Disinfo: AstraZeneca is more dangerous than Novichok

Summary

AstraZeneca is much more dangerous than Novichok. The Novichok didn't kill anyone at all. Fantastic substance. Well, they say that there is one person in Britain who suffered. But there is no court decision.

Disproof

Hahaganda and recurrent disinformation narrative on the nerve agent Novichok. The disinformation message is also part of a campaign aiming to discredit Western vaccines.

“Novichok” is a name that was given to a group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s in a covert programme codenamed Foliant that was revealed by defectors. Comparing a military-grade chemical nerve agent to AstraZeneca creates a wrong impression that this vaccine against COVID-19 was designed to cause deaths. For an overview of the pro-Kremlin disinformation regarding Covid-19 vaccines see also here.

Novichok was used by Russian GRU and FSB agents to poison former Russian spy Sergey Skripal in the UK, prominent Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny in Russia, and arms dealer Emilian Gebrev in Bulgaria. Navalny fell into a coma for several weeks, Gebrev also almost died but survived the poisoning.

The person referred to in the disinformation claim is a British woman who died as a result of exposure to the nerve agent Novichok. In March 2021, the pre-inquest review took place in London and it was announced that the role the Russian state played in this death will be investigated. Previously, in 1995 a Russian banking magnate and his secretary died from organ failure after being poisoned with Novichok.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 245
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/05/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: UK
  • Keywords: novichok, vaccination, coronavirus

Belarus

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Disinfo: The West uses similar colour revolution technologies in Belarus and Myanmar

Belarus and Myanmar became the hotspots of colour revolutions; very similar technologies were used in both countries despite big differences between them. It is not just a struggle against Alexander Lukashenko, Myanmar’s military, Vladimir Putin, or Donald Trump. This is the struggle of Soros and transnational corporations against nation-states.

Disproof

This article promotes recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about “colour revolutions” and about global elites secretly ruling the world, particularly Soros. This is an example of a big conspiracy, which groundlessly attributes groundbreaking events in Belarus, Myanmar, Russia, and the US to the vicious activities of Soros and some unnamed transnational corporations. Read our past analysis "Why authoritarians love the concept of the big conspiracy."

There is no evidence that Soros or transnational corporations stood behind the mass protests in Belarus or Myanmar. The protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential election on 9 August 2020, which were not monitored by independent experts, and are largely considered fraudulent by both international observers and a big part of the Belarusian society. On 19 August 2020, the European Council called Belarusian elections neither free nor fair.

Disinfo: Medvedchuk case is political, foreigners ordered Ukraine to cut links with Russia and Belarus

Pro-Kremlin politician Viktor Medvedchuk was put under suspicion for high treason on orders from abroad. Foreign countries force Ukraine to oust those who communicate with Russia and Belarus. Medvedchuk was making peacekeeping efforts, and his role was a stabilising one for Ukrainian politics. The fact that people like him are being removed means that the Ukrainian authorities are nervous.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin media outlets claiming that the West compels the Ukrainian leadership to cut all relations with Russia and that the recent legal action against pro-Kremlin politician Viktor Medvedchuk was a political case orchestrated from Western countries. In reality, these allegations are unsubstantiated.

Ukraine and Russia maintain relations in certain spheres, first and foremost where prisoner exchange is concerned. Russia is a party to the Donbas conflict, so Ukraine prefers to discuss the liberation of its citizens with it rather than with its proxies in Donbas. It would mean recognition of the so-called “DNR” and “LNR” as political subjects.

Disinfo: Experienced special forces have been working against the Belarusian authorities

Belarusian authorities must remain alert because there are experienced foreign special forces working against them. Compared to Western special forces, the special forces of Belarus are harmless and innocent. Nevertheless, Belarus can handle anything as long as it stays alert. The truth and the vast majority of people are on the side of Belarus (and its authorities). The attempt for a Blitzkrieg-style riot was overcome. Today, the citizens of Belarus understand clearly what the special forces were aiming for when they were on the streets in August.

Disproof

A mixture of recurring disinformation narratives, including the notion that public discontent in Belarus following the Belarusian presidential elections in August 2020 was caused by Western intervention and that there was a US-directed coup attempt in Belarus in April 2021. These are accompanied by an unjustified contrast between Western and Belarusian secret services, unsubstantiated claims about public support for the authoritarian regime in Belarus, and a distorted portrayal of protesters as waging a supposed “Blitzkrieg”.

Outlets controlled by the Kremlin always present a distorted view of pro-democratic protests and movements in Russia and other states from the former Soviet bloc as Western-directed malign operations targeting Russia. No evidence has been presented to support the claim that the widespread protests that started in Belarus in August 2020 were directed by Western secret services or that they were involved in a coup attempt against Lukashenka in April 2021. Both of these claims have been thoroughly debunked in two separate reports by the Atlantic Council, which analysed how these disinformation narratives support Kremlin’s foreign policy.

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