Disinfo: UK special bodies can be implicated in Yushchenko, Skripals, and Navalny poisoning

Summary

The UK special services used to attack Russia long before the Skripals poisoning. The story of UK-based Strategic Communications Laboratory (SCL Group) which carried out disinformation campaigns against Russia since the early 1990s is one example. The SCL Group was involved in the Orange revolution events in Ukraine in 2004. The revolution succeeded thanks to strange poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko. Today Kyiv acknowledges that the poisoning never took place. One cannot rule out that the SCL Group was implicated in this and other poisonings, including the Skripals and some Russian activists.

Disproof

This is one of the multiple conspiracy theories around the Skripals poisoning which implicates the now-defunct UK-based private company SCL Group.

The poisoning of the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has been confirmed in 2009 by The Lancet. According to this research, TTCD dioxin levels in Yushchenko`s blood were more than 50,000 times higher than normal. Also, the same research claims: “The dioxin used to poison Yushchenko could have been produced in numerous laboratories because it was a purified version that has no natural source”. There is no evidence to connect the poisoning to SCL Group, even though it is true that the Group has claimed to had helped the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004.

The reference to 'some Russian activists' most likely is addressed to Alexei Navalny, who has been poisoned by Novichok in August 2020. The pro-Kremlin media has drawn numerous parallels between Navalny and Skripals poisoning. Most of them were coupled with the usual denial: “there is no evidence that Navalny was poisoned” or that “London has no evidence of Moscow’s complicity in the Skripals’ poisoning”. Read more about this in our past analysis titled Salisbury all over again.

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. As for Skripal case, after a hearing in the Court of Protection, British High Court Justice David Williams issued an approved judgement about what had happened to the Skripals around three weeks after their poisoning in March 2018. 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. Some of the material has 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.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that only Navalny’s entourage may be interested in his death, that poisoning of Navalny is a provocation to spoil relations between Russia and Germany, that it is unclear, who really poisoned Sergei and Yuliya Skripal, or that Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned by cosmetic procedures.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 220
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 29/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: UK, Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Skripal, Alexei Navalny, Anti-Russian, Conspiracy

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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Facebook and Twitter are controlled from a centre in the US

The centre which controls powerful social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, allowing them to manipulate public opinion, is located on the other side of the ocean.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation claiming that the social networks (primarily Facebook and Twitter) are controlled from one centre on the other side of the ocean, in this case, in the USA. It is often claimed that the US uses social networks against Russia.

There is no evidence confirming that both Facebook and Twitter are controlled from one common centre. Facebook and Twitter are two separate independent organisations. Facebook was founded by a group of students from Harvard University in 2004, while Twitter was created in 2006 by former Google employees.

Germany Controls Alexei Navalny

Navalny is in control of the Germans, and whatever he does, from defending the Nord Stream 2 project to what he says to the Americans who don’t support him, is at the behest of Berlin.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory presented by Sputnik Azerbaijan and recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the relationship between Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny and Germany. There are no grounds to connect Germany with controlling Alexei Navalny. Alexei Navalny is the leader of Russia of the Future party and critic of the incumbent government of Russia. He is also founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation. He fell ill during a flight on 20 August and at the request of his family, was transferred to Berlin to receive treatment.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that a substance similar to Novichok had been used to poison him. The European Union has condemned what seems to have been an attempt on Alexei Navalny's life and imposed sanctions on six senior Russian officials and a chemical research centre.

Crimea became Russian after the 2014 referendum

Crimea became a Russian republic after a referendum was held there in March 2014, when 96.77% of Crimean voters and 95.6% of Sevastopol residents voted to join Russia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the illegal annexation of Crimea.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on 16th of March 2014. The oft-cited figure of 97% has been contested by the Kremlin’s own Human Rights Council, which estimated that only between 30% and 50% of Crimeans took part in the referendum, of which some 50-60% favoured secession.