Disinfo: No signs that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok

Summary

There are no signs or symptoms that show that Novichok was used against Alexei Navalny. The symptoms of poisoning that appeared on Navalny are not a familiar result of Novichok characteristics. If Novichok was indeed used, he would not have been able to survive, especially since these chemicals shut down the body completely. If a person would survive, he would be living in a vegetative state, with no ability to move or speak, or even quickly return back to a normal life.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny fell ill during a flight 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. He was transferred to Berlin and was treated 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 Navalny. On 14 September, the German government provided research by two more independent laboratories in France and Sweden, which confirmed the presence of poison from the Novichok group in the body of politician Alexei Navalny. There are at least four people known to have survived a Novichok poisoning. 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. The UK authorities established that the assassination attempt had been carried out by two Russian intelligence operatives using Novichok. In June that year, two individuals in Amesbury, England were accidentally exposed to Novichok contained in a fake perfume bottle. One of the victims survived. Moreover, Novichok was not developed for individual assassination. 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, a 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. Read similar disinformation cases alleging that only traces of alcohol and caffeine were found in Navalny’s blood, that West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko and that if the victim does not die, it cannot be Novichok. The disinformation claim appeared in the same video, alleging that Novichok is a term coined by the British TV series in early 2000s.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 215
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/10/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, Alexei Navalny, Chemical weapons/attack
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Kyiv prepares militants to fight against Armenia

Now they [Kyiv] are carefully working and forming a group to send militants from Ukraine to Azerbaijan. This work is underway. Let’s see if it will be just talks or not. We saw that our jingoistic patriots were ready to fight with Russia, not directly, but by participating in some local conflicts.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the recent escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Ukraine. There is no evidence that Ukraine prepares militants to take part in the current military escalation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied the possibility of Ukraine providing military assistance to Azerbaijan or Armenia. Ukraine calls on the two countries to engage in dialogue and to de-escalate the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Ukrainian Ministry for Foreign Affairs has a similar position on events in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

A strong external player is trying to create an "arc of instability" around Russia

There are hotbeds of tension throughout the post-Soviet space. We are talking about states that are not just Russia’s neighbours. These are countries that have partner relations with Russia. Many are again discussing the arc of instability, the State Department’s naphthalene plan to increase tensions on the Russian borders. A strong external player is trying to create a kind of “arc of instability” next to Russia.

Disproof

The article appeared in the context of the recent escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh which is a continuation of the decades-old conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. This conspiracy theory is hinting that the escalation of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the result of deliberate Western actions aimed at harming Russia and its interests. It, therefore, corresponds to recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the belligerent and hostile US and West and fits well into the disinformation narrative that presents virtually all protests, civil uprisings, or local conflicts as a consequence of the West's intentional actions. Read similar cases on "colour revolutions"; for example the claim that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict favours US interests, someone wants to divert Russia from Belarus and Syria, that The escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan is directed against Russia, or that the US embassy in Armenia is a mini-Pentagon escalating tension in the region and the Middle East.

Events in Kyrgyzstan are a test before a colour revolution in Russia

The events in Kyrgyzstan are a continuation of the Western policy to work out the scenario of a “colour revolution” in Russia, scheduled for 2021. The upcoming elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation are speeding up the West’s preparation.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory, pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Kyrgyzstan based on recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative that accuses the West of orchestrating "colour revolutions" in Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, and other states. The protests in Kyrgyzstan erupted to contest the results of the parliamentary elections that took place on 4 October, which are considered unfair by oppositional parties. As a result of the elections, none of the twelve established oppositional parties secured seats in the parliament. The parties declared they would not recognise the results of the vote. The President and the ruling parties were accused of vote-buying and voter intimidation. On 7 October, the electoral authorities annulled the election results. Pro-Kremlin media frequently use disinformation narratives falsely claiming popular protests around the world are incited and funded by the US and other Western states. It has been applied, among others, to protests in Ukraine, Venezuela, Georgia, and Belarus, as well as to present a deceiving narrative on the aggressive West constantly preparing new coups. 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.