Misinformation in the Guardian about Navalny

Typically the Western media does propaganda in a way that doesn’t involve outright untruths. (It is a key part of the Western self-narrative that they don’t tell lies – the government and intelligence service usually try to avoid telling straight lies). The usual modus operandi is to select a few facts and string them into the preferred narrative. Recently, however, I’ve noticed some straight untruths beginning to appear.

For example; in an article on the “poisoning” of Navalny we see:

Navalny’s team says doctors have intentionally avoided diagnosing him with poisoning

Meanwhile Russian media is reporting that the official diagnosis is poisoning with an unspecified hallucinogenic compound. [1] (This was being reported the day before the above Guardian article). So this is just not true. (From a journalistic point of view the problem is over-reliance on one unreliable and partisan source).

Or, in the same article:

Hospital officials in Omsk have given contradictory information about his condition and have not allowed his family or supporters in to see him.

Which, amusingly, is directly contracted by a Guardian article from the day before (19/8):

The authorities, however, refused to allow them into the room. They demanded proof in the form of a marriage certificate that Yulia was indeed his wife – a cruel and petty gesture. Eventually she was allowed in.

Incidentally – being asked to produce a document is absolutely standard in Russia. You can be asked to show a passport to buy a mobile phone or a bus ticket. Parents have to produce the birth certificate if they want to take their child out of the country. And so on. This is an example of how Western journalists deliberately misrepresent and mislead Western audiences. Presenting some fact totally out of context to create a dramatic, and false, picture of a situation. In same vein – cause célèbres for Western liberals in trouble in the Russian court system are usually described in horrified tones as being held in court in a “cage”. However; this is normal practice.

From the same article:

Navalny may be barred from state television but he is nonetheless a celebrity figure in Russia.

This one (an example of the phantasises of the Guardian’s Luke Harding) cannot be said to be misinformation. Whether or not someone is a “celebrity” is a matter of opinion. Nonetheless it is completely misleading. Harding is duping his readers (and probably himself as well). He isn’t informing them. Navalny has quite a high profile in Russia- through his YouTube channel – but he is only popular with a small section of the population – of whom a large amount are school students. He leaves many cold. Others detest what he stands for. “Celebrity” is therefore misleading. It seems to be true that there are not a lot of reports about him in State Media (based on a Yandex search) – but, then, how much coverage does UK dissident blogger Craig Murray get on the BBC?


  1. https://altapress.ru/proisshestvija/story/vrachi-rasskazali-o-sostoyanii-navalnogo-i-nazvali-predvaritelniy-diagnoz-272601?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer