The Skripal incident triggered hundreds of narratives


The worldwide effect of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, on Sunday March 4. has since grown and expanded into various diverse directions. First, of all the incident, that directly effects Britain and Russia has become a major topic in a number of countries in the last few weeks. A week of postings has reached a larger type of diplomatic common ground where dozens of nations decided to expel a large number of Russian Diplomats from their countries.

The snowball effect of the event is the biggest Kremlin driven information attack in recent years, which is prominent in the number of various accusations made against Great Britain and other countries. For a single event, there has never been such a large number of accusations from Russia in the media in such a short period of time. In less than a month, the topic of poisoning has been featured in hundreds of television, radio and print media channels in Russia and dozens of speakers have presented the Kremlin’s various fantasies.

In monitoring the flow of information, we have noticed dozens of accusations made against Britain or Western nations. For example, the Russian Foreign Ministry has raised a doubt on the possibility that similar chemical weapons could also have been in the hands of England, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Slovakia; accusing them of the poisoning of active terrorists in England and accusing Western countries of trying to harm Russia’s reputation because of their peacekeeping in Syria. Several publications have argued that Ukrainians are behind the poisoning in a desire to discredit Russia or the USA with the aim of destabilizing the worldwide situation and forcing England to engage in activities against Russia.

Separately, we can point out a large number of accusations made directly against the United Kingdom. For example, allegations were made, that the poisoning was a means to divert attention away from the unsuccessful Brexit process; to give further impetus to Russophobic accusations; as well as expressing opinions that Theresa May wanted to help the CIA because the new director of the agency is a personal friend of the Prime Minister.

The vast majority of the accusations are in the conspiracy theories type category, as if the future mother in law of Skripal’s daughter was behind the poisoning or it was American-English businessman Bill Browder, who is blacklisted in Russia; or instead the poisoning was an attempt at suicide, accidental overdose or Skripal was attempting to smuggle in the poison into England.

The information attack and influence campaign launched by the Skripal incident is the subject of longer analyzes for the Atlantic Council DFRLab,, as well as EUvsDisinfo , and will definitely keep developing.

The information attack this time clearly shows Russia’s ability to manipulate with the use of very different and often contradictory narratives causing mass confusion. Different messages for the audience, all in one day, perfectly fulfills this goal.

Photo: Thomas Göthe / Flickr / CC