Disinfo: US used Navalny case to block Russian vaccine against Covid-19

Summary

Referring to a painful attack of an incomprehensible nature that attempted to kill the cyber activist Navalny, the Bureau of Industry and Security of the US Department of Commerce added five Russian research institutes to the sanctions lists, including the 48th Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defence of Russia, which participated in the work on the vaccine against COVID-19. Thanks to the current occasion of Navalny’s poisoning (or thanks to a dashing illness that struck him), the US administration got the opportunity to block the release of the vaccine to many foreign markets, for example, to the markets of US customers. If Navalny did not exist, he would have been invented. The fate of the American pharmaceutical industry and the fate of Navalny is more important than someone’s lives.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Alexei Navalny's poisoning. Consistent with the Kremlin propaganda narrative that the poisoning of Russian opposition leader is in the interest of the West to use the case against Russia. See similar disinformation narratives that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia and West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko. The claim is a conspiracy theory that tries to artificially link Navalny poisoning and related sanctions to the Sputnik V, Covid-19 vaccine produced in Russia. The vaccine has been met with international scepticism, claiming that the Russian vaccine is not backed by evidence from a complete phase 3 trial. The criticism has nothing to do with the Navalny case. The US imposed restrictions on three Russian facilities for their alleged involvement in chemical and biological weapons research, including Defence Ministry's 33rd Central Research and Testing Institute and 48th Central Research Institute. Background: Russian opposition leader and a critic of Vladimir Putin Alexey Navalny has been suffering from suspected poisoning. He fell ill during a flight and the plane to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors said he was in a coma and they were trying to save his life. Navalny has since been transferred to Berlin and is receiving treatment at Berlin's Charite Hospital. Clinical findings indicate poisoning with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors, said Charite.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 209
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 29/08/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: US, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, vaccination, Alexei Navalny, Conspiracy theory
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In desperate need of a vaccine, Europe is turning to Russia

While Western pharmaceutical corporations are still working on a drug against coronavirus, the European Union does not rule out the purchase of a vaccine developed by Russian scientists “Sputnik V”. The race for the vaccine has been another failed test of Western solidarity. On both sides of the Atlantic, governments are making multimillion-dollar orders for a drug that pharmaceutical corporations have not yet created. Opposition against Sputnik V has political roots and is grounded in the fact that West did not yet create its own vaccine.

Disproof

A new addition to the recently developed pro-Kremlin narrative about Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V. The European Commission unveiled on Thursday 20 August they had secured 225 million doses on behalf of all EU Member States from CureVac. “The European Commission delivers on its promise to secure rapid access for Europeans and the world to a safe vaccine that protects us against the coronavirus," said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. While the article attempts to portray the Russian Sputnik V vaccine as a done deal, earlier this month, the WHO published a landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines, which considered the Russian project developed by Gamaleya Research Institute as being in Phase 1 of clinical testing. In fact, Russia hasn’t completed large trials to test the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, and rolling out an inadequately vetted vaccine could endanger people who receive it. The World Health Organisation expressed some reservations about the procedure followed by Russia, initiating talks with Russian authorities about undertaking a review of the vaccine but refusing to endorse it right away. In fact, while there is no approved vaccine yet, there are 36 vaccines in clinical trials on humans, and at least 90 preclinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals.

A failed mediation in Ukraine led to a bloody coup

Any pressure on the issue of mediation in Belarus brings back to mind the agreement of February 21, 2014, between the government and the opposition in Ukraine, when mediators from Germany, France and Poland failed to prevent the implementation of a bloody coup scenario in Kyiv and forgot their pledges.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative depicting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup d’état. The onset of the Euromaidan protests was a spontaneous and endogenous reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden withdrawal from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here. The Agreement on the settlement of the political crisis in Ukraine is the document signed on 21 February 2014 by then-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and the leaders of the parliamentary opposition under the mediation of the European Union and the Russian Federation. On 26 February 2014, the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory in Crimea without the consent of the Ukrainian Government, in which the UNGA confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation. Moving on, Lithuania, Poland and Latvia recently said they were ready to mediate between the Belarusian government and the opposition after Sunday’s, 9 August, presidential election prompted bloody street protests. The EU continues a step-by-step approach in its engagement with Belarus, supporting its civil society and victims of repression. The protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential election in Belarus on the 9 August, which are considered fraudulent by a large part of Belarusian society. Read a similar case claiming that The West organised the Maidan coup to make Ukraine an anti-Russian state, or that the West dreams of tearing Belarus apart from Russia and to organise a Ukraine-like scenario, and that pro-Western Belarusian opposition prepares a revolution with the assistance of armed Ukrainian nationalists.

Many questions to be answered on Navalny blood tests in Berlin

In the blood tests, Charité [hospital in Berlin, where Navlany is treated] finds signs of cholinesterase inhibitors, a group of drugs used in fertilizers, medicines, insect sprays, but also warfare agents. The only possible conclusion is that Putin has poisoned Navalny. The Russian tests did not discover cholestesterase-inhibitors. […] Now it is a finding against a finding. Statement against statement. The German government supports the Charité doctors and demands an investigation from Russia, knowing full well that demonstrative external pressure on the Russians is always counterproductive. Media are foaming up, a perfect background noise. There are questions to be answered: Who had access to the patient Navalny after he landed [in Berlin]? Who was in the Bundeswehr transport? Who had access to him in the clinic? In which hands were his samples? Where are the pictures, the surveillance camera from the clinic? With all due respect, this is not the first case of the Charité acting as a contract clinic for special patients with geopolitical implications. Charité patient Viktor Yushchenko was examined here in 2004. Dioxin poisoning was detected in him. The diagnosis was a decisive factor in his election. Yushchenko became Ukrainian President. And thus he had all the levers in his hand to stifle the investigation of his own poisoning.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory about the poisoning of anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny presented as a series of rhetorical and leading questions, suggesting manipulation of the test results. The doctors of the Berlin Charité Hospital announced that initial findings point to poisoning of the Kremlin critic Navalny. The official Charité-statement reads:

"Following his admission, Mr. Navalny underwent extensive examination by a team of Charité physicians. Clinical findings indicate poisoning with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. The specific substance involved remains unknown, and a further series of comprehensive testing has been initiated. The effect of the poison – namely, the inhibition of cholinesterase in the body – was confirmed by multiple tests in independent laboratories."

Navalny was treated in a hospital in Omsk, but was later transferred to the Berlin Charité hospital. Only after hours of back and forth did the physicians in Omsk drop their objections to a transport to Germany. The Omsk health officials claimed Navalny had tested negative for cholinesterase inhibitors. During his campaign for the presidency in 2004, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko became seriously ill from dioxin poisoning in an apparent assassination attempt. By December 2004, doctors had confirmed that dioxin was behind Yushchenko's ailment. The RT report draws a parallel with the poisoning of the former president of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko, who is believed to have ingested a concentrated dose of dioxin. Contrary to the claims of the disinformation message, there is little doubt that the former president of Ukraine was poisoned, however the investigation into the circumstances has not been completed. Read more on MythDetector. See related disinformation messages blaming the West for Navalny's condition, and alleging that only alcohol and caffeine was found in Navalny blood.