Disinfo: Navalny wasn’t poisoned with Novichok, he came out of coma

Summary

A scientist who was involved in Novichok’s development, said Navalny’s recoverage proves that this substance was not used to poison him.

Disproof

The story is part of an emerging web of counter-narratives designed to confuse Western public opinion and deny Moscow's involvement in the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. This argument follows a recurring Kremlin pattern of denying that Navalny was poisoned and that Moscow had anything to do with it. 

In this case, the argument is that Novichok is only a lethal military-grade nerve agent and that the result is always death. However, we know that Novichok is a highly toxic nerve agent that slows the heart, paralyses the muscles used for breathing and — if the dose is big enough — can lead to death by asphyxiation. A smaller dose may result in seizures, neuromuscular weakness, liver failure and other damage. This has been presented in various other reports here, here and here.

So, Novichok does not necessarily lead to the death of everyone who came in contact with it.

Furthermore, Navalny's coma was medically induced and did not constitute a symptom of poisoning. Several other confirmed Novichok victims were put in a coma and subsequently regained consciousness. In 1987 Andrey Zheleznyakov, a researcher attached to the Soviet chemical warfare programme, suffered an accidental exposure to a Novichok-type compound. The accident left him permanently disabled but alive for another six years.

In March 2018, Russian ex-spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yuliya fell victim to poisoning in Salisbury but recovered with intensive medical care as did a police officer who had been exposed when he visited their home to investigate. The UK authorities established that the assassination attempt had been carried out by two Russian intelligence operatives using Novichok.

The following June, two individuals in Amesbury, England were accidentally exposed to Novichok contained in a fake perfume bottle. One of the victims survived.

It should be further noted that, like most other chemical weapons, Novichok was not developed with the individual assassination in mind. Marc-Michael Blum, former head of the OPCW Laboratory, explains that "these substances are designed for the mass destruction of enemy personnel during war," and are thus "not reliable enough" if used to kill one, specific individual in peacetime conditions. In other words, it cannot be ruled out that Navalny was poisoned by Novichok simply because he survived the ordeal and regained consciousness.

This article also claimed that Berlin considers Navalny's data a state secret.

Read similar disinformation messages alleging that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia, that only traces of alcohol and caffeine were found in Navalny's blood, that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko or that US used Navalny case to block Russian vaccine against COVID-19.

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  • Reported in: Issue 212
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: Skripal, novichok, Amesbury poisoning, Sergei Skripal, Chemical weapons/attack, Alexei Navalny

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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Disproof

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Disproof

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