Disinfo: Navalny incident is a US plot to disrupt Nord Stream 2

Summary

The chief aim of the Navalny incident has been to disrupt the construction of Nord Stream 2. This is what the whole operation is about. It is a pure set-up, and it was obviously perpetrated by the Americans.

Disproof

The claim advances recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the poisoning of activist Alexei Navalny and the alleged harmful influence of Washington on European politics. There are no grounds for connecting Navalny's poisoning with Nord Stream 2, or to allege US involvement in the incident. The activist fell ill on a 20 August flight from Siberia to Moscow. Initially hospitalized in Omsk, he was transferred to the Charité hospital in Berlin at the request of his family. Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests revealed the presence of a Novichok-type nerve agent in Navalny's blood. Polluting Western media environments with multiple contradictory narratives of a given event is an established strategy of pro-Kremlin media outlets. See here for an overview of, and similarities between, Russian disinformation campaigns surrounding the 2018 Skripal poisoning and the 2020 Navalny poisoning.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 212
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, US, Germany
  • Keywords: novichok, Nord Stream 2, Chemical weapons/attack, Alexei Navalny, US presence in Europe, Conspiracy theory

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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NATO violates the fundamental Russia-NATO agreement

NATO is building up its military infrastructure on the territories of its new member states, thus violating the fundamental Russia-NATO act, signed back in the 1990s and considered the basis of cooperation.

Disproof

Disinformation narrative about the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act.

The Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation signed in 1997 does not prohibit the deployment of NATO troops from other countries on the territory of new NATO members in Eastern and Central Europe. Moreover, the very text of part IV political-military Matters reads:

Ugly commercial interests are behind the criticism of the Russian COVID 19 vaccine

There are very ugly commercial interests behind the criticism of the Russian vaccine. This was understandable even before the registration of the vaccine when a number of special services of foreign states accused Russia of allegedly stealing its vaccine. It became clear that this is not the case, because our vaccine is very different from others and much better. But a series of attacks began. Pharmaceutical Association of Western Companies began to declare that the vaccine could not be registered until the end of Phase 3 clinical trials. But now we see that China registered the vaccine before the end of phase 3, the UAE as well as the USA and Britain announced plans to register their vaccines before the end of phase 3.

Disproof

On Aug 11, 2020, Russia declared it is the first country in the world to approve a vaccine against coronavirus. Nonetheless, there are widespread concerns that the approval is premature. At the time of approval, the vaccine had not even started phase 3 trials, nor had any results on the earlier stage trials been published, worlds scientists said on the Lancet. WHO expressed concerns as for preternatural registration of vaccine. Following the criticism, Russia published its response on the Lancet. Then international experts expressed concerns about statistical anomalies revealed during the publication of the results of the first and second phases of clinical trials of the Russian vaccine. Publishing their clarifications, Russia did not address the criticism, in essence, analysed Deutsche Welle. The narrative that any criticism of Russian achievements is due to competition reasons, is a recurrent conspiracy. The statement that democratic countries - US, UK also want to approve their vaccines before the end of clinical trials, as Russia did, is untrue. As for September 20, 2020, the CEO of Moderna, American company developing its own vaccine, mentioned in the disinformation report, expressed no such plans. In August 2020, the American, British and Canadian governments said that Russian hackers are attempting to steal coronavirus vaccine research. At that, no evidence had emerged that data was stolen. There was likely little immediate damage to global public health, cybersecurity experts said.

WHO said Russian vaccine against coronavirus is safe and efficient

WHO declares Russian coronavirus vaccine safe and efficient. The World Health Organization (WHO) has thanked Russia for developing a vaccine against coronavirus. Hans Kluge, Regional Director for Europe at the WHO, said after negotiations with the head of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation Mikhail Murashko: “WHO highly appreciates the efforts of the Russian Federation in the development of a vaccine against coronavirus, namely Sputnik V. I would like to thank the Minister [of Health of Russia] for those steps to develop the vaccine, it is safe and effective.”

Disproof

The statement is untrue. Pro-Kremlin disinformation outlet NTV attributes the quote to the Regional Director for Europe at the WHO, Hans Kluge, saying that he finds the Russian Covid-19 vaccine "safe and efficient". No recorded clip of Has Kluge is included in the report from 21 September, only an interpretation of his words is provided. During the news conference on 20 August Hans Kluge said (time codes: 44:11-45:08):

"Any advances in a vaccine development is a very encouraging news. The Russian Federation has a long tradition of vaccine development and uptake if we think on yellow fever vaccine or poly vaccine domestic lib. So it’s a very welcome news. But every vaccine has to go the same rigorous standards of efficacy and safety and ultimately it is only one known way to do it is clinical trials: phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3, including phase 3, which speaks about much larger audience to which the vaccine is really administered to see whether it is safe. And WHO is being indeed invited to review thoroughly the date."

On September 23 TASS agency reported that WHO "plans to support the promotion of Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V". To date, no news on that was communicated by WHO itself beyond the already announced ongoing data analysis. In general, there are widespread concerns that the approval of the Russian vaccine against coronavirus is premature. At the time of approval, the vaccine had not even started phase 3 trials, reminds the Lancet. See more narratives that Russia combats coronavirus more effectively than the democracies, such as Trying to catch up with Russia, the West lost another round in the fight against pandemic; There is no approved COVID-19 vaccine except the Russian one, says Reuters.