Disinfo: Belarus protests were prepared in advance by the US and other western countries

Summary

A western track is evident in the events in Belarus. Protests were well organised from the very beginning and are coordinated from abroad. According to information gathered by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the US plays a key role in these events. The West started preparing these anti-governmental protests in Belarus much before the presidential election. The SVR has data showing that in 2019 and early 2020, the US allocated 20 million dollars for these preparations, that were used to create a network of ‘independent bloggers’ and information accounts in social media, and also to prepare activists that would take place in street demonstrations. The most promising activists travelled abroad, specifically to Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, where they were trained by US trainers experts in “non-violent protests”.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative framing popular protests as Western-backed colour revolutions. Contrary to the claim, protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential election in Belarus on the 9th of August, which were not monitored by independent experts, and are largely considered fraudulent by both international observers and a big part of the Belarusian society. On 19 August 2020 the European Council called Belarus's elections neither free nor fair. Mobilisations were organised and carried out by local actors, opposition politicians and Belarusian citizens, without any foreign involvement. See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives in Belarus, such as claims that the EU reaction to Lukashenko’s victory is an example of Western double standards; that the same lack of democracy and repression is present in EU countries that criticize them in Minsk; , and that the Ukrainian secret services may have planned terrorist attacks in Belarusian territory; that the West wants to prepare another Maidan in the country; or that Belarusians, Ukrainians and Russians are one single nation.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 214
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Spanish, Castilian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Poland, US, Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Alexander Lukashenko, Colour revolutions
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The West carries out a colour revolution in Belarus and tears away Minsk from Moscow

The West is trying to arrange a new “adventure” in Belarus. The US and the EU want to “tear away” Minsk from Moscow, using the so-called “Ukrainian strategy”, as well as the instruments used during “colour revolutions”.

Disproof

This is part of an ongoing pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on Belarus based on recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives, such as accusing other countries of interference and portraying popular protests against electoral fraud in the country as a Western-led colour revolution. The protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential elections in Belarus that took place on the 9 August, which are considered fraudulent by a large part of Belarusian society. The European Union has also stated that the elections were neither free nor fair. There is no evidence that the protests in Belarus are funded and organised externally. Pro-Kremlin media frequently use disinformation narratives about popular protests around the world allegedly incited and funded by the US and other Western states. It has been applied, among others, to protests in Ukraine, Venezuela, Georgia, and Belarus, as well as to present a deceiving narrative on the aggressive West constantly preparing new coups. See similar cases claiming that the protests in Belarus are a colour revolution conducted according to a Maidan scenario and that the West wants to prepare Maidan in Belarus.

Russia doesn't possess Novichok

All stockpiles of the toxic “Novichok” (in Russia) were destroyed and disposed.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group was established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory. In September 2017, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the full destruction of the 39,967 metric tons of chemical weapons possessed by Russia, but Novichoks were never declared to the OPCW and weren’t included in the Chemical Weapons Convention until 2019. The use of multiple and simultaneous versions about an event involving questionable actions by the Russian government or its allies, in order to confound citizens about the actual truth, is a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation strategy, already seen in the cases of the MH17 downing, the illegal annexation of Crimea, the murder attempt against Sergei and Yulia Skripal or chemical attacks in Syria. See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on Alexei Navalny’s poisoning in our database, such as claims that only caffeine and alcohol were found in his blood, that the US wanted to use it to block Nord Stream 2 and Russia’s vaccine against coronavirus, that the West hopes that he dies to have an excuse for new sanctions, or that Western accusations about Navalny’s case are as false as they were about Sergei Skripal and Alexander Litvinenko.

Another reason would be found for sanctions, if there had been no Navalany

If there was no Navalny, they would have come up with another reason to introduce additional sanctions. We are now being asked to confess, we are told: “Don’t you believe the Bundeswehr specialists? How can this be? These conclusions have been confirmed by the French and Swedes. Don’t you believe us?” In Russia one cannot open a criminal case based on hearsay.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, portraying Western governments and institutions as inherently Russophobic and always trying to harm Russia. An unsupported conspiracy claiming that the poisoning of Navalny is a secret project to introduce sanctions on Russia. Prominent Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny fell ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on the 20th of August. Initially hospitalised in Omsk, at the request of his family he was transferred to Charité hospital in Berlin. Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests provided unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny. France and Sweden confirmed that the cause of his illness was Novichok, a Russian nerve agent. Samples taken from Navalny had also been sent for testing to the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. Pro-Kremlin disinformation is trying to link the Navalny poisoning case with various factors - the US' fight against the Russian vaccine, the fight against Nord Stream 2, the fight against Putin to curb his desire to interfere in Belarus’ affairs. See related disinformation cases alleging that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny as with Skripal and Litvinenko; the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia, that the West needed the pretext to open sanctions against Russia, and that there is no evidence Navalny was poisoned, and many questions to be answered on Navalny blood tests in Berlin, and that the Navalny poisoning could be a strategy of the West to introduce anti-Russian sanctions.