Disinfo: Foreign diplomats in Navalny's trial interfere in Russia's domestic affairs

Summary

The presence of foreign diplomats in the court trying Alexey Navalny is not only a clear interference in Russia’s domestic affairs. It is also exerting psychological pressure to the judges.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Alexei Navalny.

Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny has long been the most prominent face of Russian opposition to President Vladimir Putin. His candidacy in the 2018 presidential election was banned by authorities over his conviction by a Russian court of embezzlement, which bars him from running for office. He has been arrested and imprisoned several times during his political career. He is also a prominent figure outside Russia and this justifies the interest of foreign countries and officials.

Alexei Navalny was arrested following his return to Russia from Germany, where he was treated for poisoning with a Novichok-type chemical nerve agent. The European Union has condemned his arrest and demanded his immediate release.

Court hearings are, as a rule, open to the public. Diplomats have the right, just as any other member of the public, to attend a court hearing. This is a century long, normal part of diplomats’ work. Russia is a member of the Council of Europe (CoE) and bound by the same conventions incl. the European Convention on Human Rights, which, among others, defines Russia's international obligations on human rights.

Contrary to the claim, criticism on the handling of the Navalny case is not tantamount to interfering in Russia’s domestic affairs but a legitimate stance in regard to human rights and the rule of law in the country. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the charges against Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny are politically motivated and arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable. As a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, Russia accepts the jurisdiction of the ECHR and forced to comply with its rulings.

Read similar cases claiming that the US hopes that the Navalny case will lead to the cancellation of Nord Stream 2, that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko, that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia, that Navalny is financed by the West as a fifth column against Russia, or Europe evacuated its agent Navalny, and poisoning is fake.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 230
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 02/02/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Greek
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: West, Anti-Russian, Alexei Navalny, Maria Zakharova, Russophobia
see more

Crimea never belonged to Ukraine

It is about time Kyiv abandoned its claims to the [Crimean] peninsula, which has never belonged to [Ukraine] either by law or spirit, and was always a foreign territory.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea.

According to international law, Crimea is a part of Ukraine. On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning Russia's occupation of Crimea and stating that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. By signing the 1997 Friendship Treaty, Russia also recognised that Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine. Russia violated international law as well as key principles of the European security framework by illegally annexing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol in 2014.

Coronavirus is a US provocation against China

All this is against the Chinese. The American newspaper The New York Times was the first to report about the virus. How did they find it? The American Consulate General was evacuated immediately. What was the reason for such a rush? Usually, diplomats leave last. They stay in a time of war, but this time they left. The current situation is helping Trump to get the right trade agreement with China.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the China coronavirus.

In response to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Chinese authorities have placed more than a dozen cities under quarantine. The World Health Organisation is working with Chinese authorities and global experts to learn more about the virus. The virus "2019-nCoV” comes from a family of viruses that include the common cold and viruses such as SARS and MERS. There is no evidence to suggest it was developed artificially as a weapon of mass destruction.

Coronavirus: A North American epidemic

There are strange “separate” incidents that targeted China from North America; the most prominent was the arrival of a shipment issued by Canadian biological laboratories in March 2019, which includes “malicious viruses.” It is noteworthy that this shipment was carried out under a veil of secrecy other than the usual procedures, which prompted the Chinese side to file a formal complaint. A large US military delegation, consisting of 300 people, arrived in Wuhan, in Hubei Province, China on October 19, 2019, to participate in a military games festival hosted by China and held there. On November 2, 2019, the first infection with the coronavirus was recorded in that province, and it spread rapidly throughout December. Scientifically, the incubation period for corona infection is 14 days.

Disproof

A number of conspiracy theories that are only linked by the fact that they are "separate" incidents, and echos some recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation especially about China coronavirus. The narratives also resemble a recurring conspiracy theory about the Lugar Lab in Georgia. The claims about Canadian involvement in the coronavirus spread appear to be based on a mischaracterization of August 2019 reports about a transfer of Ebola and Nipah viruses from a Canadian lab to Beijing, and an apparently separate issue involving two Chinese researchers at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg, in the central province of Manitoba. Read further debunking by the AFP Fact Check.

As for the US participation in the Military World Games and its connection with the coronavirus, there is no evidence to prove this claim. There were 9,308 athletes from 109 countries that have registered to participate in 2019 Military World Games held between October 18-27. While the incubation period of 2019-nCoV, also known as coronavirus, is believed to vary from as few as 2 days to as long as 14 days after the exposure, according to the CDC. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.