Disinfo: Poisoning of Navalny is a provocation to spoil relations between Russia and Germany

Summary

The most plausible version of Navalny’s poisoning is that it is a provocation to spoil relations between Russia and Germany in a desperate attempt to stop the construction of Nord Stream 2.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Navalny’s poisoning, presenting it as an incident which has nothing to do with his political activity. There is no ground for connecting the Navalny case with the construction of Nord Stream 2.

A prominent Russian opposition figure Alexey 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. 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, claiming that "the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances is completely unacceptable and a breach of international law".

The Nord Stream 2 is a Gazprom project, consisting of building a new export gas pipeline running from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea. The pipelaying operations commenced in the Baltic Sea in September 2018 in German territorial waters.

See here a similar case, claiming that the US hopes that Navalny case will generate the cancellation of Nord Stream 2.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 210
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: EU, Russia, US, Germany
  • Keywords: novichok, Nord Stream 2, 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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Navalny was not poisoned with Novichok

If Alexei Navalny’s condition was caused by poisoning from Novichok, the people accompanying him would have to suffer the same symptoms. According to the chief toxicologist who first treated Navalny in Omsk hospital in Siberia, his situation was triggered by an “internal activation mechanism”. Novichok is an organophosphate compound and because of its high toxicity, it is not possible to poison just one person.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Navalny 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.

US charged Russia based on inconclusive evidence on Skripals’ poisoning

Although London did not provide conclusive evidence of Skripals’ poisoning in 2018, this did not prevent Washington from directing charges against Moscow.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury claiming that the United Kingdom was never able to provide "conclusive" evidence of the Skripal being poisoned nor of Russia’s involvement.

Moscow's involvement in the poisoning has been proven via a thorough investigation. The British Police have presented a solid chain of evidence on the Skripal case, with pictures, connecting the suspects to the locations in the case. Parts of the material have been released to the public. The evidence was sufficient to charge two Russian nationals, Anatoliy Chepiga and Aleksandr Mishkin with the attack on the Skripals, both Russian military intelligence operatives from the GRU, who travelled to the UK using fake names and documents.

NATO exercises in Estonia are an unfriendly message addressed to Russia

Any NATO exercise is a message in military language addressed to certain countries, in this case, an unfriendly message addressed to Russia. The military exercises in Estonia are provocative and dangerous. NATO is working on a land war scenario. On the eastern borders of the Alliance, a land war can only be waged with Russia, no one else.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO allegedly pursuing a belligerent and hostile agenda against Russia.

Every nation has the right to conduct exercises, but it is important that they are conducted transparently and in line with international obligations.