Disinfo: Euro-Atlantic powers want to use Navalny's case to foil Nord Stream 2

Summary

Behind the [Alexy] Navalny case are Euro-Atlantic interests aimed at promoting anti-Russian policy. It is clear that what the Euro-Atlantic powers are interested in is not clarifying the situation around Navalny, but rather foiling the “Nord Stream 2” gas pipeline between Russia and Europe.

Disproof

This is a pro-Kremlin conspiracy theory aimed at linking the case of Alexei Navalny with the Nord Stream 2 project. See a very similar case here (although in this case, the United States is accused alone). A prominent Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny fell ill during a flight and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Omsk. Doctors there said he was in a coma and they were trying to save his life. Since then he has been transferred to Berlin and is receiving treatment at Berlin's Charité Hospital. The German Federal government said that toxicological tests provided “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group” in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny. The European Union condemned the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in the strongest possible terms. Read similar disinformation messages alleging that Americans are recouping their long-term investment in Navalny, the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia, or that US used Navalny case to block Russian vaccine against COVID-19, or that political scandal in Austria was a CIA operation to stop the construction of Nord Stream 2.

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  • Reported in: Issue 215
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 10/10/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: Nord Stream 2, Anti-Russian, Encircling Russia, Alexei Navalny, Europe, Conspiracy theory
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Germany refuses to provide clarifications about Navalny poisoning

Moscow asked Berlin to present the results of [Alexei] Navalny’s medical analysis to clarify the circumstances of the case, but the German side has always avoided giving a response.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Aleksei Navalny's poisoning. Germany has responded to past Russian calls for Navalny's medical samples by saying that Russia should already have all it needs after its initial treatment of the dissident. The German Federal government said that toxicological tests provided “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group” in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny. In addition, on 14 September, the German government provided research by two more independent laboratories in France and Sweden, which confirmed the presence of poison from the Novichok group in the body of politician Alexei Navalny. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Germany informed the Russian ambassador to Germany, the EU and NATO, on the results of the investigation. Germany also informed Russia via diplomatic channels on the progress of the investigation. Arne Collatz, a spokesman for Germany’s Defence Ministry said the data had been provided to the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

“This international organization, of which Russia is also a member, has a treaty-based mandate to oversee and enforce the ban on the use, production, storage as well as research into chemical weapons.”

The OPCW report, published 8 October, also supports the German conclusions. The OPCW report can be found here. Furthermore, on September 11, Berlin’s Justice Ministry approved a request from Moscow for legal assistance in the investigation and information on Navalny’s state of health, “subject to his consent.” The European Union condemned the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in the strongest possible terms. Read similar disinformation messages alleging that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny, that only traces of alcohol and caffeine were found in Navalny's blood, that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko.

The European Union sent Moldova instructions on how to conduct the elections

The European Union sent Moldova instructions on how to conduct the elections. The Moldovan authorities received a special letter of instruction, which listed some of the requirements and simply the expectations of the European colleagues for the presidential elections scheduled for November 1.

Disproof

Recurring the pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western involvement in internal affairs, including elections, in many states, especially the ones of the former Soviet Union. See here a case about the West trying to destabilise the situation in Belarus before the election. The claim refers to the Statement by the Spokesperson on the upcoming presidential elections in Moldova, issued on 30 September 2020, calling on the Moldovan authorities to organize credible, inclusive and transparent elections. "The European Union calls on the authorities of the Republic of Moldova to implement fully and without further delay the recommendations of the Council of Europe Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR to guarantee the transparency of party and campaign financing," the statement said. Presidential elections will take place in Moldova on 1 November 2020.

Novichok is a word coined by a British TV series in early 2000

The name Novichok isn’t a Russian name but was taken from a British series broadcast in early 2000, and it has since stuck in people’s heads.

Disproof

The story advances the recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the poisoning ofAlexei Navalny. “Novichok” - “Newcomer in English” 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 programmecodenamed Foliant that was revealed by defectors. Most of whatwe understand about Novichok agents comes from the testimony and memoirs of Dr Vil S. Mirzayanov, the Chief of the Department of Counteraction against Foreign Technical Intelligence at the Russian State Union Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT) who authoreda 1994 report with the Stimson Center describing the state of chemical weapon disarmament in Russia, revealingNovichok's existence. Following this revelation, the US National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in 1998, added Novichiok to its spectral data which has 300,000 compounds and is regularly updated. Furthermore, since the beginning of the 1990s, US chemical demilitarization programmes in the Commonwealth of Independent States (former USSR) included joint research on Novichoks in order to develop effective detectors, detoxifiers, reactivators and bio-scavengers. Alas, the name Novichok has already appeared in several news articles before 2000, including the New York Times 1999, New Scientist in 1994. See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on Alexei Navalny’s poisoning in our database, such as claims thatonly caffeine and alcohol were found in his blood, that the US wanted to use it toblock Nord Stream 2 andRussia’s vaccine against coronavirus, that the West hopes that he dies to havean excuse for new sanctions, or that Western accusations about Navalny’s case are as false as they wereabout Sergey Skripal and Aleksandr Litvinenko. The same video interview contained another disinformation claim alleging that Alexei Navalny did not shown any symptoms of Novichok.