Disinfo: Novichok is a Western brand known from an American database, Russia does not possess it

Summary

As for the nerve agent known in the West as Novichok, its structure and mass spectrum were first entered into the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) database in 1998. It is noteworthy that the data on this substance was provided by a research centre of the U.S. Department of Defence. Later on, a whole group of toxic chemicals not covered by the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (CWC) was developed on the basis of the mentioned compound.

These new Novichok-like substances that have not yet been registered on the banned list are being dealt with not only in the USA, but in at least 20 other Western countries. So Novichok is a purely Western brand. In these Western countries, about 140 variants of this substance have been synthesised and are available. [Russia] does not possess them.

Disproof

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.

In September 2017, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the full destruction of the 39,967 tonnes of chemical weapons possessed by Russia, but Novichoks were never declared to the OPCW and were not included in the Chemical Weapons Convention until 2019.

After the poisoning of Sergey and Yuliya Skripal with Novichok in Salisbury in 2018, Dr. Vil 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.”

Most of what we understand of Novichok agents comes from testimony and memoirs of Dr Vil S. Mirzayanov, the Chief of the Department of Counteraction against Foreign Technical Intelligence at the Russian State Union Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT) who authored a 1994 report with the Stimson Center describing the state of chemical weapon disarmament in Russia, revealing Novichok's existence. Mirzayanov said that only Russia would have the capability to deploy the agent.

Later on, in 1998, the US National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, added Novichok to its spectral data which has 300,000 compounds and is regularly updated.

A recently published year-long investigation by Bellingcat has discovered evidence that Russia continued its Novichok development programme long beyond the officially announced closure date.

There are also other cases following the same trend of disputing Navalny's poisoning and the use of Novichok by Russian state operatives, which can be found here and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 217
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Russia, US, Germany
  • Keywords: novichok, Sergei Lavrov, 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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Skripal and Navalny cases are both fake, goal is to pit Germany against Russia

The parallels between the German Novichok Navalny case and the British Novichok Skripal case are obvious: both are fake. […]

The Russian government was declared guilty; not on the basis of circumstantial evidence, but with the help of twisted motto “Who else but Putin could it have been?” And because that worked so well in the Skripal case, the transatlantic US vassals in the German government in Berlin are trying to pull the Navalny rabbit out of the Novichok hat with the same British Skripal magic trick, because the German population must be put in position against the evil Russians. […]

Yet only a few years ago in Germany and in the old countries of the European Union, the foreign policy consensus was that “without Russia peace and stability in Europe are not possible, and certainly not when being against Russia.” This insight has lost none of its validity since then, and the desire for peace with Russia is firmly anchored in the minds of a large part of the population. However, the transatlantic warmongers in the EU want to counteract this with fake horror stories of the Skripal type and now with the fake Novichok poisoning of Navalny.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory, and a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Navalny's poisoning in connection with the Skripal-poisoning. These narratives aim to deny Russia's well-documented role in the poisoning of Sergey and Yuliya Skripal in 2018 as well as to label Western governments and institutions as inherently Russophobic and Anti-Russian, targeting Vladimir Putin.

Additionally the claim also includes the pro-Kremlin narrative of Germany being a US-vassal. Pro-Kremlin outlets often use the disinformation narrative about different countries being under America's thumb - see other examples here. Germany is an independent and sovereign country and is not dependent on the United States of America in terms of foreign policy making and therefore it is a conspiracy theory presented without any evidence. Germany and the US have close partner relations of two sovereign and independent countries.

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The West has waged a vaccine war over the COVID-19 Sputnik V vaccine. It is a geopolitical confrontation that really has nothing to do with the vaccine. Clinical trials are ongoing and the results are positive.

Disproof

The article is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign in support of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus.

Tests were not completed before Russia released any information about the vaccine. Criticism and scepticism come mainly from professional circles, not from Western officials or pharmaceutical companies. The operation of the vaccine is questioned even by specialists directly from Russia.

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Belarus is the beginning. Russia will face blows from the West, South and East.

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Disproof

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