Read this article in Русский

This week’s flow of disinformation demonstrates a continuation of one of the weirdest “lines of defence” for the claim that Russian authorities have nothing to explain in the case of the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, the prominent Russian dissident and anti-corruption activist: “Russia knows better ways to kill him”. Crimea-based News Front’s Spanish edition lines up a few alternatives:

A butter knife, a gun, a speeding car, a traffic accident…

Sarcasm, irony, “humour” is frequently exploited as a means of disinformation. The method was used in the Skripal case and it is used here. Some pro-Kremlin pundits, most of them residing in the West, generously offer their expertise:

It is actually surprising that we haven’t documented suggestions to drop a piano on the victim or put Navalny in a tank full of sharks. MI6, after all, is involved! We all know the tricks from the James Bond movies! Or why not an ice-pick, as in the case of late Leon Trotsky, attacked on Kremlin orders on 20 August 1940, exactly 80 years before the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.

The Russian Mission in the EU has issued a statement, suggesting that “there are questions”. In the statement, the Russian diplomats question why Russian state operatives would kill such an irrelevant figure as Navalny:

What would be the reason for the Russian authorities to poison Alexey Navalny, taking into account that his actual popularity level hardly reaches 2%?

It is hard to see how Navalny’s “popularity level” is relevant in an investigation to a violent crime. Yet the figure, referred to by the Representation, can be disputed. A survey from the Levada institute June 2020 finds Mr. Navalny as the second most inspirational figure in the Russian public sphere; incumbent president Vladimir Putin topping the list. In the age group 25 – 39, Putin and Navalny share the lead and in the age group 40 – 54, Navalny outshines Putin.

EU Expecting Investigation

The EU has been very clear that we expect the Russian Government to conduct an urgent transparent investigation in full cooperation with the OPCW. All questions should be addressed and answers given within the proper process and timeline of the investigation, not through public exchanges of “questionnaires”.

The military grade toxic substance used for attacking Navalny was detected by a German laboratory 2 September. The analysis has since been corroborated independently by laboratories in France and Sweden. As the substance used in the attack is forbidden in international law, the case has been referred by the German authorities to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OCPW.

The Deep State Goes Staat im Staate

Last week, the Disinformation Review demonstrated the similarities in the storytelling of the Skripal and the Navalny Cases. The trend continues this week. “Demonising Putin”, “Western Geopolitical Ambitions”, “The Victim’s Own Fault”, “Russophobia”… Several outlets connect the Navalny case with Nord Stream 2, hinting that the poisoning of Mr Navalny is part of an internal German political debate, where a mythical German Deep State is attacking Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The second dominating topic this week is, of course, the situation in Belarus. As in the Navalny case, most stories are based on comfortable old tropes. In the pro-Kremlin universe, protests are always organised by puppet-masters abroad. Pro-Kremlin outlets suggest a few culprits, and how to deal with those orchestrating the protests against Lukashenka:

Externally inspired protests sponsored by the EU, NATO, or even the Jews – Soros or Bernard Levy – should be “appeased” by force.

The Kremlin’s catalogue of foreign malefactors is rarely updated: Lithuania, Poland, the UK, the US… all have, in the world view of pro-Kremlin outlets, the means, the methods and the ambition to manipulate the perfectly peaceful and prosperous Belarus. The pro-Kremlin media refuses to accept the idea of the people as an active subject, and insist that outside forces have brought Belarus to the verge of civil war. So far, the only window broken during several weeks of protest was crashed by an officer of the Police in Minsk. And the Lukashenka regime has brought foreign strike-breakers and even protesters from abroad to imitate support.

Digital Fingerprints

This week also offers a chance to study a blatant piece of forgery: a fake letter from the Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas. According to the bogus letter, the EU plans to establish camps for “Arab Migrants” in Georgia. The falsification was almost immediately intercepted and de-bunked, but a few outlets reproduced the claim nevertheless. EUvsDisinfo will return to the topic to demonstrate how the forged letter was injected in the information flow and the tracks the forgers left.

Other Notable Pieces of Disinformation this Week:

At the time of writing, Mr. Navalny has greeted his followers on Instagram from the Charité Hospital in Berlin. Meanwhile, Russian state controlled media continue attempts to suggest Western involvement in the attack on the Russian dissident.

