Disinfo: Russia is ready to investigate the alleged use of Novichok

Summary

Russia is ready to investigate the alleged use of Novichok but nobody has provided Russia with evidence about this.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian opposition figure.

The disinformation message clearly refers to the Navalny case, though it does not mention him by name. It is not true that no evidence has been provided to Russia about the use of Novichok in Navalny poisoning. And it is not true that Russia is ready to investigate the alleged use of Novichok.

Navalny fell ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on the 20th of August. He was initially hospitalised in Omsk, but shortly afterwards, at the request of his family, he was transferred to Charité hospital in Berlin, where clinical findings indicated that he 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 Navalny.

Additionally, Navalny's poisoning with a Novichok-type agent has been solidly established and later independently corroborated by labs in France and Sweden, and finally confirmed by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), of which the Russian Federation is a member. The OPCW identified the toxin as a cholinesterase inhibitor structurally resembling the known Novichok variants.

The OPCW received on 1 October 2020 a request from the Russian Federation to consider dispatching experts from the Technical Secretariat to the Russian Federation in order to cooperate with Russian experts. OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias, responded to this request assuring Russian Federation authorities that the Technical Secretariat is ready to provide the requested expertise and that a team of experts could be deployed on short notice.

Germany has responded to past Russian calls for Navalny's medical samples by saying that Russia should already have all it needs after its initial treatment of the dissident. German authorities also informed Russia via diplomatic channels on the progress of the investigation. On September 11, 2020 Berlin’s Justice Ministry approved a request from Moscow for legal assistance in the investigation and information on Navalny’s state of health, “subject to his consent ”.

Several months after the incident, Russian authorities have yet not initiated any kind of investigation into the incident. Russian prosecutors declared at an early stage, that nothing pointed at any criminal case behind Navalny’s condition.

See related disinformation cases alleging that Russian investigators are kept away from the Navalny case and that Germany has no evidence that Navalny was poisoned.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 226
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/12/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Italian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Germany, Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, OPCW, Alexei Navalny, Chemical weapons/attack
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After [Donald] Trump won, the Deep State rushed to correct this mistake, and this gap was closed in time for the last US elections. The government and intelligence agencies rushed to take steps to censor social media and reduce “unwanted” information.

…messages and videos that do not fit with the social media administration are deleted, or at the very least, flagged as untrue, or unverified. President Trump’s speeches became a perfect example of this. It is even possible to prevent entire news agencies from accessing these social networks if the information they provide is not suitable for the administration of these networks.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation about social media companies and censorship and the presence of a "Deep State".

There is no basis to the claims that social media companies such as Twitter, Facebook or Google have engaged in censorship, or restricting US President Donald Trump or his supporters. The claims about the global elite secretly ruling the world, and specifically, a so-called ‘deep state’ in the United State that promotes wars or controls the US are also not supported with evidence.

Sweden attempts to use the “Russian threat” to avoid attention to the country’s failure on fighting COVID-19

The Swedish parliament has decided to enlarge the military budget with 40 percent. The main argument for this is Stockholm’s concern with the “Russian threat” in the Baltic Sea.

/…/

When the whole world entered to quarantine, the Swedish authorities decided not to do so. Now they are reaping the harvest of what they have sown – enormous social, medical and economical problems.

But the Swedish media keeps quiet on this and attempts to show a pretty face. In order not to let the public know about the country’s internal problems, the media evokes different kinds of mythical threats, sacrificing enormous amounts of money to fortify positions of NATO at our borders. Why recognise your own mistakes, when you can find an external enemy and blame everything on him?

Disproof

The Parliament of Sweden has decided to significantly increase budget spendings into “total defence” - to civil contingency planning, civil defence - and military. This decision is based partly from the experiences of Russia’s aggressions against Georgia in 2008, the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine in Donbas.

Sweden is not a member of NATO and needs to rely on its own resources for repelling aggression and handling crises.

The Ukrainian destabilisation “handbook” is not adequate for Belarus

The Ukrainian “handbook” is not adequate for Belarus. Some experts, especially from Ukraine, think that everything that is happening now in Belarus is a complete analogy of the 2013-2014 events in Ukraine. All the moves are planned and you can spite them following the dogmas already known by heart. Yes, the pro-Western Russophobic opposition created the protests, and is being aided from Warsaw, Vilnius, London, Washington, Berlin, etc. There is only one crucial difference: Lukashenko showed more political will than Yanukovich.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative portraying popular protests in Ukraine and Belarus as Western-led “colour revolutions” in order to deprive them of any legitimacy.

Contrary to the claim, massive mobilisations against the governments of Ukraine in 2013 and of Belarus in 2020 were not destabilisation operations orchestrated from abroad. The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure. Protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential election in Belarus on the 9th of August, which were not monitored by independent experts, and are largely considered fraudulent by both international observers and a large part of the Belarusian society.