Disinfo: If Navalny came out of the coma, he was not poisoned with Novichok

Summary

There is no way Navalny was poisoned by this neurotoxic agent. The fact that Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was put out of coma indicates that it was not Novichok nerve agent used against him. Novichok was developed to replace nuclear weapons on the battlefield and has 100% mortality.

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. 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 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.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 210
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Greek, English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Germany, Russia
  • Keywords: Skripal, novichok, Amesbury poisoning, Alexei Navalny, Chemical weapons/attack
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Disinfo: 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. The use of multiple and simultaneous versions about 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.

Disinfo: Alexei Navalny was not poisoned, he suffered from a metabolic disorder

A Russian opposition politician, blogger and critic of the current regime Alexei Navalny suffered a metabolic disorder that made him feel bad on the plane, and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where he was given all the care. All necessary tests have been performed in Omsk to show that this is not poisoning but a metabolic disorder.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Navalny poisoning. Alexei Navalny was under the pressure of his family transferred from hospital in Omsk to Charité hospital in Berlin. The preliminary test results from the Charité – Universitätsmedizin hospital in Berlin indicated that the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned during his stay in Siberia. Clinical findings indicate poisoning with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. German government later confirmed that Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok. See related disinformation message claiming that only traces of alcohol and caffeine were found in Navalny´s blood.

Disinfo: Peace in Ukraine is not in the interests of Western governments

The Ukrainian government does nothing to end the war in Donbas. […] the Western governments could have an impact on Kyiv, so the latter starts to implement the Minsk agreements. However, the preservation of tension near the borders of Russia is beneficial to the players of this geopolitical game. Thus, the West does not need peace in Ukraine.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory and a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, claiming that Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements. Also consistent with a narrative that the war in Ukraine is a civil war waged by Ukraine and its Western partners against the "Republics of Donbas". Contrary to the disinformation claim, the European governments and the US have been insisting many times that the full implementation of the Minsk agreements is the only way to end the war in Donbas. In July 2020, the European Council stated the following:

"It [the EU] has repeatedly made clear that the full implementation of the Minsk agreements is the only way to find a lasting and peaceful solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine."

The French Ambassador to Ukraine Etienne de Poncins also said that France considers the Minsk agreements the only instrument to bring peace to Eastern Ukraine:

“The Minsk agreements are criticised, but they are the only available roadmap to peace. Apart from their implementation, there is no other way. I do not see another possibility at the moment, except the Minsk and Normandy formats.”

The German Ambassador to Ukraine Anka Feldhusen stated in a recent interview that "the Minsk deal still provides a structure that could help find a solution to the conflict." France and Germany also supported the decisions taken on the Normandy Format meeting in December 2019, including further steps in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Read previous disinformation cases: that the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada admitted that Kyiv will not implement the Minsk agreements; that Ukrainian ex-President Leonid Kravchuk is looking for new ways to deceive Donbas; that the US wants to discredit Belarus and the Minsk agreements; that Normandy format will cease to exist because Ukraine is unwilling to implement Minsk agreements; and that Ukraine is trying to compromise and undermine the Minsk agreements.