Edits: Typos corrected


related disinfo cases

07.09.2020
Pravda.ru , SouthFront - English
Russia
11.09.2020
vz.ru
Russia, US, Germany
13.09.2020
News Front - French
Russia, Ukraine
14.09.2020
RT English - YouTube
UK, Russia, US, Germany
09.09.2020
fort-russ.com
Russia, US
14.09.2020
asd.news
Russia, Ukraine, Belarus
02.09.2020
Geopolitica.ru - Italian, Geopolitica.ru - English, Geopolitica.ru - Russian
UK
11.09.2020
Pervyi kanal
Russia, US
13.09.2020
Rossia 24 - YouTube
Russia, Germany
07.09.2020
Sputnik Abkhazia - Russian, Sputnik South-Ossetia, Sputnik South-Ossetia
Georgian region of South Ossetia, Georgian region of Abkhazia, Russia, Georgia
07.09.2020
Sputnik South-Ossetia
US, Georgia
11.09.2020
Sputnik Germany
EU, Russia, US, Germany
26.08.2020
ryb.ru, polituserforum.ru, perevodika.ru, newsmd.md, Times.com.ua, kavkaz.ws
EU, Georgia
11.09.2020
Iravunk.com
EU, Russia, US
13.09.2020
nk.org.ua
UK, Russia
11.09.2020
Sputnik Germany
EU, Russia, Ukraine, US
11.09.2020
Rossia 24 - YouTube
Russia, Belarus, US
10.09.2020
Iravunk.com
Russia, Georgia
09.09.2020
Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Russia
08.09.2020
Sputnik Poland
Russia, US, Germany
11.09.2020
flux.md
EU, US
12.09.2020
Sputnik Poland
Bulgaria, Belarus
14.09.2020
nk.org.ua, alternatio.org
Ukraine, Belarus, US
09.09.2020
News Front - Russian
Russia, Germany
09.09.2020
nahnews.org, novoross.info
EU, Ukraine, US
03.09.2020
News Front - Spanish
Russia
03.09.2020
News Front - Spanish
Russia, US, Germany
03.09.2020
News Front - Spanish
Russia, Germany
12.09.2020
Sputnik Spain
Russia, US, Germany
11.09.2020
Sputnik Spain
UK, Russia
02.09.2020
Geopolitica.ru - Italian, Geopolitica.ru - English, Geopolitica.ru - Russian
Belarus
05.09.2020
Geopolitica.ru - Italian, paulcraigroberts.com
US
31.08.2020
Sputnik Azerbaijan - Russian, aqreqator.az
Russia, Belarus
08.09.2020
News Front - German
Russia, Germany
07.09.2020
News Front - German
Russia, Germany
11.09.2020
alahednews.com.lb, albidda.net, albidda.net, almanar-tv.net, almanar.com.lb, almanartv.com.lb, Sputnik Arabic, dmcnews.org, elmarada.org, emeknes.com, emeknes.com, lomazoma.com, news-sinaa.com, news.albraq-news.com, pressnewsnow.com, sadadahie.com, skay.press, Theworldnews.net, uk-arabicnews.com, uk-arabicnews.com, yaf3press.net, yaf3press.net
Russia, Ukraine
24.08.2020
Berestje News
EU, Ukraine, Belarus, US
24.08.2020
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
Lithuania, Belarus, Poland
25.08.2020
rubaltic.ru
EU, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, US, Poland
11.09.2020
antifashist.com
US
10.09.2020
Sputnik Armenia - Russian
UK, Lithuania, Belarus, US, Poland
26.08.2020
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
EU, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Belarus, US, Poland
27.08.2020
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, US, Poland
10.09.2020
6060news.com, abudhabi-news.com, akhbarak.net, albidda.net, alderaah-news.net, dmcnews.org, emeknes.com, eshraag.com, kachaf.com, lomazoma.com, nabd.com, news.albraq-news.com, shamra, skay.press, yaf3press.net, RT Arabic
Russia, Germany
10.09.2020
strategic-culture.org
US
05.09.2020
Sputnik Armenia
Russia, Germany
02.09.2020
Livenews.am
EU, Russia, Belarus, Germany, France
10.09.2020
vz.ru
Russia, Germany
20.08.2020
Sputnik Armenia - Russian
UK, Russia, Ukraine
08.09.2020
News.am
Czech Republic, Belarus, US, Poland
08.09.2020
News.am
Armenia
10.09.2020
Tsargrad TV
Russia, Ukraine, Belarus
03.09.2020
News Front - Bulgarian
Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus, US
08.09.2020
SouthFront - English
Russia, Germany
08.09.2020
riafan.ru
Russia, Ukraine, US
04.09.2020
vz.ru
Russia, Ukraine, US
09.09.2020
News Front - Russian
EU, Russia, US
08.09.2020
novoross.info
Ukraine
07.09.2020
Journal of New Eastern Outlook
Russia, US
09.09.2020
strategic-culture.org
UK, Russia, Germany
08.09.2020
abudhabi-news.com, albidda.net, RT Arabic , dmcnews.org, emeknes.com, Head Topics, kachaf.com, kol-masr.com, news-sinaa.com, Sahafaty, sahafaty.net, skay.press, yaf3press.net
Russia
07.09.2020
kapital-rus.ru
Russia, Ukraine
07.09.2020
Tsargrad TV
Russia, Ukraine
07.09.2020
kp.ru, politnavigator.net
Belarus
28.08.2020
RT Arabic , nabd.com, dowwar.com, algeria.shafaqna.com, alaan.org, alaan.org, Khabar Masr, Khabar One, newsformy.com, AlAraby AlYoum, almatareed.org, mayadeeniraqya.com, eijaz.news
US