Natalia Arno, a Russian brave activist claims that, Russian president Putin poisoned her with nerve toxins twice and made her flee the country. However in this piece Biography and Why was she poisoned explored.
She stated that the activities of government members did not frighten her, but she did remember being forced to flee her native country at gunpoint.
Natalia went further claim that she chose to leave the country because security officers had told her to either leave the country or live her life for a limited period.
Who is Natalia Arno?
Natalia Arno is an activist and the founder of the Free Russia Foundation, has been under Russian authorities’ monitoring for decades.
Natalia, 47, had been working with the International Republican Institute for eleven years before forming the Free Russia Foundation, including six years as IRI Russia Country Director.
Natalia represented Russia in the World Summit of Women Leaders in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 2009.
Why Natalia Arno Was Poisoned?
In revealing why she was poisoned, Madam Natalia she he was travelling through Europe in May when she was poisoned by an unknown chemical, leaving her paralysed and in pain.
Foreign Agents will chronicle the lives of those forced to flee Russia by Vlad’s brutal rule.
“Kremlin’s regime is murderous. Transnational operations like this are a key tool for them,” Natalia told The Sun.
“The Kremlin has very long tentacles in the West. The enemy is too powerful. We should be smarter.”
Natalia went to her hotel room in Prague at 7.30 p.m. on May 2 after private event to discover the door ajar – and immediately assumed an FSB officer was waiting for her.
She found everything just as she had left it, but she noted a “strange” perfume-like smell.
The hotel receptionist informed her that the maid had most likely left the door open and that they would look into it for her.”
Natalia fell asleep for a few hours and awoke in excruciating pain, particularly in her teeth and tongue.
She took some pain killers, supposing she had a dental problem.
However, the pain increased and spread throughout her body a few hours later, as her eyesight blurred and her arms and legs went numb.
Natalia waited to visit a doctor before boarding a flight back to the United States, where she was rushed to the hospital.
“I didn’t want to take any painkillers so I could have clean tests,” she said.
“My team members advised me to have tests for heavy metals and other kinds of possible poisons.”
After an investigation was launched, the FBI ruled out the use of Soviet-developed nerve agents – but her doctors and neurologist confirmed she was poisoned by “nerve toxins”.
Medics diagnosed Natalia with neuropathy – a type of nerve damage – which they say isn’t down to any natural cause and most likely caused by poisoning.
“I was surprised by the poisoning method they used, but I wasn’t surprised to be targeted by the Kremlin,” she said.
“It is scary, but when you are fighting for the cause, it’s our life, not our career. It’s a mission for us.”
Natalia said being targeted is a “badge of honour” for her – and will never let the Kremlin silence her.
“If the Kremlin targets us, we are doing a lot of effective things. We are the worst enemies of the Kremlin regime,” she said.
“But we think less about physical security. We thought if we fled Russia we would be safer.
“But unfortunately the Kremlin’s agents and networks can reach us even in those countries. We should be more disciplined and more prepared.”
US law enforcement agencies are still looking into her case. It wasn’t Natalia’s first time being targeted.
Back in July 2021, she was at an event in Vilnius, Lithuania when she noticed a similar perfume-like smell in her room – and later broke out in a fever and a rash.
She has been harassed by Russian security services for years – who eventually forced her to leave the country with her son.
“I was travelling all across Russia… we were discussing how to make Russia better. This was something Russia didn’t like,” she told The Sun.
“I knew all my emails were being read, all my phone conversations being recorded, they were always chasing me.
“I would go to a grocery store, the gym, they were everywhere. They told me they knew what colour underwear I was wearing because they had bugs in my bathroom.
“It was years and years of surveillance. I wasn’t worried about my personal safety but I have a son and they knew everything about my son.
“Back in Russia, there were times I would be forcibly put in a car, even near the US Embassy. There were times I was scared.
“I was used to such intimidation. I wasn’t surprised when I saw the guys in my apartment building.
“They told me I had 48 hours to leave or I would be in jail for a very long time.
“I was threatened and given a choice – be in jail for 20 years or I had 48 hours to pack and leave. So I chose freedom. I’m glad I’m still in this fight 10 years later.”
This happened in 2012 and Natalia left Russia to start a new life in the US.
The Free Russia Foundation provides financial assistance to Russian activists, journalists, and pro-democracy organisations.
It is also currently trying to free Ukrainian prisoners of war held by Russia and advocacy for Russians, Belarusians, and Kazakhs in exile.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, Natalia’s vice president, has also been targeted, having been poisoned twice with Novichok while travelling through Russia.
Kara-Murza was sentenced to 25 years in jail in April after being detained for speaking out against the Ukrainian war on MSNBC.
Critics of the Kremlin have long been targeted beyond Russian boundaries, with security officers reaching Western soil.
In March 2018, former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal was poisoned with the nerve toxin Novichok in Salisbury, UK.