Disinfo: Navalny’s Novichok poisoning was a psychosomatic reaction


The Novichok used against Navalny was of a psychosomatic type. In other words, it only affects you if you believe in it. If you don’t, then it doesn’t. It’s very simple.


The claim advances a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative concerning the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.

Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny had been poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests established the presence of a Novichok-type chemical nerve agent in Navalny's blood.

There are no grounds to suggest that the chemical agent in question produces a "psychosomatic" reaction in the affected individual. In October 2020, Germany's findings were corroborated by the OPCW Technical Secretariat, which concluded that "[t]he biomarkers of the cholinesterase inhibitor found in Mr Navalny’s blood and urine samples have similar structural characteristics to the toxic chemicals belonging to schedules 1.A.14 and 1.A.15." Any toxic substance listed in Schedule 1 of the Annex on Chemicals must meet several criteria including, crucially, that it "possesses such lethal or incapacitating toxicity as well as other properties that would enable it to be used as a chemical weapon" (para 1(b)(ii), emphasis added).


  • Reported in: Issue 221
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/11/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Germany
  • Keywords: novichok, Chemical weapons/attack, 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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