As an opposition figure that for a long time has been praised and exaggerated by the West as the nemesis of the Russian president Vladimir Putin, Alexei Navalny is more valuable dead than alive as a propaganda tool. With the failure of its false flag narrative, the temptation may be to drastically increase the stakes by modifying the screenplay and having Navalny “succumbing” to Novichok.
The German narrative soon faced contradictions, after Russian toxicologists that had treated Navalny first said that after testing all kind of substances found no trace of poison and concluded that his coma was caused a pre-existing medical condition, presumably diabetes. They also said that they have original samples of his body fluids. It is this detail what seems to have forced the Germans to re-elaborate their narrative to include the new element of a poisoned bottle of water. If the Russians do have biological samples from Navalny that show no trace of toxins, the German version crumbles as an invention that could only mean that the alleged detection of Novichok was the result of a deliberate contamination of his body fluids while he was being treated in a hospital in Berlin.
Conspiracy theory not based in any evidence, as the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group against Russian dissident Alexei Navalny suggests. The presence of Novichok in Navalny’s body was established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory. Navalny’s team found the bottle in the hotel room where he had stayed in the Russian city in Tomsk, and carefully picked it in order to get it analysed abroad since they thought that it wouldn’t be investigated in Russia, as they documented in a video posted afterwards in Navalny’s Instagram account. This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Navalny, which follows the same playbook that the one deployed after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daugther in Salisbury in 2018, a case where there is strong evidence of the involvement of Russian intelligence operatives and high-level Russian officials. By claiming that is the US and not Russia who benefits from this incident, pro-Kremlin media are trying to deflect any Russian responsibility for it, a frequent Kremlin tactic. Also, the use of multiple and simultaneous versions of an event involving questionable actions by the Russian government or its allies, in order to confound citizens about the actual truth, is a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation strategy, already seen in the cases of the MH17 downing, the illegal annexation of Crimea, the murder attempt against the Skripals or chemical attacks in Syria. 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 about Navalny’s case are as false as they were about Sergei Skripal and Alexander Litvinenko. This disinformation message appeared in the same article as the claim that “Attack on Navalny was a false flag operation” and that “To the West, Navalny is more valuable dead than alive as a propaganda tool”