Disinfo: Navalny's poisoning could be a provocation by EU

Summary

Behind the situation with Alexei Navalny may be foreign states that seek to destabilise the political situation in Russia. The poisoning of the blogger could have been a “provocation” by the European Union. It could have been an attempt on the part of foreign states to harm the health of a Russian citizen in order to create tensions within Russia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Navalny poisoning. A prominent Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny fell ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on the 20th of August. Initially hospitalized in Omsk, at the request of his family he was transferred to Charité hospital in Berlin. Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests provided unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny. The EU condemned in the strongest possible terms the assassination attempt on Alexei Navalny. Pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets frequently present a variety of mutually exclusive versions of what happened to Alexei Navalny . Similar techniques were used to sow doubt about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal with the nerve agent Novichok by GRU agents.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 210
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/08/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: EU, Russia
  • Keywords: Sergei Skripal, Anti-Russian, European Union, Alexei Navalny
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The Eastern Partnership's aim is to tear the ex-Soviet countries away from Russia

The programmes promoted by the European Union, called the Eastern Partnership, for the European countries of the former Soviet Union and Transcaucasia as well as individual activities carried out by the United States in the post-Soviet space, are all aimed at keeping these countries apart from the Russian Federation.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative alleging that the Eastern Partnership and the West are separating Russia from its neighbours.

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a joint policy initiative which aims to deepen and strengthen relations between the European Union (EU), its Member States and its six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The West is arranging provocations towards Russia

An unpleasant tendency is observed: first a Russian diplomat is expelled by Norway, then Slovakia, now Austria, and all this over the past two weeks. Provocations and incitement to hostility towards Russia are played out according to an old scenario that has been rolled out by the West.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the West's alleged anti-Russian activities. The Austrian authorities declared a Russian diplomat persona non grata and expelled him from the country, Deutsche Welle reported. The diplomat is suspected of industrial espionage. It is reported that the employee of the Russian embassy committed acts that violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

On 19 August, Norway expelled a Russian diplomat following revelations of a spy scandal and the week before, another NATO country, Slovakia expelled 3 Russian embassy staff over abuse of visas in a case which media linked to the murder in Berlin of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian citizen, and Chechen critic.

Dangerous American labs close to the Russian border

The coronavirus pandemic should prompt many civilian institutions to take a fresh look at the Pentagon’s bio-labs. The first and only protest to date has taken place in Ukraine. There are 15 laboratories in this country, in which the United States sponsors biological research. Nobody builds biological facilities that run on dangerous toxins and pathogens in densely populated areas. But the Americans went even further, not only to transfer their laboratories from their densely populated areas, but to transfer them to other countries. Such laboratories close to the Russian border are simply pushing the Americans into dangerous experiments. And the existence of unfriendly countries like Ukraine and Georgia fuels this desire.

Disproof

This is a recurring conspiracy theory alleging that the United States develops biological weapons around the world, consistent with the Pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign against biological laboratories in Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine and other countries. The conspiracy about US biolabs in countries bordering Russia aiming to encircle Moscow and spread infectious diseases is a part of a years-long disinformation campaign led by the Kremlin. In fact, biological laboratories are involved in preventing the risks of complex diseases and, together with other similar projects, counteracting bioterrorism. In Ukraine, the claim often refers to the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU), which is an intergovernmental organisation established in an international agreement in 1993. Its mission is to support civilian science, technology partnerships and collaboration through chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear risk mitigation. The projects of STCU partners include research on adjuvant for improvement of cancer vaccines, detecting trace impurities in biological tissues, human vision diagnostics, and therapy among many others. In Georgia, it is the Richard Lugar Centre for Public Health Research, which is a facility of the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC). It is a top-tiered institution in NCDC’s laboratory network and serves as a reference laboratory for Georgia’s public health system. Read more about the disinformation campaign surrounding the Lugar Laboratory on Myth Detector. Furthermore, the US Department of Defence’s Biological Threat Reduction Programme collaborates with partner countries to counter the threat of outbreaks (deliberate, accidental or natural) of the world’s most dangerous infectious diseases. Read a similar case that the US tests biological weapons on Ukrainians to further attack Russia.