When they defend Alexei Navalny, Europe and the US are defending a blogger who is a fugitive from justice, charged on crimes of fraud and embezzlement and who in the middle of a pandemic is organising unauthorised demonstrations where he uses children as human shields, as terrorists do. In his flee from justice, his convalescence in Berlin can’t be presented as an excuse, after having felt bad on a domestic flight in Russia due to a metabolic disorder, which Germany disguised as an alleged poisoning. This led to a series of Western sanctions for which they only presented a handful of words in the air, with no further evidence.
All the claims are false. Charges against Navalny are politically motivated and were presented while he was recovering in Berlin after the poisoning attempt on his life six months earlier, as a means of forcing him to stay in exile. The European Court of Human Rights has concluded that the original charges against Mr Navalny was politically motivated.
The EU has condemned the detention of Alexei Navalny and called for his immediate release.
The affirmation that he is using “children as human shields” was initially made by the Kremlin’s children ombudsman after 15 minors were arrested in the massive protests that emerged all over Russia after Navalny’s arrest on his arrival to the country. However, there is no evidence that Navalny’s organisation is sending underage demonstrators to the forefront of the protests, and the affirmation that this is “the same as terrorists do” is a smear attempt.
The last section of the article is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Navalny, aiming to deflect any responsibility of Russsian authority for the incident. Contrary to the claims about a “metabolic disorder disguised as a poisoning by Germany”, there is massive evidence proving that Navalny was targeted in a poisoning operation, as established by initial clinical findings at the Charité hospital which indicated that he had been intoxicated with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests established the presence of a Novichok-type chemical nerve agent in Navalny's blood. On 14 December 2020, a special investigation by Bellingcat, The Insider, CNN and Der Spiegel identified members of the Russian FSB unit involved in the attempt on Navalny’s life. According to The New York Times, the report was also consistent with the information on the case gathered by German intelligence services. Bellingcat also provided a detailed account of the methods used to identify the FSB operatives. A week later, on 21 December, Navalny disclosed a recorded conversation in which a member of the suspected FSB poisoning squad describes how his unit carried out, and attempted to clean up evidence of, the poisoning of Alexey Navalny.
See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on Alexei Navalny in our database, such as claims that his anti-corruption foundation has never done any investigation, that he is being helped by Western intelligence services, that the West sent him back to Russia to prevent him from becoming irrelevant, that only caffeine and alcohol were found in his blood during his alleged poisoning, that the US wanted to use his case to block Russia's vaccine against coronavirus, that the West hopes that he dies to have an excuse for new sanctions, or that Western accusations on Navalny’s case are as false as they were about Sergei Skripal and Alexander Litvinenko.