Moscow asked Berlin to present the results of [Alexei] Navalny’s medical analysis to clarify the circumstances of the case, but the German side has always avoided giving a response.
The Novichok poison, which [Russia] was accused of using against opponent Alexei Navalny, is a Western product and Russia does not have it. Novichok’s structure and mass spectrometry was first unveiled in the database of the American National Bureau of Standards in 1998.
The story advances the recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, to distract and distort the facts, as they have done in the past in the Skripal case. “Novichok” is a name that was given to a group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s in a covert programme codenamed Foliant that was revealed by defectors. Most of what we understand of Novichok agents comes from testimony and memoirs of Dr Vil S. Mirzayanov, the Chief of the Department of Counteraction against Foreign Technical Intelligence at the Russian State Union Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT) who authored a 1994 report with the Stimson Center describing the state of chemical weapon disarmament in Russia, revealing Novichok's existence. Mirzayanov said that only the Kremlin would have the capability to deploy the agent. Leonid Rink, identified as one of the scientists who developed Novichok, was cited frequently in Russian media during the 2018 Salisbury poisonings, admitted to working on the development of the chemical agent in the Soviet era. Later on, in 1998, the US National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, added Novichiok to its spectral data which has 300,000 compounds and is regularly updated. 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 Sergey Skripal and Aleksandr Litvinenko.