Alexei Navalny has said that he is certain that Vladimir Putin ordered the assassination attempt on his life that nearly succeeded.

In an interview with German new magazine Der Spiegel, the opposition activist said that it was only due to a chain of lucky circumstances that he didn’t die after the poisoning with Novichok on August 20.

“You feel no pain, but you know you’re dying. Straight away,” he said. If he had not received urgent medical care “it would have just been a suspicious death”.

The Russian doctors who treated him used antidotes for poison, but later said they had found no trace of poisoning in Navalny’s body, presumably acting on instructions from Moscow.

Navalny has largely recovered after spending four weeks in a hospital in Berlin, but still suffers symptoms such as shaking hands.

Putin decided to try to kill him because of his fear of what he called a “Belarus situation.” In recent months there have been large demonstrations in Russia’s far east, where the Kremlin’s power is not as absolute as it is in Moscow.

“The system is fighting for its survival and we’ve just felt the consequences,” Navalny said.

He repeated his pledge to return to Russia: “Not going back would mean that Putin had achieved his goal… I will not give Putin the gift of not returning to Russia.”

PHOTO: Alexei Navalny is still recovering from the attempt on his life Reuters