Disinfo: Navalny was allegedly poisened with Novichok, but no proof was provided

Summary

Numerous politicians from the EU and the USA have repeatedly criticised the Russian government in recent months in connection with the political blogger Alexei Navalny. The latter had collapsed and fallen into a coma during a flight in Russia on August 20. After an emergency landing, he was initially treated in a hospital in Russia, where doctors diagnosed him with a metabolic disorder and explicitly ruled out poisoning. Still in a coma, he was flown out to Germany at the request of his family for further treatment, where it was allegedly determined that Navalny had been poisoned with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok. […]

The Russian government rejects this claim and demands proof of the alleged poisoning.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative portraying the poisoning of prominent Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny as staged and targeted against Russia.

The prominent Russian opposition leader 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.

At the request of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory carried out toxicological tests on samples from Alexei Navalny. The results of these tests have revealed unequivocal proof of the presence of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group.

As for why Bundeswehr laboratory was used, the issue concerns military grade chemical weapons and such specialists knowledge is found with Bundeswehr. The associated pro-Kremlin narrative of throwing suspicion around the involvement of a specialist laboratory is an attempt to up-front discredit the specialist knowledge necessary in this very special case.

Russia keeps trying to question these results. However, indisputable evidence exists. After Germany requested its technical assistance, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), where Russia is a member, issued a statement verifying previous statements by the German authorities. Several reports have indicated that the OPCW tests showed that blood and urine samples contained a "cholinesterase inhibitor" similar to two Novichok chemicals that were banned by the Hague-based body in 2019. The OPCW findings corroborated earlier independent conclusions by German, French, and Swedish laboratories.

Read also similar disinformation cases alleging that the Western intelligence agencies are working with Navalny, or that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko.

See related disinformation messages blaming the West for Navalny's condition, and alleging that only alcohol and caffeine was found in Navalny blood.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 230
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05/02/2021
  • Outlet language(s) German
  • Country: Germany, Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, Alexei Navalny
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There is no repression in Russia

The Kremlin denies that there is repression in Russia, only police measures against those who break the law in unauthorised protests. During pro-Navalny demonstrations, arrests were made after the policemen were attacked by some violent elements.

Disproof

The claim is false. Although some participants in the pro-Navalny protests in Moscow in January 2021 were violent, there is evidence that the police acted with excessive force against largely peaceful demonstrators. The massive number of arrests (around 5,000 on the first week of protests in 85 cities) shows that not only those who acted violently were arrested. Also, there was a preemptive crackdown on activists and students ahead of the first demonstration.

These actions have been defined by Amnesty International as an attempt to silence criticism, and according to this organisation’s country profile, those attempting to exercise the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly faced reprisals, ranging from harassment to police ill-treatment, arbitrary arrest, heavy fines and in some cases criminal prosecution and imprisonment. A similar assessment is found in the Russian chapter of the Human Rights Watch World Report 2021.

Navalny doesn't reveal his sources unlike of Assange and Snowden

Unlike Assange and Snowden, Alexey Navanly doesn’t reveal the sources of his documents.

Disproof

Disinformation campaign to discredit Alexey Navalny claiming that he does make serious investigations or provides questionable pieces of evidence.

The FBK organisation (Foundation for Combating Corruption) is a Russian non-profit organisation based in Moscow established in 2011 by activist and politician Alexei Navalny. Its main goal is to investigate and to expose corruption cases among high-ranking Russian government officials.

NATO and the EU want to contain and destabilise Russia through Navalny and the “opposition”

The statements of NATO and EU countries about the situation regarding Alexei Navalny is a coordinated information campaign that represents a global attempt to contain Russia and interfere in its internal affairs.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Alexei Navalny , aiming to frame criticism of his arrest and the crackdown on protests as foreign interference.

Contrary to the claim, this criticism is not “a global attempt to contain Russia” but a legitimate concern about human rights and the rule of law in this country. The European Union condemned the arrest of Alexei Navalny and demanded his immediate release. In 2019 the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the charges against Alexei Navalny are politically motivated and arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable. As a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, Russia undertook to secure a number of fundamental rights and freedoms to everyone within its jurisdiction.