Disinfo: Russia had no real reason to get rid of Navalny, but his poisoning is useful to the West

Summary

The West rushed to accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny with a “Novichok-type substance”, but did Russia really have reasons to get rid of him? The reaction of western officials has been disproportionately quickly and emotive compared to the reaction in Russia itself, where despite his prominent position in opposition circles there were no protest actions. So one can ask: where is this western solidarity coming? NATO allies and their supporters, from the German government to the US and UK administrations, quickly echoed each other adopting the same narrative. The similarity of the Navalny case to previous unproven poisoning accusations doesn’t seem to bother western politicians or media. The obvious question is: why those incidents take place right in the moment in which Russia is about to secure an important agreement or start a promising project with its western partners? For months, the German government resisted US attempts to stop the Nord Stream 2 project to deliver Russian natural gas to Germany. Now there are voices supporting the cancellation of this big project that utter the two new magical words: Navalny and Novichok.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the poisoning of activist Alexei Navalny. 

Alexei Navalny fell ill on a 20 August flight from Siberia to Moscow. Initially hospitalized in Omsk, he was transferred to the Charité hospital in Berlin at the request of his family. Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests revealed the presence of a Novichok-type nerve agent in Navalny's blood.

There are no grounds for connecting the cause of Navalny's poisoning with the construction of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Polluting Western media environments with multiple contradictory narratives of a given event is an established strategy of pro-Kremlin media outlets. See here for an overview of, and similarities between, Russian disinformation campaigns surrounding the 2018 Skripal poisoning and the 2020 Navalny poisoning.

See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on Alexei Navalny’s poisoning in our database, such as claims that only caffeine and alcohol were found in his blood, that the US wanted to use it to block Nord Stream 2 and Russia’s vaccine against coronavirus, that the West hopes that he dies to have an excuse for new sanctions, or that Western accusations about Navalny’s case are as false as they were about Sergei Skripal and Alexander Litvinenko.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 211
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Russia, US, Germany
  • Keywords: novichok, Nord Stream 2, Alexei Navalny, NATO, The West

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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Russian expert uncovers Germany’s mistake on Navalny; Novichok is a mythical poison invented in the UK

The case of the alleged poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny is crumbling. A Russian expert found a serious calculation mistake by Germany, whose government will have to answer many questions in relation to its provocative accusations. Navalny’s entourage doesn’t have symptoms of poisoning other than a hangover, they didn’t think of this detail. It seems that the German authorities will have to explain to Russian authorities how a stable patient was “poisoned”, and with “Novichok”, no less.

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It has been alleged that Russian dissident was poisoned with a nerve agent of the Novichok group. Novichok is a mythical poison invented in Great Britain during its anti-Russian campaign.

Disproof

The use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group against Russian dissident Alexei Navalny has been established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory. The allegation that Germany’s claims must be false because Navalny’s entourage didn’t showed any symptom is absurd: preliminary evidence points that Navalny was almost certainly poisoned after drinking a tea cup that contained the nerve agent, which easily explains why nobody else around him fell ill.

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on this incident, which follows the same playbook that the one deployed after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daugther in Salisbury in 2018, a case where there is strong evidence of the involvement of Russian intelligence operatives and high-level Russian officials.

Germany could be the real target of intoxication of Navalny; money trails point to the US

The intoxication of Russian blogger Alexei Navalny has a very clear goal, and in order to know who could be behind it, one only must know who benefits from the event that caused his metabolic disorder, produced by a sharp fall of his blood sugar levels, which the West is promoting as an alleged poisoning. In this match, Germany could be the real target, and the money trail points directly to the US: its defence budget for 2021 includes imposing sanctions to prevent the finalisation of the Nord Stream 2 works, for which there are only 160 kilometres left until its completion.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The claim that Navalny suffered an “intoxication” or a “metabolic disorder” presented now by the West as “an alleged poisoning” is false, since the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group against the Russian dissident has been established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory.

The campaign is following the same playbook that the one deployed after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daugther in Salisbury in 2018, a case where there is strong evidence of the involvement of Russian intelligence operatives and high-level Russian officials. By claiming that is the US and not Russia who benefits from this incident, pro-Kremlin media are trying to deflect any Russian responsibility for it, a frequent Kremlin tactic. Also, the use of multiple and simultaneous versions of an event involving questionable actions by the Russian government or its allies, in order to confound citizens about the actual truth, is a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation strategy, already seen in the cases of the MH17 downing, the illegal annexation of Crimea, the murder attempt against the Skripals or chemical attacks in Syria.

British propaganda tries to dilute the failure of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Sputnik V

The strong setback of the British vaccine AstraZeneca of the University of Oxford, due to a severe “adverse reaction”, summarises the chronicle of an expected failure, which forced the company to stop its Phase 3 clinical testing and will have a strong impact in the testing of the other AstraZeneca vaccines. All the propagandistic machinery of the United Kingdom and its allies in the US try to dilute the failure of the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying that these setbacks are “frequent and a routine part of its development”. It is estimated that the crusade of the Anglo-Saxon vaccines produced benefits at Wall Street stock markets of at least 100 billion dollars, which probably will start to crumble. The real thing is that the Russian vaccine Sputnik V replaced AstraZeneca from its false first place, despite the taxonomic tricks of the World Health Organisation that had magically considered the British as the number one in the “vaccine war”.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, which was met with scepticism and criticism, even by Russian specialists in the country.

Contrary to the claim, pauses in clinical testing of vaccines are normal and the reaction of AstraZeneca is proof that a strong security procedure is being followed in the search for a vaccine against Covid-19. In early September 2020, AstraZeneca and other western developers of Covid-19 vaccines issued a joint public pledge to maintain safety standards and adhere to high scientific and ethical standards in the conduct of clinical studies and in the manufacturing processes. AstraZeneca trials resumed in the UK only three days after the initial pause.