Disinfo: Navalny and Nord Stream 2: The Americans are recouping their long-term investment in Alexei

Summary

Russia has no benefit in the hypothetical poisoning of opposition politician Alexei Navalny. This incident cannot be beneficial to Russia, and the unfounded accusations against Moscow and the demands to suspend the Nord Stream 2 project indicate that it is a political order.

Both Navalny and Skripal are already waste material. But their consequences are very beneficial to the United States because now they are trying to push through the cancellation of Nord Stream 2. The Americans, it seems, have finally decided to recoup their long-term investment in Alexei.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Alexei Navalny's poisoning.

There are no grounds for connecting the cause of Navalny's poisoning with the construction of Nord Stream 2.

A prominent Russian opposition figure, Alexey Navalny fell ill during an internal flight in Russia and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors said he was in a coma and they were trying to save his life. Since then he has been transferred to Berlin and is receiving treatment at Berlin's Charite Hospital. The German federal government said that toxicological tests provided  “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group” in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny.

The European Union condemned the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in the strongest possible terms.

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.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 210
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: UK, Russia, US, Germany
  • Keywords: Skripal, Conspiracy theory, novichok, Nord Stream 2, Alexei Navalny, Conspiracy

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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Alexei Navalny, originally an anti-Russian project, was poisoned by his sponsors

Alexei Navalny is an expensive and long-term project. I do not know who and when decided to include Alexei Navalny on the [Russian] political agenda. Yes, this is probably not important now, since we have the opportunity to observe the end of the project.

Navalny was very quickly brought into the big game in order to exclude Russia from an even more global game – the battle for Belarus. Everyone, both those who have invested a lot of money into this person from abroad for many years and those who saw him as a real leader and future president of Russia, understands now that spending more money on him is useless.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Alexei Navalny alleging that he was sponsored by anti-Russian forces, while also deflecting the news agenda away from responsibility for his poisoning.

Alexei Navalny is a key Russian opposition politician and an anti-corruption activist. He is a founder and a leader of the "Anti-Corruption Foundation" ("Fond Boriby s Korrypciey"), where he uncovered the life of Russian politicians and businessmen close to the government, different corruption practices, etc. He ran in in the Moscow mayoral elections in 2013 and came second. He claimed election fraud but still lost the elections. In 2018, he was campaigning for the Presidency of Russia but the Central Electoral Commission barred him from participation. The Russian government detained him multiple times and prosecuted for different criminal and administrative offences.

Novichok is produced in Georgia and the US

Laboratories producing chemicals of the Novichok group are located in Georgia and the United States, while Russia does not produce such substances.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the Navalny poisoning and the Lugar lab. The narrative is also a classic example of whataboutism.

The Kremlin has already falsely linked Novichok to a laboratory in Georgia two years ago, read more on EUvsDisinfo.

Russia doesn’t have Novichok anymore

For some, the creation of Novichok in the USSR is equivalent to say that Russia and its special services are guilty of the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. But Russia not only doesn’t have the monopoly over Novichok, but it has also stopped the development and production of these substances and destroyed its reserves. It is also known that Vil Mirzayanov, the chemist that worked with the creators of Novichok in the 1970s and 1980s and run to the US afterwards, published the formula of the nerve agent that, according to his own words, was repeatedly synthesised outside Russia.

Disproof

The claims are false. In September 2017, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the full destruction of the 39,967 metric tons of chemical weapons possessed by Russia, but Novichoks were never declared to the OPCW and weren’t included in the Chemical Weapons Convention until 2019. Also, Dr. Vil Mirzayanov didn’t state what is affirmed. After the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal with Novichok in Salisbury in 2018, Mirzayanov said that “many countries could have had test samples, but production was only refined in the U.S.S.R. and Russia” and that Russia had to be behind the attempt on the Skripals because it “is the country that invented it, has the experience, turned it into a weapon... has fully mastered the cycle”.

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group was established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory.  The use of multiple and simultaneous versions about 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 Sergei and Yulia Skripal or chemical attacks in Syria.