The line from the Western media at the moment seems to be that Putin ordered the poisoning of Navalny with Novichok. For example, this piece in The Guardian.
Luke Harding is not credible. However this story is widespread; here is the Independent’s version. The sub-heading of the story makes it clear that Putin was responsible: “The poisoning of the Russian opposition leader with Novichok shows just how much he is feared by the Kremlin”.
The piece in the Independent is an extraordinary exercises in delusion. It assumes that Putin ordered the “assassination”. (Though it qualifies this by the suggestion that maybe someone did it to please Putin). No evidence at all is supplied for this. (It is worth pointing out at this point that the recipe for Novichok is well-known around the world) . It characterises Navalny as Putin’s “rival” – which is absurd. Navalny doesn’t even have a coherent political programme; he is an “anti-corruption” blogger. It is also an exercise in circular logic. That Putin poisoned Navalny is proof that Navalny is a big threat. That Navalny is a big threat means it must be Putin who poisoned him.* Continue reading “Unlikely tales about Novichok”