The caution and cold-bloodedness with which Alexei Navalny’s friends acted in a life-threatening situation is admirable. When they learned of the alleged attack on him, they gathered possible evidence in his hotel room in Tomsk and filmed a video of it.
They did not hand over the water bottles with the banned war agent Novitschok to the Russian authorities, but brought them to Germany. You can call it a conspiracy. Or necessary self-defense.
Is that the last link in the chain of evidence that Vladimir Putin ordered the attack? No. If you really want to believe the CIA administered the poison, you can keep doing that. With questions about how the water bottle got to Germany by bypassing official administrative help, Putin’s apologists will also raise further doubts.
But the Kremlin’s claim that Navalny was not poisoned in Russia can now be considered disproved. How credible is it that the doctors at Omsk Hospital, despite all their efforts, could not find any signs of poisoning? Now it seems all the more that they were not allowed to find any evidence. The Navalny team has provided another link in the chain of circumstantial evidence that the Kremlin is covering the killers.
The federal government is also cautious. She had the samples of Nawalny’s body and probably the water bottle examined by other services. This increases the credibility of the diagnoses. That’s necessary. Western Europe and Russia are engaged in a new propaganda war. It will take place under different circumstances than in the Cold War, both political and technical.
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Western societies no longer feel existentially threatened by Moscow as they once did by the Soviet Union. The new freedom means that governments can no longer rely on loyalty in the camp. Some citizens distrust their own secret services as well as the Russians or Chinese. There are numerous opportunities for this, from Wikileaks and Edward Snowden to the connections of members of the security forces in anti-state networks.
Read here “From deadly umbrellas to cartridges of hydrocyanic acid: the poisonous murders of the KGB” (T +).
This makes transparency and compelling evidence all the more important. The new times offer new methods not only for powerful state apparatus, but also for civil society and free media.
After a Malaysian airliner was shot down over Ukraine, appropriate investigation revealed that it had been shot down with a Russian Buk missile and that it had been transferred to the insurgents loyal to Moscow in a covert operation from Russia. Messages from Russian soldiers on social networks helped the scouts.
Russia had long denied its involvement with Ukraine but was condemned. Likewise after the poison attack on ex-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England. The perpetrators were identified, as well as their connections to the Russian secret service. For the Berlin researchers, the Russian state is also on the quay for the zoo murder of a Georgian.
Today, dictatorships find it easier to self-doubt in open societies. But they are not defenseless. They just need to make better use of their antidotes. This is annoying and takes time. But in the end it is more convincing.