In August 2020, Belarusians took to the streets to protest the results of a rigged presidential election. The protests soon became the largest in the country’s history and were eventually violently supressed, with tens of thousands arrested, beaten and prosecuted. Extensive disinformation campaigns continue to enable and accompany the brutality of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime against its own citizens, independent media and civil society.

The Belarusian state-controlled media have been complicit in the brutal crackdown on dissent in the country. Forced, televised “confessions” from political prisoners is just one of many examples, illustrating that state-controlled media have become an extension of a repressive state apparatus in Belarus. We also observed how the Belarusian state-controlled media aided Belarusian officials in weaponising migration into the EU.

Furthermore, the Lukashenka regime and its media apparatus have been instrumental in supporting Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The Belarusian authorities have repressed social media as well – for example by declaring many popular independent Telegram channels as “extremist material”.

At the same time, pro-Kremlin outlets continue to support and facilitate disinformation campaigns in and around Belarus, falsely accusing the West of engineering a “colour revolution”, claiming that the democratic Belarusian opposition is a “puppet of the West”, and labelling pro-democracy supporters as “zmagars”, extremists, terrorists and Nazi disciples.

The East Stratcom Task Force has been closely observing the media and disinformation landscape in Belarus. Below is our collection of articles on disinformation and information manipulation targeting democratic Belarus, exercised both by Lukashenka’s and Putin’s ecosystems of information manipulation.

54 articles
Lies, Damned Lies and Lukashenka’s Lies

Lies, Damned Lies and Lukashenka’s Lies

Over 400 people are detained as political prisoners in Belarus. The country’s illegitimate president uses violence and lies to prop up his regime. The interception of the Ryanair flight on its way to Vilnius, and arrest of Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega, illustrate the violence and the lies.
Figure of the Week: 30,000

Figure of the Week: 30,000

The word "Russophobia" has so far in 2020 appeared over 30,000 times in pro-Kremlin media, monitored by the EUvsDisinfo. The concept implies that any kind of criticism towards Russia is "irrational" and based in a deep inbred hostility to Russia.
Filmmaker Falsifies Fake Forgery

Filmmaker Falsifies Fake Forgery

"Trust me, I'm a professional!" Oscar-winning filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov demonstrates how pictures from Belarus are doctored to exaggerate the crowds protesting. But who did the doctoring?
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Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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