Disinfo: Who benefits from poisoning Navalny?

Summary

The simplest and most immediate question one ought to ask in such circumstances is “cui bono” – who benefits? The answer to this question would clearly show that President Putin and Russia do not benefit from this alleged poisoning. So, who does? /—/ Is it possible that this was another one of these brilliant acts of the CIA or another US intelligence (sic) agency? – Or a combination of the German Bundesnachrichtendienst (German Federal Intelligence Service) – or an EU-NATO trick? By now it’s no longer a secret that NATO runs Brussels, or at least calls the shot on issues of US interests concerning the European Union or its member states. Think about it. Killing (or – so far – poisoning) a Russian opposition leader to kill the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 project? – This is certainly a crime within the realm and “competence” of the US Government in general and its western allies.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Navalny poisoning. It is also similar to these used in the case of Skripal: based on conspiracies, denials and fabrication in order to cover up Russia's responsibility. It should be noted that Russian propaganda has long been pursuing the claims that the Skripal case was made up to justify sanctions against Russia and was an example of Russophobia. Alexei Navalny is a key Russian opposition politician and an anti-corruption activist. He is a founder and a leader of the "Anti-Corruption Foundation" ("Fond Boriby s Korrypciey"), which extensively reported about political corruption and abuse of power in Russia. He ran in in the Moscow mayoral elections in 2013 and came second. He claimed election fraud but still lost the elections. In 2018, he was campaigning for the Presidency of Russia but the Central Electoral Commission barred him from participation. The Russian government detained him multiple times and prosecuted for different criminal and administrative offences. Background On August 20 the prominent Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny fell ill(opens in a new tab) during a flight and the plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors said that he was in a coma and that they were trying to save his life. Since then he has been transferred to Berlin and is receiving treatment at Berlin's Charite Hospital. On September 3, 2020, the German government published a statement(opens in a new tab) that described how a military laboratory, certified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), had found traces of the Novichok nerve agent in samples taken from Navalny. Later, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a special briefing. She told(opens in a new tab) reporters that “There is unequivocal proof of the presence of this agent in the samples. It is therefore clear that Alexei Navalny is the victim of a crime.” The German government has briefed(opens in a new tab) its allies in the European Union and NATO and plans to provide information about its findings to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The European Union condemned(opens in a new tab) the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in the strongest possible terms. Read similar cases claiming that the US hopes that the Navalny case will lead to the cancellation of Nord Stream 2, that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko and that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 211
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, Alexei Navalny, Conspiracy theory
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Navalny was not poisoned with Novichok

If Alexei Navalny’s condition was caused by poisoning from Novichok, the people accompanying him would have to suffer the same symptoms. According to the chief toxicologist who first treated Navalny in Omsk hospital in Siberia, his situation was triggered by an “internal activation mechanism”. Novichok is an organophosphate compound and because of its high toxicity, it is not possible to poison just one person.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Navalny poisoning. Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests provided unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny. The use of multiple and simultaneous versions about 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 Sergei and Yulia Skripal or chemical attacks in Syria.

Alexei Navalny was not poisoned, he suffered from a metabolic disorder

A Russian opposition politician, blogger and critic of the current regime Alexei Navalny suffered a metabolic disorder that made him feel bad on the plane, and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where he was given all the care. All necessary tests have been performed in Omsk to show that this is not poisoning but a metabolic disorder.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Navalny poisoning. Alexei Navalny was under the pressure of his family transferred from hospital in Omsk to Charité hospital in Berlin. The preliminary test results from the Charité – Universitätsmedizin hospital in Berlin indicated that the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned during his stay in Siberia. Clinical findings indicate poisoning with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. German government later confirmed that Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok. See related disinformation message claiming that only traces of alcohol and caffeine were found in Navalny´s blood.

Peace in Ukraine is not in the interests of Western governments

The Ukrainian government does nothing to end the war in Donbas. […] the Western governments could have an impact on Kyiv, so the latter starts to implement the Minsk agreements. However, the preservation of tension near the borders of Russia is beneficial to the players of this geopolitical game. Thus, the West does not need peace in Ukraine.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory and a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, claiming that Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements. Also consistent with a narrative that the war in Ukraine is a civil war waged by Ukraine and its Western partners against the "Republics of Donbas". Contrary to the disinformation claim, the European governments and the US have been insisting many times that the full implementation of the Minsk agreements is the only way to end the war in Donbas. In July 2020, the European Council stated the following:

"It [the EU] has repeatedly made clear that the full implementation of the Minsk agreements is the only way to find a lasting and peaceful solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine."

The French Ambassador to Ukraine Etienne de Poncins also said that France considers the Minsk agreements the only instrument to bring peace to Eastern Ukraine:

“The Minsk agreements are criticised, but they are the only available roadmap to peace. Apart from their implementation, there is no other way. I do not see another possibility at the moment, except the Minsk and Normandy formats.”

The German Ambassador to Ukraine Anka Feldhusen stated in a recent interview that "the Minsk deal still provides a structure that could help find a solution to the conflict." France and Germany also supported the decisions taken on the Normandy Format meeting in December 2019, including further steps in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Read previous disinformation cases: that the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada admitted that Kyiv will not implement the Minsk agreements; that Ukrainian ex-President Leonid Kravchuk is looking for new ways to deceive Donbas; that the US wants to discredit Belarus and the Minsk agreements; that Normandy format will cease to exist because Ukraine is unwilling to implement Minsk agreements; and that Ukraine is trying to compromise and undermine the Minsk agreements.