in saving the lives of those targeted for poisoning by the Kremlin’s security services.

Investigators from Bellingcat prove that not only was Navalny poisoned by an FSB hit squad, but that they had been following him for several years, and developing new variants of the banned chemical weapon, Novichok – first used against the Skripals in Salisbury.

This unbelievable tale of international espionage and incompetent assassins comes to a head with one of the would-be murderers confessing to his victim exactly how the poison was administered – applied to the seams of Navalny’s underpants.

Why is Alexei Navalny such a threat to one of the world’s most powerful men, how does he remain an irritant from inside a Russian jail, and how will this battle between two men – one with a team of assassins, the other armed only with a sense of humour, intrepid investigators, and a mastery of social media – play out, and what will that mean for the future of Russia and the rest of the world?

Told by those closest to Navalny, this film incorporates the humour of Navalny’s own YouTube videos to tell a tale worthy of John le Carre.

The Man Putin Couldn’t Kill premieres Thursday, 4 November at 9.30pm on SBS and On Demand