Disinfo: Getting out of coma proves that Novichok wasn’t used on Navalny

Summary

Alexei Navalny’s coma indicates that if we assume that he was poisoned, then Novichok was not used.

Poisoning can be ruled out because there are no symptoms. But even if a dose of 400 times less than the lethal dose was used, he would come out of a coma, but his pupils would remain constricted, and there were no such symptoms.

Disproof

The story is part of an emerging web of counter-narratives designed to confuse Western public opinion and deny Moscow's involvement in the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. This argument follows a recurring Kremlin pattern of denying that Navalny was poisoned and that Moscow had anything to do with it. 

In this case, the argument is that Novichok is only a lethal military-grade nerve agent and that the result is always death. However, we know that Novichok is a highly toxic nerve agent that slows the heart, paralyses the muscles used for breathing and — if the dose is big enough — can lead to death by asphyxiation. A smaller dose may result in seizures, neuromuscular weakness, liver failure and other damage. This has been presented in various other reports here, here and here.

So, Novichok does not necessarily lead to the death of everyone who came in contact with it.

Furthermore, Navalny's coma was medically induced and did not constitute a symptom of poisoning. Several other confirmed Novichok victims were put in a coma and subsequently regained consciousness. In 1987 Andrey Zheleznyakov, a researcher attached to the Soviet chemical warfare programme, suffered an accidental exposure to a Novichok-type compound. The accident left him permanently disabled but alive for another six years.

In March 2018, Russian ex-spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yuliya fell victim to poisoning in Salisbury but recovered with intensive medical care as did a police officer who had been exposed when he visited their home to investigate. The UK authorities established that the assassination attempt had been carried out by two Russian intelligence operatives using Novichok.

The following June, two individuals in Amesbury, England were accidentally exposed to Novichok contained in a fake perfume bottle. One of the victims survived.

It should be further noted that, like most other chemical weapons, Novichok was not developed with the individual assassination in mind. Marc-Michael Blum, former head of the OPCW Laboratory, explains that "these substances are designed for the mass destruction of enemy personnel during the war," and are thus "not reliable enough" if used to kill one, specific individual in peacetime conditions. In other words, it cannot be ruled out that Navalny was poisoned by Novichok simply because he survived the ordeal and regained consciousness.

Read similar disinformation messages alleging that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia, 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 or that US used Navalny case to block Russian vaccine against COVID-19.

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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US forced Merkel lie about Navalny’s poisoning

(The US) forced Angela Merkel to voice this nonsense (about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny). Note that she resisted for a long time, she sat for two weeks in silence and tried to move away from it.

Disproof

Another pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative and conspiracy theory  alleging that the European Union is under direction from Washington. No evidence is provided to support the claim. Also the claim advances recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the poisoning of activist Alexei Navalny and Western Russophobia.

On August 20, the day Navalny was poisoned, the chancellor stressed that it is necessary to find out what happened to the Russian opposition activist as soon as possible.

Swedes will be deported from Sweden


The Arab Party of Sweden calls for the deportation of the aboriginal population of Sweden, who has a critical view on migrants and the ideas of “diversity”. This refers primarily to Swedish pensioneers.

Disproof

An unfounded claim, presented without any source, and a recurrent narrative of Sweden as a country on the verge of collapse. Similar cases can be found here.

An "Arab Party" did actually appear in Sweden in the summer of 2020; with currently around 400 followers on Facebook. According to research done by Swedish fact-checking group Källkritikbyrån, the “party” likely consists of one single individual.

No proof that Navalny was poisoned

We are seeing a very dangerous period of political pressure on Russia… The claims of (Alexei) Navalny getting poisoned is not supported by proof.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, portraying Western governments and institutions as inherently Russophobic and trying to harm and encircle Russia.

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.