Disinfo: Navalny's recovery disproves poisoning by Novichok

Summary

The German press writes about the supposedly new type of the Novichok. They write that it is a binary substance, that is, consisting of two components. But in order to bring such a substance into a combat state, an explosion is needed. And since there was no explosion in the case of Navalny, it means that there was no “Novichok” either. This can explain the blogger’s high speed of recovery. In any case, this could only be done by the Western special services, which have been working with substances of this type over the past 20 years. This assumption is confirmed by the fact that German military doctors immediately classified the test results. At the same time, Russia has not been working with such substances for 30 years.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Alexei Navalny's poisoning. 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.

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. The claim about an explosion needed in the case of a binary substance is plainly silly: many glues function the same way - two substances are simply mixed. 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 he lived 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.

The claim that Russia has not been working with Novichok for 30 years is also 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. See other stories on the Navalny poisoning: Many questions to be answered on Navalny blood tests in Berlin, US hopes that the Navalny case will lead to the cancellation of Nord Stream 2, West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 211
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 10/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Germany, Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, West, Alexei Navalny, Intelligence services
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Disinfo: The Navalny Affair is undoubtedly a false-flag provocation to foment hostiliy against Moscow

As with the alleged assassination attempt on MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal, the latest incident involving Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny is undoubtedly a false-flag provocation to foment Western sanctions and hostility against Moscow.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny and Russophobia. Alexey Navalny fell ill during a flight and his plane and was initially hopitalised in Omsk. 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 poisoning of Alexei Navalny in the strongest possible terms. 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. Read similar cases claiming that the US hopes that the Navalny case will lead to the cancellation of Nord Stream 2, that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko and that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia.

Disinfo: Trying to catch up with Russia, the West lost another round in fight against pandemic

When Russian specialists presented the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, Western politicians attacked them with criticism. They accused Russia of being too hasty, pushing their own pharmaceutical companies along the way. This led to an unexpected result. Contrary to criticism and ostentatious scepticism, the vaccine has shown good results. This cannot be said about the developments of Western scientists. The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, from which the US has already pre-ordered the vaccine, was forced to stop testing its drug. One of the test participants developed a “potentially unexplained” illness, the company said.

Disproof

The recently developed pro-Kremlin narrative about Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V. The article referred to "The Lancet" magazine, where the results of tests of the Russian vaccine were published. Russian authors of the article in "The Lancet" wrote about phase 1/2 non-randomised studies at hospitals in Russia, and claimed that "the heterologous vaccine based on rAd26-S and rAd5-S is safe, well tolerated, and does not cause serious adverse events in healthy adult volunteers. The vaccine is highly immunogenic and induces strong humoral and cellular immune responses in 100% of healthy adult volunteers." However, at the same time, the other article in "The Lancet" about the Russian vaccine said that even after publication of the results of phase 1/2, it is not enough for approving the vaccine on a large scale.

"For regulators such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency, however, data on immune response alone would not generally be an adequate basis for approving a vaccine. Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London (London, UK), explains that 'immune response might not be directly proportional to the degree of protection—you can only find this out in large-scale trials'," writes "The Lancet".

Regarding AstraZeneca, the company said it voluntarily paused trials to allow an independent committee to review safety data and it was working to expedite the review to minimise any potential impact on the trial timeline. "This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials," the company said in an emailed statement to Reuters. At the moment, researchers are testing 37 vaccines in clinical trials on humans, and at least 91 preclinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals.

Disinfo: Belarus protests are managed by an external factor 

The protests are under the control of Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Lithuania and the United States. If it was not for the external factor, which is expressed in the management of protests, there would be no provocative street actions in Belarus.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Belarus and its protest painting them as revolution orchestrated by other countries including the West. The protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential election on the 9th of August, which are considered fraudulent by a large part of Belarusian society. The European Union has also stated that the elections were neither free nor fair. See similar cases claiming that the protests in Belarus are a colour revolution conducted according to a Maidan scenario and that the West wants to prepare Maidan in Belarus. Articles describing the attempts to link the protests in Belarus with Poland and Lithuania can be found here and here.