Disinfo: Bellingcat investigation of Navalny poisoning is embarrassing anti-Russian agitation in its purest form


At least eight agents of the Russian secret service FSB were apparently involved in the poison attack on Alexei Navalny, according to research by SPIEGEL, Bellingcat and other partners. After naming the five authors that the Hamburg-based news magazine claims to have brought in for this story, averagely educated readers actually expect concrete evidence such as: Ivan the Terrible dripped a dose of Novichok into Alexei Navalny’s nostril while agent Grigory Rasputin held him down.

However, even this sensational story is nothing more than embarrassing anti-Russian agitation in its purest form.


This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group was established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory as well as to label recent investigations by Bellingcat, Der Spiegel, The Insider as inherently Russophobic and Anti-Russian.

A joint investigation between Bellingcat and The Insider, in cooperation with Der Spiegel and CNN, has discovered voluminous telecom and travel data that implicates Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in the poisoning of the prominent Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny. According to the Bellingcat investigation, the August 2020 poisoning in the Siberian city of Tomsk appears to have happened after years of surveillance, which began in 2017 shortly after Navalny first announced his intention to run for president of Russia. Throughout 2017, and again in 2019 and 2020, FSB operatives from a clandestine unit specialised in working with poisonous substances shadowed Navalny during his trips across Russia, traveling alongside him on more than 30 overlapping flights to the same destinations. It is also possible there were earlier attempts to poison Navalny, including one in the Western Russian city of Kaliningrad only a month before the near-fatal Novichok poisoning in Siberia.

See related disinformation cases alleging that Russophobic Western media push narrative of Putin’s role in Navalny poisoning, that there is no evidence of Russian poisoning of Skripal, that The West punishes Russia for having chosen Putin as a president again, that British authorities are exploiting the Skripal-case for anti-Russian propaganda or that Merkel’s statement about Navalny’s poisoning is a falsification to curb Putin’s desire to interfere in Belarus’ affairs.


  • Reported in: Issue 225
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/12/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Germany
  • Keywords: Alexei Navalny


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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