The investigation into the poisoning of Alexei Navalny does not go off the information “radars” of the media outlets, exacerbating the already difficult situation. The Kremlin is in a political knockdown after a terrible international scandal after new facts about Navalny’s poisoning arose. Hence the hysterical attempt by the Russian special services to hack YouTube, WhatsApp and Telegram. The day after the release of a video revealing the involvement of Russian special services in the poisoning, the Russian president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov abruptly canceled daily briefings even for “his” pool of journalists, reinforcing confidence in the Kremlin’s tactics. Due to the lack of real means of counteraction, it is based on ignoring and situational hysterical ridicule of the situation. Any step taken by the current Kremlin authorities will have a negative effect. And again the Kremlin got to the informational zugzwang!
What impact will the FSB’s actions have?
For 12 years, starting from 2008, Navalny published dozens of texts exposing individual top figures in Russian politics and business. For a wide range of readers in Russia and abroad, these investigations created a picture of corruption in Putin’s entourage.
And now a period was put to this story. All those involved in political and business communications around the Kremlin – both inside and outside the system – are now engaged in the investigation that revealed that a group of FSB officers had been experimenting with poison on Alexei Navalny’s family for three years. To do this, they used the entire infrastructure of the FSB, including fake passports, support of regional FSB offices, and special scientific centres.
The purpose of these three-year experiments was to establish the possibility of organising “murder without evidence.” The victim of this terrible experiment could be not only Navalny himself, but also his wife and children.
This investigation in terms of results is much weightier than, for example, sanctions to which Putin’s entourage has already adapted. The horror of this story will affect everything that is now on Russia’s political horizon, including the Kremlin’s participation in the Minsk agreements on Ukraine, Nord Stream, political communications in Eurasia, the position of Russian state-run corporations and their leadership, and all forms of promoting Russia in the world. This story leads to the final rethinking of Putinism for those people who were not going to do this before.
The situation of a three-year special operation, in the course of which the family of a Russian opposition activist has been methodically annihilated in order to test a warfare agent that could be used against anyone in the future, goes beyond any arguments in favour of the Kremlin, namely “geopolitical,” “policy of national interests.” “excessive act” and other reasons.
The isolation and removal of the Presidential Administration from real dialogue made it almost inevitable to raise the issue of Navalny’s case at the presidential press conference.
The only response to the investigation into Navalny’s poisoning was to initiate new actions on old cases instead of dealing with the current accusation. The latter indicates the failure of the Kremlin’s information policy which uses inappropriate counterarguments because it has no real counterargument at all.
The key points in the investigation into Navalny’s poisoning seem logical, despite the fact that the Presidential Administration spread information that it is part of an open information war against Russia and Putin. The supervisors believed that the information obtained by Navalny should raise doubts among “the thinking audience” about a purely “journalistic” type of investigation, without the intervention and work of special services and intelligence. But the attempts of the Presidential Administration to reduce tension around the situation are no longer leading to the desired result because Putin faces “yet another blow every day.”
If the past “attacks” on Putin and his entourage were somehow refuted, then Navalny’s investigation has not yet been commented on by the Kremlin, suggesting that the investigation has produced effect: the Presidential Administration is no longer trying to beat off attacks and has followed the president into the “bunker.”
Yuri Fedorenko, analyst, public relations expert
The author’s opinion does not always coincide with the opinion of the editorial staff