Disinfo: Pratasevich participated in Euromaidan organised by US and the EU and fought alongside neo-Nazis


Pratasevich is not really an “altar boy.” In 2014, he participated in the violent Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine organised by Washington and Brussels. He then spent a year in the Donbas, battling alongside the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion among others.


This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming at discrediting Belarusian dissident journalist Raman Pratasevich.

There is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Pratasevich ever participated in the military activity of the Azov paramilitary battalion. Pratasevich himself said in an interview with a Russian journalist in 2020 that he had been in the war zone in Eastern Ukraine as a freelance journalist. He was also in Maidan. He said that he neither threw stones nor took part in clashes, but he was hit by the then riot police (the Berkut).

Various manipulated/photoshopped images are also being circulated by dubious sources suggesting Mr Pratasevich connection with this or that event.

Raman Pratasevich was detained in Minsk airport when flying from Athens to Vilnius. On Sunday, May 23, 2021, the Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania was forced to turn back before crossing the Lithuanian border and land in the Belarusian capital. The pretext for landing in Minsk was a false report about the bomb on board. At the moment when the plane changed course, it was closer to Vilnius airport than to Minsk. The plane was forced by a Belarusian military aircraft to land in Minsk. Raman Pratasevich was detained during a repeated security check of passengers.

The EU condemned Belarusian action against civil plane and the detention of Pratasevich. In a declaration on behalf of the EU on the forced diversion of Ryanair flight FR4978 to Minsk on 23 May 2021, the High Representative called for the immediate release of Mr Pratasevich. This was followed by a European Council statement, in which the EU leaders called for targeted individual and economic sanctions as well as to ban overflight of EU airspace by Belarusian airlines and prevent access to EU airports of flights operated by these. On 4 June 2021, the European Council introduced a ban on the overflight of EU airspace and on access to EU airports by Belarusian carriers of all kinds.

This disinformation claim is related to a broader disinformation narrative on Nazi's power in Ukraine. See related examples of disinformation claims here. For further reading, see here for an overview of the ongoing pro-Kremlin campaign to label Pratasevich as a neo-Nazi.

The claim that the Euromaidan protests were organised by Western capitals is another recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Euromaidan and the war in Ukraine.

Read similar disinformation cases claiming that Raman Pratasevich is a neo-Nazi; that Raman Pratasevich is suspected of genocide and terror; that Raman Pratasevich fought alongside neo-Nazis in the Donbas war.