Disinfo: Germany waited until it was impossible to make new tests that would refute the Novichok claim

Summary

It is convenient that the German authorities didn’t publish the results of the tests on the alleged poisoning of Alexei Navalny for a long time, given that now it will be impossible to carry out more tests to confirm or challenge those results. The Germans waited until every possible time frame passed for the decomposition of the substance, and now they are saying that they found something and will probably stick to this version.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group has been established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory. 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 Sergei and Yulia Skripal 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 Nord Stream 2 and 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.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 210
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Russia, Germany
  • Keywords: novichok, 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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Poisoning of Navalny is a provocation to spoil relations between Russia and Germany

The most plausible version of Navalny’s poisoning is that it is a provocation to spoil relations between Russia and Germany in a desperate attempt to stop the construction of Nord Stream 2.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Navalny’s poisoning, presenting it as an incident which has nothing to do with his political activity. There is no ground for connecting the Navalny case with the construction of Nord Stream 2.

A prominent Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny fell ill during a flight and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors 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 Charite 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.

Navalny was not poisoned with Novichok

If Alexei Navalny’s condition was caused by poisoning from Novichok, the people accompanying him would have to suffer the same symptoms. According to the chief toxicologist who first treated Navalny in Omsk hospital in Siberia, his situation was triggered by an “internal activation mechanism”. Novichok is an organophosphate compound and because of its high toxicity, it is not possible to poison just one person.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Navalny poisoning.

Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests provided unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny.

US charged Russia based on inconclusive evidence on Skripals’ poisoning

Although London did not provide conclusive evidence of Skripals’ poisoning in 2018, this did not prevent Washington from directing charges against Moscow.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury claiming that the United Kingdom was never able to provide "conclusive" evidence of the Skripal being poisoned nor of Russia’s involvement.

Moscow's involvement in the poisoning has been proven via a thorough investigation. The British Police have presented a solid chain of evidence on the Skripal case, with pictures, connecting the suspects to the locations in the case. Parts of the material have been released to the public. The evidence was sufficient to charge two Russian nationals, Anatoliy Chepiga and Aleksandr Mishkin with the attack on the Skripals, both Russian military intelligence operatives from the GRU, who travelled to the UK using fake names and documents.