“I used to have a nightmare many instances that I get up from somebody calling me and saying, Alexey was killed or one thing very dangerous occurred to him,” Volkov recollects in an interview with CNN. “I had this nightmare no less than 10 instances in my life.”Final week he lived that nightmare. An early morning telephone name informed him Navalny had collapsed whereas on a flight from the Siberian metropolis of Tomsk and he was now in a coma. He says having anticipated this second did not make the truth any simpler to course of.”I used to be terrified. In fact, emotionally, it was a really dramatic blow,” he says. “So it took me a number of hours to pay attention.”However as Navalny’s chief of workers he had a job to do: get him out of Russia and into trusted medical care.Volkov, together with the German NGO, Cinema for Peace, organized an air ambulance that was made to attend at a close-by airport whereas Russian medical doctors insisted Navalny was too unwell to be moved.Navalny’s allies imagine that delay was deliberate and meant to make the poison in his physique undetectable.He was finally flown to Berlin the place medical doctors on the Charite hospital decided he was possible poisoned by a substance from a bunch of chemical substances generally known as cholinesterase inhibitors. The medical staff’s lack of ability up to now to find out the particular poison has been seized on by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson as justification for Russian authorities not but opening a felony investigation.Volkov says that response is only one issue that factors to the Russian state’s involvement in an try to assassinate Navalny.”Primarily based on the knowledge I’ve at this level of time, I strongly imagine it is both the state or a part of the state. In order of now, we do not have a proof that Putin ordered it. So it is perhaps a few of the authorities companies. However the degree of group, the poisons that they used. It is not one thing you should buy in a pharmacy, in a drugstore on the following nook,” Volkov says.Russia denies any try to hurt Navalny.’Solely safety: Publicity’Volkov says his pal knew the dangers. Different opposition figures have been shot, crushed and poisoned. Navalny, Volkov says, by no means considered altering his habits or quitting his work.”So after we mentioned it, our thought was the one doable safety… is most publicity. So the higher the variety of our supporters, the higher his approval scores, the bigger the dangers the Kremlin can be taking attempting to kill him.”So why now? Navalny has been brazenly defying Russia’s elite for 10 years. If folks throughout the Russian state tried to kill Navalny, why would they threat turning a much-admired activist right into a political martyr?Volkov says the timing factors to 2 doable components. The primary: Belarus. Navalny had loudly supported the mass protests within the neighboring nation after its disputed presidential election. He referred to as for Russians to indicate equal ardour to overthrow their very own leaders. Putin has usually expressed his loathing for street-led revolutions.And in two weeks Russia will maintain its personal municipal elections. Navalny’s nationwide group has been getting ready for this occasion with a marketing campaign selling tactical voting. It proved efficient in defeating pro-Putin candidates in final 12 months’s Moscow meeting election.In the end, Volkov says, somebody made a calculation: The advantages of eradicating Navalny from Russian political life would outweigh any issues from his outraged supporters.”It was an try to kill, to not scare him off,” Volkov says.Navalny’s restoration is anticipated to be gradual. It is going to be a while earlier than we all know if and when he’ll resume his function as Kremlin’s strongest and only critic.What does Russia with out Navalny appear to be? “We’re not contemplating that,” Volkov says.CNN’s Sebastian Shukla and John Torigoe contributed to this report.