Disinfo: Another reason would be found for sanctions, if there had been no Navalany

Summary

If there was no Navalny, they would have come up with another reason to introduce additional sanctions. We are now being asked to confess, we are told: “Don’t you believe the Bundeswehr specialists? How can this be? These conclusions have been confirmed by the French and Swedes. Don’t you believe us?” In Russia one cannot open a criminal case based on hearsay.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, portraying Western governments and institutions as inherently Russophobic and always trying to harm Russia. An unsupported conspiracy claiming that the poisoning of Navalny is a secret project to introduce sanctions on Russia. Prominent Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny fell ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on the 20th of August. Initially hospitalised in Omsk, at the request of his family he was transferred to Charité hospital in Berlin. 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. France and Sweden confirmed that the cause of his illness was Novichok, a Russian nerve agent. Samples taken from Navalny had also been sent for testing to the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. Pro-Kremlin disinformation is trying to link the Navalny poisoning case with various factors - the US' fight against the Russian vaccine, the fight against Nord Stream 2, the fight against Putin to curb his desire to interfere in Belarus’ affairs. See related disinformation cases alleging that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny as with Skripal and Litvinenko; the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia, that the West needed the pretext to open sanctions against Russia, and that there is no evidence Navalny was poisoned, and many questions to be answered on Navalny blood tests in Berlin, and that the Navalny poisoning could be a strategy of the West to introduce anti-Russian sanctions.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 212
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: Alexei Navalny, Sanctions

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.

see more

Russian progress in Covid-19 vaccine has become for the West an outrageous challenge

Russia’s advances in the development of a vaccine against coronavirus alarmed the West.

The Russian lead in the development of a vaccine against coronavirus has become not only an unpleasant surprise for the West but an outrageous challenge, both for political and financial reasons. On the one hand, deeply undemocratic Russia simply has no right to make such breakthroughs in complex scientific and technologically advanced fields. On the other hand, a jackpot of such astronomical sizes is at stake, that the thought that it might swim past Western pharmaceutical companies could cause heartburn there.

Disproof

A pro-Kremlin narrative about the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V.

There is credible evidence that the Russian government pressed Russian scientists and researchers to be the first to find a vaccine against Covid-19, and did everything at hand to shorten the process, raising concerns about the safety and efficiency of the Sputnik V vaccine. Reservations and criticism of the Sputnik V vaccine are caused by the fact that Russia hasn’t completed large trials to test the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, and the roll-out of an inadequately vetted vaccine could endanger the people who receive it.

Ukraine arrests teacher for promoting the Russian language

Punitive actions against their own citizens began in Ukraine. Ukraine has imprisoned a teacher of the Russian language in the city of Kherson. The Ukrainian authorities are trying to put a woman in prison for the fact that she was engaged in the preservation of the Russian language on the territory of Ukraine.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narrative about the alleged discrimination of Ukraine's Russian-speaking minority and the country's ubiquitous Russophobia. The case mentioned is ongoing trial against a resident of Kherson (a region of Ukraine bordering the temporarily occupied Crimea). The individual was detained by SBU officers suspected of high treason and not for "teaching Russian". Counterintelligence officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported on August 20 that they had stopped the activities of the FSB agent network of Russia, which operated in the Kherson region. According to the SBU, the suspect was recruited by the Russian special services in the illegally annexed Crimea in 2015. The case was heard behind closed doors at the request of the prosecution, which referred to the impossibility of disclosing the case materials. The suspect will remain under arrest until October 9. Also, the suspect was assigned a bail of half a million hryvnia. During the search, law enforcement officers seized the equipment through which the woman contacted the FSB, as well as other things that contain evidence of her activities, the investigation believes. The suspect may face punishment in the form of imprisonment for a term of 12 to 15 years with or without confiscation of property.  

Western hybrid war against Belarus is a preparation of attack against Russia

The Belarusian crisis is partly provoked by external interference with the hybrid war methods. In the light of ongoing information war, the West, though it conducts hybrid aggression against Belarus, is presented as a good player, whereas Russia is presented as a threat to Belarus’s sovereignty despite Russian assistance to the Belarusian state. Poland-located information centres which manage the Belarusian protests are among manifestations of Western aggressive actions. They result in an outbreak of violence, political destabilisation and undermined Belarusian economy. It is clear that relocation of US and NATO troops to Lithuania and Poland, Navalny poisoning and upcoming anti-Russian sanctions are parts of a chain. The US wishes to establish a cordon sanitaire around Russia and needs Belarus as a missing link to put a collar over Russia. The current hybrid war against Belarus is an exploration of attack against Russia. Given the external threat, the Union State of Belarus and Russia may, on the contrary, be activated. The Belarusian coup organisers will likely reach the opposite effect: Instead of tearing Belarus away from Russia, they will push the integration of the two countries forward. Belarus’s aspiration towards sovereignty was cynically tramped by the West. If needed, additional Russian military objects will be stationed in Belarus. Warsaw, Vilnius, and their Western suzerains should have no doubt about it.

Disproof

This publication promotes recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narratives about Belarusian protests as being organised and controlled from abroad, particularly from Poland and Lithuania, about Western attempts to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations in general and the development of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, in particular, and about Poland and Lithuania as US's puppets. The publication also implicitly accuses the West of Navalny poisoning by conspiring that it was just one in a series of actions to disrupt Belarus-Russia relations. There are no proofs of West's implication in Navalny poisoning. Read our past analyses "Fifty ways to kill Navalny" and "Let's laugh at political murder!" explaining how pro-Kremlin media explain the case of Navalny poisoning, including through humour and ridicule. There is no evidence that Poland, Lithuania or any other Western governments including the US are involved in any way in the protests in Belarus. The European Council condemned the violence against peaceful protesters and announced that it would soon adopt a list of sanctions for those responsible for violence in Belarus. "As the elections in Belarus were neither free nor fair, and did not meet international standards, the EU does not recognize the results presented by the Belarus authorities," is mentioned in a European Council press release. However, the Western countries did not interfere in Belarus's domestic affairs leaving along a "hybrid war" mentioned in the publication. The large-scale Belarusian protests began in Minsk on August 9 against the results of the presidential election, and then in other cities. People revolted against election fraud and police violence towards thousands of rally participants. The US and NATO did not increase their military presence near the Belarusian borders following the elections. On 16 August, NATO dismissed allegations that it was conducting a military buildup near the country’s western border. Lithuania and Poland are independent states, which shape their own foreign and domestic policies. The US is an important ally to the EU but EU policy is not determined by the US, as explained by the EU High Representative. See earlier disinformation cases claiming that the EU is trying to disrupt Belarus-Russia relations, that the West's only interest in Belarus is to make it anti-Russian, and that the US keeps Poland on a short anti-Russian leash.