Comment by the Russian MFA Information and Press Department on discrepancies and inconsistencies in the situation around Alexey Navalny
The Russian Federation has been acting in the most transparent manner in the situation around Mr. Alexey Navalny from the very beginning. At the request of relatives, he was promptly granted permission to travel to Germany for medical treatment, which he did without hindrance, once the doctors at the Omsk hospital managed to stabilize his condition. Moreover, Russian doctors passed on to their German colleagues the data they had collected on the patient's health condition and were ready to continue to work together for the sake of his speedy recovery.
Unfortunately, in response we received a categorical refusal from the German government to cooperate in establishing the truth about the situation with Mr. Alexey Navalny. In fact, from day one Berlin switched to “megaphone diplomacy”, launched a broad smear campaign baselessly accusing Russian authorities of allegedly poisoning the Russian citizen. The Euro-Atlantic allies, as well as NATO and the European Union headquarters became actively involved in the situation, demanding an “independent international investigation” under the auspices of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Surprisingly, unlike the Russian toxicologists, the doctors of the «Charity» hospital immediately found the presence of cholinesterase inhibitors in the analysis of the Russian citizen, claiming that he was poisoned. After that, German military experts from the Military Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology in Munich promptly became involved and, in the atmosphere of ongoing anti-Russian hysteria in the West, came to a quite predictable conclusion that Mr. Alexey Navalny was «exposed» to a chemical agent from the «Novichok» group.
Germany's actions were so well-coordinated that a lot of questions started to surface about whether we are dealing with another staged mystical use of chemical weapons, though now not in Syria and the UK, but in Russia. A number of facts lead to such thoughts, namely: the immediate involvement at the highest level with requests to expeditiously take the blogger to Germany for treatment; the presence of Bundeswehr representatives and specialized vehicles of the German Ministry of Defense during his transportation; involvement in the situation of the top military and political leadership, declaring that the aforementioned «patient» was their «guest». All these organizational issues seem to have been part of a plan to politicize this incident with the clear aim of accusing Russia of violating the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
Contrary to its obligations under the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1959 and its two Additional Protocols, the German government is actively opposing the pre-investigation check of the Navalny incident in Russia, thus hindering the efforts to establish truth under Russian law. Evidence of this is the categorical refusal to cooperate with the Russian law enforcement agencies and medical institutions, ignoring legitimate requests of the General Prosecutor's Office and appealing to the «expert» potential of the OPCW. The latter is also understandable, since, ironically, once a quite successful and credible international structure, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for the chemical demilitarization of Syria, has essentially been turned by the Euro-Atlantic allies into a tool to promote their geopolitical agenda in the Middle East and beyond.
The fact that the German side concealed the information about a bottle with alleged traces of highly toxic chemicals, that had been taken by Mr. Navalny's entourage from the hotel room in Tomsk in violation of criminal investigation procedures, and the subsequent unauthorized transportation of this object to Germany, suggests the whole story is politically motivated. Obviously, such evidence is quite questionable from a legal point of view. In line with this goes an amateur, in terms of chemistry and toxicology, presentation of the evidence in the video footage – all associates of Mr. A.Navalny involved, Bundeswehr representatives and German doctors wear no protective suits, mandatory in such cases. There are also questions as to why people around the «poisoned» Mr. Alexey Navalny in the hotel, at the airport and on the aircraft felt perfectly normal. Logically, they should have been seriously affected, but apparently, in a happy coincidence, that was not the case. Summing up, everywhere on the verge of fantasy amazing things happened.
Berlin’s blatant disregard of the requests from the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation for legal assistance constitutes a direct violation of paragraph 2 of Article VII of the CWC, which obliges all States-Parties to provide such assistance. Furthermore, demands that the German government and NATO allies have been putting forward since early September, 2020 for Russia to «facilitate» an investigation under the auspices of the OPCW serve no other purpose than to undermine the basic principles of the CWC and constitute an attempt to use this international body to interfere in the internal affairs of a State-Party to the Convention, that has direct jurisdiction over all the events in Tomsk and Omsk.
The detection and identification by the laboratories of Germany, France and Sweden of highly toxic chemicals, called «Novichok» in the West, is the evidence in itself that they have long been well-known, studied and produced on high-end technological equipment in a number of NATO and EU countries. In some of them, for example the US, patents were issued for the military use of this group of chemicals, which is very telling by itself, as well as in the context of the situation around A.Navalny.
The close attention to this class of toxic chemicals is confirmed by a scientific article, published earlier this year, by experts from the US military chemical laboratory (Aberdeen, Maryland) on the research of the properties of «Novichoks». In particular the scientists indicated that they synthesized these types of chemicals (A230, A232 and A234). In any case, this fact refutes any possible arguments that such technologies should only be associated with the USSR or Russia.
The role of the OPCW Technical Secretariat in this situation is quite questionable. Of particular significance is the fact that since the OPCW Director-General Mr. Fernando Arias received information on the alleged "poisoning" of Mr. Alexey Navalny from the German side on September 3, 2020, the Technical Secretariat has taken some "preparatory measures" in anticipation of a request from Germany and has been maintaining permanent contact with Berlin. This circumstance clearly exposes the warped judgment and political bias of the Technical Secretariat that has never mentioned its active cooperation with Berlin when communicating with Russia's Permanent Mission to the OPCW.
It soon turned out that the OPCW experts «independently» took biosamples from Mr. Alexey Navalny on 5-6 September, while the official request for technical assistance under Article VIII, subparagraph 38(e) of the CWC was sent by Berlin only on September 12-13, 2020. Therefore, the Technical Secretariat began "assisting" in this politically biased matter without a proper mandate. Furthermore, the German government claimed having already sent the samples to the OPCW in its statement of September 14, 2020, while the Technical Secretariat itself confirmed to us its involvement in this process for the first time on September 17, 2020.
The media statement regarding Germany's request for technical assistance issued on the OPCW website on September 17, 2020, indicates that the Technical Secretariat has overstepped its mandate and violated the CWC. Article VII of the Convention provides for no role of the Technical Secretariat in pre-investigative and investigative proceedings carried out by the States-Parties within the framework of their legislation, in this case, for the alleged use of chemical weapons by individuals or legal persons. Therefore, the Technical Secretariat has gone beyond its mandate by providing technical assistance to the German side under subparagraph 38(e) of Article VIII of the CWC in relation to the "alleged poisoning of Mr. Alexey Navalny". Berlin needs no assistance from the OPCW to analyze samples in the OPCW-certified laboratories, which Berlin itself confirmed through its bilateral cooperation with France and Sweden without any "mediation" of the OPCW.
Furthermore, the OPCW Technical Secretariat was not authorized to disclose any information concerning technical assistance without the consent of the Russian Federation since, in accordance with the CWC Confidentiality Annex (subparagraph 2(c)(ii)), any information obtained by the OPCW in connection with the implementation of the Convention can be released only with the expressed consent of the State Party to which the information refers. The Technical Secretariat was well aware that the situation with Mr. Alexey Navalny directly involves Russia, however, its leadership that had long become embroiled in political intrigues opted once again to ignore its obligations and kept on with the travesty for a while by hiding its involvement in the situation with the Russian citizen at Berlin's behest.