The Guardian continues to promote the unlikely story that the Kremlin poisoned Navalny with Novichok. This is Shaun Walker’s latest creation.
Shaun Walker may well be a nice guy. But he is in the wrong profession. His ‘journalism’ always reads like an exercise for an MA in Creative Writing. (His recent piece on Belarus being another example).
In the present story Shaun Walker promotes once again the story being told by Navalny’s supporters and associates that Putin personally ordered Navalny to be poisoned with ‘Novichok’.
We have already discussed how fundamentally unlikely this is. If the FSB or an other intelligence organisation had really wanted to kill Navalny are we really supposed to believe that they bungled it and then allowed him to leave for Germany (from a Russian state hospital) with evidence of their crime still in his system? The way round this unlikely scenario is to suggest that the whole operation was a carefully calibrated semi-poisoning designed to send a message to other dissidents; Navalny was supposed to live and to make it to Germany for the Novichok to be discovered. This presupposes a good control of the poison and a well-managed piece of fake drama as they dragged their heels (so we are told) about letting Navalny fly to Germany when, in reality, this is just what they wanted. This theory also supposes that the Kremlin is so terrified of Navalny that they risked Nord Stream 2 and further sanctions for the sole purpose of giving Navanly and other ‘dissidents’ who might be watching (whoever they are) a bit of a scare. Fundamentally unlikely. The Kremlin has successfully contained the publicity-seeking Navalany for many years and, as the Western press never cease from telling us, have in fact a powerful legislative system for controlling ‘dissidents’ (usually in the form of foreign-backed NGOs).
It is noteworthy that Shaun Walker’s present story is simply a rehash of material put out by Navalny’s supporters. There is no attempt at all at objective journalism. We are told that there has been a new “development” and that a “sweep” of Navalny’s hotel room shows that he was poisoned in the room. The words are the same words used by the police; but, it turns out, that the “search” and the “sweep” was carried out by Navalny’s supporters. The supporters claim that a plastic bottle was taken from the hotel room (of course while Navalny was lying at death’s door in hospital his supporters had the presence of mind to go to his hotel room and “bag up” samples of the deadly Novichok) which was “later given to German authorities”. Recall at this point how much was made of how the poisoned Navalny had to be transported to Germany in a special bubble to prevent him contaminating anyone around him. Now we are told his supporters bagged up the source of the poison and took it to Germany in (perhaps) an overnight bag.
We can also note that Navalny’s supporters are allowed to chop and change the story but not the Kremlin. It was the cup of tea at the airport and now it is a bottle of water in Navalny’s hotel room. But in the same article Walker tries to undermine the position of the Russian government by saying that there have been alternative official statements giving different positions.
The story put out by the supporters is looking increasingly far-fetched.