Disinfo: Belarus plans to develop an artificial Belarusian identity

Summary

One of the infamous legal documents approved in Belarus this year was the Information security concept. The concept defines the information sovereignty, which is, in reality, an imposition of artificial Belarusian identity, opposing the Russian. It also brings up Belarusization. This all means that in the information sphere Belarus is not Russia’s ally anymore and not a part of the Union State, but a sovereign country which distances itself from Russia. Hence the concept can become the Information alienation concept.

Disproof

This is an illustrative example of a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the all-Russian nation and Russian world/civilization, which presents Belarusian and Ukrainian identities as artificial and unnatural in contrast to all-Russian identity. The "all-Russian nation" is an imperial Russian and Russian irredentist ideology that is a favoured pro-Kremlin narrative aimed at weakening the national identity of Belarusians and Ukrainians, as well as their sovereignty. Belarus is a well-defined nation-state with a long history; it preserved language, literature and identity, despite foreign rule for long periods. Belarus' Information security concept, adopted in March 2019, stipulates, among other things, that "The Belarusian language along with a constitutionally upheld bilingualism, contributes to the development of the national identity of the Belarusian society and its spirituality." See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the Eastern Partnership aims to erode Belarusian identity and promote the views of Polish gentry and that Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine are three Russian political nations.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 171
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/10/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Country: Belarus, Russia
  • Keywords: Union State of Belarus and Russia, Anti-Russian, Russian world, Conspiracy theory
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Civilians in the Finnish concentration camps in Carelia are victims of genocide

Civilians in the Finnish concentration camps in Russia’s Carelia during WWII are victims of genocide and should ask for a compensation from Finnish authorities.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation message focusing on Finland and Russia's Karelia during the WWII. This time the topic peaked on pro-Kremlin media's agenda in October 2019 after Russia's Security Service FSB released "secret documents" about the conditions in the Finnish camps. The researchers have studied the treatment of civilians detained in the Finnish camps established in the Finnish-occupied Soviet Karelia in WWII, and nothing suggests Finns aimed at a genocide of Russians or Slavic nations. The word genocide is frequently used in pro-Kremlin disinformation, but it seldom corresponds to the actual definition of a genocide. Recently, the emphasis of the disinformation campaign has been on Sandarmokh, where 7000-9000 victims of Stalin's terror were executed in the Republic of Karelia, Russia, 1937-1938. Hundreds of monuments have been erected in Sandarmokh to commemorate the victims. To distract audiences from discussing Stalin's era repressions, beginning 2016, a disinformation message started being spread that among the dead were Soviet prisoners of war shot by invading Finns during 1941-44. There is no evidence to support the claim. Read the full debunk for Sandarmokh here.

Ukraine was created by Joseph Stalin

Do you know who created your country? It [Ukraine] was created by Stalin, whom you hate.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the history of Ukraine and Ukrainian statehood. The history of Ukraine dates back to the times of the Kyivan Rus’ in the IX-XIII centuries. As a nation-state, Ukraine was formed during the XVI-XIX centuries when it was divided by major European states: the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita) and the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires. However, in the middle of the XVII century, parts of Ukraine's territories received independence from Poland and created an independent Cossacks Hetmanate. Later, it signed a military and political cooperation deal with Moscow, which was then used by Russian rulers to deprive Hetmanate of its sovereign rights. In the early XX century, after the collapse of the Russian empire, the Ukrainian People’s Republic was proclaimed. In Western Ukraine, which at the time was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Western Ukrainian National Republic was created. On 22 January 1919, the two states signed a Unification Act creating a unified state. Other territories wanted to join the new Ukrainian state, such as Northern Bukovyna and Crimea, and adopted appeals to the government of a unified Ukrainian People’s Republic. For a historical perspective see here [in Ukrainian].