Disinfo: The West defends Navalny, a fraudster who uses children as human shields as terrorists do

Summary

When they defend Alexei Navalny, Europe and the US are defending a blogger who is a fugitive from justice, charged on crimes of fraud and embezzlement and who in the middle of a pandemic is organising unauthorised demonstrations where he uses children as human shields, as terrorists do. In his flee from justice, his convalescence in Berlin can’t be presented as an excuse, after having felt bad on a domestic flight in Russia due to a metabolic disorder, which Germany disguised as an alleged poisoning. This led to a series of Western sanctions for which they only presented a handful of words in the air, with no further evidence.

Disproof

Recurrent disinformation narrative about Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to discredit him and his opposition movement.

All the claims are false. Charges against Navalny are politically motivated and were presented while he was recovering in Berlin after the poisoning attempt on his life six months earlier, as a means of forcing him to stay in exile. The European Court of Human Rights has concluded that the original charges against Mr Navalny was politically motivated.

The EU has condemned the detention of Alexei Navalny and called for his immediate release.

The affirmation that he is using “children as human shields” was initially made by the Kremlin’s children ombudsman after 15 minors were arrested in the massive protests that emerged all over Russia after Navalny’s arrest on his arrival to the country. However, there is no evidence that Navalny’s organisation is sending underage demonstrators to the forefront of the protests, and the affirmation that this is “the same as terrorists do” is a smear attempt.

The last section of the article is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Navalny, aiming to deflect any responsibility of Russsian authority for the incident. Contrary to the claims about a “metabolic disorder disguised as a poisoning by Germany”, there is massive evidence proving that Navalny was targeted in a poisoning operation, as established by initial clinical findings at the Charité hospital which indicated that he had been intoxicated with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests established the presence of a Novichok-type chemical nerve agent in Navalny's blood. On 14 December 2020, a special investigation by Bellingcat, The Insider, CNN and Der Spiegel identified members of the Russian FSB unit involved in the attempt on Navalny’s life. According to The New York Times, the report was also consistent with the information on the case gathered by German intelligence services. Bellingcat also provided a detailed account of the methods used to identify the FSB operatives. A week later, on 21 December, Navalny disclosed a recorded conversation in which a member of the suspected FSB poisoning squad describes how his unit carried out, and attempted to clean up evidence of, the poisoning of Alexey Navalny.

See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on Alexei Navalny in our database, such as claims that his anti-corruption foundation has never done any investigation, that he is being helped by Western intelligence services, that the West sent him back to Russia to prevent him from becoming irrelevant, that only caffeine and alcohol were found in his blood during his alleged poisoning, that the US wanted to use his case to block Russia's vaccine against coronavirus, that the West hopes that he dies to have an excuse for new sanctions, or that Western accusations on Navalny’s case are as false as they were about Sergei Skripal and Alexander Litvinenko.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 229
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/01/2021
  • Outlet language(s) Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Europe, EU, US, Russia
  • Keywords: West, Alexei Navalny, Terrorism
see more

The West uses Navalny as a key factor in the political destabilisation of Russia

Today, we must admit that the most powerful special operation aimed at inspiring a prolonged political crisis in Russia has ended in a fiasco. The beginning of this “great campaign” was the loud “poisoning” of Alexei Navalny, after which this “fighter for truth” was openly put in the context of the geopolitical confrontation between the West and Russia. Then, Navalny was invited to Germany as a personal guest of Angela Merkel; “killing but not fully lethal” “Novichok” appeared; sanctions against Russia emerged; the American secret services published the tracking data of FSB officers. Everything points to the fact that the West perceives Navalny as a key factor for the destabilisation of its global enemy.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Alexey Navalny. The claim that Navalny is somehow used by the West and foreign special services for the political destabilisation of Russia is disinformation.

Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny has long been the most prominent face of Russian opposition to President Vladimir Putin. His candidacy in the 2018 presidential election was banned by authorities over his conviction by a Russian court for embezzlement, which bars him from running for office. He has been arrested and imprisoned several times during his political career.

US censor people on the internet while Russia doesn't

It is the United States that blocks social media, and prevent its politicians and citizens from accessing it, the same can be seen toward Russian politicians and citizens trying to access these social networks.

Meanwhile, the Russian authorities are quite the opposite. It adheres to democratic standards and no one is blocked. Neither on VKontakte nor on Odnoklassniki.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about censorship in the West, portraying Russia as protector of freedom of speech and the press.

According to the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, Russia is in 149th place out of 180 countries. And Reporters Without Borders noted pressure on the independent media, blocking websites, and draconian laws became even more severe in the last years.

Navalny is just a tool, not a real opposition leader

Alexei Navalny is not an opponent in the political sense, he does not want changes in the country, he is just a foreign tool to change power in Russia. And he is looking for a revolution like the one that took place in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Navalny is a western project. He has some connection with foreign intelligence and it is difficult to understand the role he plays. Do they use him according to some agreements? Yes. Navalny found his desire long ago when he studied abroad, and from that time has been an interest in Western society, which was pushing opposition forces in Russia. Therefore, there is talk about him and a call for his release from detention.

Navalny isn’t really an opposition leader but he just wants to have a sit and talk with [Russia President Vladimir] Putin, thus trying to raise himself to Putin’s level.

Disproof

Disinformation built around the concept of ubiquitous Russophobia and anti-Russian provocations by Western countries to encircle and destabilise Russia and Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

Alexei Navalny is a founder and leader of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), which has investigated embezzlement from the state budget, uncovered the lives of Russian politicians and businessmen close to the government and different corruption practices. FBK's goal is to eliminate corruption.