The hospital said in a statement on Wednesday morning that the Russian opposition politician’s condition had “improved sufficiently for him to be discharged from acute inpatient care”, and added that he had left on Tuesday.
“Based on the patient’s progress and current condition, the treating physicians believe that complete recovery is possible,” the statement said, adding that it was still not clear what the potential long-term effects of the poison would be.
In a new post on Instagram on Wednesday, Navalny complained that looking in the mirror, he thought he now resembled a Lord of the Rings character. He thanked the doctors at Charité for their “unbelievable work” and said he had asked to go somewhere “with trees” for rehabilitation and daily physiotherapy.
“There are several funny things going on. For example I can’t throw a ball with my left hand. I can catch it, but not throw it, my brain doesn’t want to make this movement.”
He said a neurologist had told him to improve his mental functions again he should read, write on social media and play video games, and said he was keen to acquire a PlayStation 5.
Navalny arrived in Berlin two days after he fell ill on a plane from Tomsk in Siberia to Moscow. The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, where he spent two days being treated by local doctors, who said they found no evidence of poisoning. Privately, doctors there told media outlets they believed it was poisoning.
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said laboratory tests “confirmed unequivocally” that a novichok nerve agent had been used on Navalny. German authorities say French and Swedish laboratories had confirmed their findings. Navalny’s associates say a key piece of evidence was a water bottle retrieved from Navalny’s hotel room in Tomsk by associates and handed to German doctors, on which traces of novichok were also found. This suggests he was poisoned before arriving at the airport.
Russian authorities have denied all involvement in the incident, alternately suggesting Navalny had not been poisoned, or that he may have been poisoned when already in Germany.
The French newspaper Le Monde on Tuesday reported, citing unnamed sources, that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, told his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, that Navalny was an “internet troublemaker” who may have poisoned himself.
Navalny made fun of the claim in an Instagram post. “I cooked up novichok in the kitchen, had a sip from the bottle in the plane and fell into a coma,” he wrote. “But Putin outplayed me … In the end, I spent 18 days in a coma like an idiot but failed to achieve my goal.”
The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, on Wednesday said Le Monde had misrepresented the call and its report was “imprecise”. He said Navalny was free to return to Russia “like any other Russian citizen” and, in keeping with the Kremlin’s convention of not using his name, said he welcomed news that “the patient really is getting better.”
Navalny, who runs a foundation that exposes corruption among high-ranking officials and was barred from running for president against Putin in 2018, is the most prominent opposition figure in the country. His associates have frequently been attacked or arrested.
It was not clear whether Navalny would return to Russia immediately. Previously, he said he planned to return as soon as he could. “No other options were ever considered,” his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said last week.