Disinfo: Navalny’s suspicious poisoning looks like a publicity campaign to take him out of oblivion

Summary

While the alleged poisoning of the Russian opposition member Alexei Navalny still creates more questions than answers, its coverage in Western media reminds an information war or a well-planned publicity campaign. It seems that its goal has been from the beginning to take out Navalny of oblivion, achieving his appearance in the Russian media, including the official ones, so he is not only a social media character anymore. The final purpose is to equate him with Russian President Vladimir Putin as a politician, so both the international and Russian audiences talk of Putin and Navalny in the same context.

Disproof

Recurrent disinformation narrative on the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny not based on any evidence. Though only 9 per cent of Russians had a positive view of Navalny’s work in 2019, saying that he was “in oblivion” is a misrepresentation of facts. According to the Levada Center, while in 2012 only 25 per cent of Russians had ever heard of Navalny, the figure had increased to 55 per cent by 2017, largely thanks to his anti-corruption and political campaigns. This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Navalny, which follows the same playbook that the one deployed after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in 2018, a case where there is strong evidence of the involvement of Russian intelligence operatives and high-level Russian officials. By claiming that Western media are playing an information war through this incident, pro-Kremlin media are trying to deflect any Russian responsibility for it, a frequent Kremlin tactic. Also, the use of multiple and simultaneous versions of 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 the Skripals or chemical attacks in Syria. See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on Alexei Navalny’s poisoning in our database, such as claims that only caffeine and alcohol were found in his blood, that the US wanted to use Navalny to block Russia's vaccine against coronavirus, that the West hopes that he dies to have an excuse for new sanctions, or that Western accusations about Navalny’s case are as false as they were about Sergei Skripal and Alexander Litvinenko.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 216
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05/10/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Spanish, Castilian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: West, Mainstream media, Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Putin
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Germany trains Russian and European journalists to create fakes about Russia

The German Association “Potsdam Media International” will train media workers in Russia and Europe in disseminating false information about the Russian Federation, reports the telegram channel “Committee for National Interests”. The editorial office believes that at this course, obviously, media workers will be taught creation of fakes, political provocations and stovepiping. Including directed against Russia.

Disproof

The claim refers to the conference M100 Sanssouci Colloquium, organized each year, from 2005, in Potsdam, Germany, by Potsdam Media International E.V and many partners. The event brings together Europe's top editors, commentators and media owners alongside key public figures to assess the role and impact of the media in international affairs and to promote democracy and freedom of expression and speech, as it is mentioned on the official web site. This year, the final conference of M100 took place on 17 September. The topic was ”Shaping the Post-Covid Media Order”. There is no thematic mention of Russia on the agenda of the final discussions on September 17, nor in the previous days of training. The claim is false, in line with widespread disinformation narrative on any activities of Western NGOs related to democratic processes and the media, presenting them as actions directed against Russia. See here a case claiming that Anglo-Saxons are at the edge of anti-Russian attack and here a case presenting a media literacy course in Moldovan schools, supported by Western NGO’s, as one aiming to remove Russian information from the media space.

East Germany was attached to the West as a colony

30 years ago, on the 3rd October 1990, West and East Germany united and became one state. This is the official version. In fact it was unfriendly incorporation and East Germany, former GDR betrayed by the Soviet Union attached to the West as a colony.

Disproof

Historical revisionism and disinformation about the unification of Germany. The downfall of the German Democratic Republic was triggered by the decay of the other communist regimes in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. After the fall of the Berlin wall, first free multiparty elections took place in East Germany, where a the eastern counterpart of Christian Democratic Union won the majority of votes. The new government began negotiations for a treaty of unification of Germany, amid a surging tide of refugees from East to West. The final barrier to reunification fell in July 1990 when German chancellor Kohl prevailed upon Gorbachev to drop his objections to a unified Germany within the NATO alliance in return for sizable financial aid to the Soviet Union. A unification treaty was ratified by the Bundestag and the People’s Chamber in September and went into effect on October 3, 1990. The German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic as five additional Länder (federal states). Read more about the reunification of Germany here. The economic and other differenced between the Eastern and Western parts of Germany still exist, but there is no basis to claim that the Eastern part of the country is colonized by the Western one.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict leads to more tensions in the Donbas

Ukraine is ready to team up with Azerbaijan and Turkey simply because Turkeys does not recognise Crimea as part of the Russian Federation. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has already led to more tensions in the Donbas, including increased military activity. Later, we will certainly see a Ukraine-Turkey alliance against Russia.

Disproof

Recurring narrative treating Crimea as the territory of the Russian Federation. The narrative also represents a recent trend attempting to connect conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh with Ukraine.

The EU does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and continues to condemn this violation of international law. In June 2020 the European Council decided to renew the sanctions introduced in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation until 23 June 2021. Ukraine did express support for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, but called for a peaceful solution and said it supports the efforts of Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - which is co-chaired by the Russian Federation. Based on the daily reports on the OSCE Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, the number of ceasefire violations in the Donbas did not increase meaningfully after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict escalated. Thus, it cannot be proven that Ukraine, as an answer to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, increased pressure on the region.