Disinfo: The Bellingcat report on Navalny’s “poisoning” was aimed to destroy Nord Stream 2

Summary

The Bellingcat report on Navalny’s “poisoning” was created to destroy Russian pipeline Nord Stream 2, according to international observers that questioned the opportunity of the report and its main goal. All the anti-Russian and anti-Putin political elites in the West will probably benefit from a narrative of poisoning, and a special target is Nord Stream 2. The US, the British and the Poles are against it and they have done everything at hand to put the project to an end. The pretentious investigation of Bellingcat was aimed to try to close it, since on December 11 it was reported that Russia had resumed its work on the pipeline despite US sanctions.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to deflect any Russian responsibility on the incident by framing it as a false flag operation with obscure motivations: in this case, a baseless claim on a connection with the construction of Nord Stream II.

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 poisoned 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, Bellingcat has disclosed a recorded conversation in which a member of the suspected FSB poison 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’s poisoning in our database, such as claims that only caffeine and alcohol were found in his blood, that the US wanted to use it 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.

This disinformation message appeared in the same article than the claim that “The Bellingcat report on Navalny’s 'poisoning' was a reminder for the electoral college to vote for Biden”.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 225
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/12/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: UK, Russia, US, Poland
  • Keywords: novichok, Nord Stream 2, Alexei Navalny, Anti-Russian

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Western governments could have produced Novichok to poison Navalny

Once again bold-faced lies about Novichok as “evidence”.

Apart from the fact that there are plenty of very reasonable, even compelling doubts about this brazen claim, there follows a clumsy lie in the very next paragraph, but one that is important for the Western narrative of the evil Russians.

[…]

One of the Soviet co-developers of the Novichok group’s poisons has been living in the USA for years. The USA had dismantled the Soviet Novichok production site in Uzbekistan in the 1990s, with the OPCW excluded. The British secret military agent laboratory in Porton Down, a few kilometres from the site of the attack on former Soviet double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, is also capable of producing Novichok. And the Swedish military laboratory in Umeå surprised (everyone) in the Navalny case by announcing that it had reference samples of Novichok, which it did not have in the Skripal case. Anyone who can detect Novichok from alleged Russian production as reliably as Western governments can, should also be able to produce any quantity of this poison, especially since the “recipe” is known.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group was established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory.

In September 2017, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the full destruction of the 39,967 tons of chemical weapons possessed by Russia, but Novichoks were never declared to the OPCW and were not included in the Chemical Weapons Convention until 2019.

Bellingcat investigation of Navalny poisoning is embarrassing anti-Russian agitation in its purest form

At least eight agents of the Russian secret service FSB were apparently involved in the poison attack on Alexei Navalny, according to research by SPIEGEL, Bellingcat and other partners. After naming the five authors that the Hamburg-based news magazine claims to have brought in for this story, averagely educated readers actually expect concrete evidence such as: Ivan the Terrible dripped a dose of Novichok into Alexei Navalny’s nostril while agent Grigory Rasputin held him down.

However, even this sensational story is nothing more than embarrassing anti-Russian agitation in its purest form.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group was established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory as well as to label recent investigations by Bellingcat, Der Spiegel, The Insider as inherently Russophobic and Anti-Russian.

A joint investigation between Bellingcat and The Insider, in cooperation with Der Spiegel and CNN, has discovered voluminous telecom and travel data that implicates Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in the poisoning of the prominent Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny. According to the Bellingcat investigation, the August 2020 poisoning in the Siberian city of Tomsk appears to have happened after years of surveillance, which began in 2017 shortly after Navalny first announced his intention to run for president of Russia. Throughout 2017, and again in 2019 and 2020, FSB operatives from a clandestine unit specialised in working with poisonous substances shadowed Navalny during his trips across Russia, traveling alongside him on more than 30 overlapping flights to the same destinations. It is also possible there were earlier attempts to poison Navalny, including one in the Western Russian city of Kaliningrad only a month before the near-fatal Novichok poisoning in Siberia.

The Polish authoritarian state may brutally attack any of its citizens for his views and opinions

At any time, a Polish citizen may lose his freedom, health, and all his life achievements – his country will be ready to destroy him at any moment. In Poland, you can be brutally attacked by the authoritarian state machine without any legal reasons – only because someone does not like what you write and say. This situation happened to Leonid Sviridov, but he was lucky not to be a Polish citizen, so today, he lives and works far away from Poland.

Disproof

This message is a part of the narrative about the lack of real democracy in Western countries, in this case, it promotes the idea that “authoritarian” Poland may “brutally punish its citizens for their opinions and views”.

Poland is a Democratic country, which respects Human Rights and does not discriminate or oppress any persons because of their personal opinions.