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
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, Chemical weapons/attack, Alexei Navalny

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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Disproof

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