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
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, US, Poland
  • Keywords: Alexander Lukashenko, Colour revolutions

Disclaimer

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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Events in Belarus are part of a hybrid war organised from abroad

We can be sure that the tense situation in Belarus is not a political internal conflict, but a hybrid war organised from abroad. This aggression from several western countries is a combination of conventional, irregular and asymmetric means, combined with a constant manipulation of the political and ideological spheres. Its main form in today’s Belarus is the informative impact in the country’s population through Polish and Baltic media. The economic component are sanctions imposed by western states. At the same time, there is also a military component: the growing saber-rattling of NATO troops near Belarusian borders fits this concept.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative framing popular protests as Western-backed colour revolutions, part of a campaign to portray massive mobilisations in Belarus as a destabilisation effort orchestrated from abroad. No evidence is provided to support the allegations.

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.

Biden refused to condemn street violence because he fears losing electoral weight

Some Democratic governors didn’t condemn the violence in the streets of their states, an issue about which Joe Biden refused to commit in any way because he may lose some electoral weight. When he was asked if the supported Black Lives Matter, he didn’t answer.

Disproof

The claims about Joe Biden are false. He has expressed support for protests for racial justice in the US but made a clear distinction between peaceful protests and riots, and explicitly condemned violence. In August 2020, the Democratic Convention in which Biden was confirmed as the party’s presidential candidate fully embraced the Black Lives Matter movement, with prominent Democrats such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama uttering those exact words. Biden has talked in several occasions about Black Lives Matter, both to back some of its demands and to reject others.

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation against US presidential candidate Joe Biden, part of what US authorities, including FBI director Christopher Wray and the Department of Homeland Security, consider a wider campaign of interference in the 2020 election. See other examples in our database, such as claims that Joe Biden is preparing a coup, and his militants are setting the US on fire; that he is the actual president of Ukraine, where he has been personally profiteering; that he was behind 2019 protests in Georgia; that he admitted his personal involvement in preventing Putin from participating in the presidential race; or that his son pushed for war in eastern Ukraine to clear the territory for fracking.

Trump faced several coup attempts, including the impeachment and the Russian collusion fraud

President Donald Trump faced political persecution, and had to defend himself even against the several coup attempts, such as the impeachment and the fraud of the Russian collusion.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory, with no evidence provided to support the claim. This is a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about an alleged plot against president Donald Trump by undemocratic powers, articulated through a “fake Russiagate” and an impeachment process. The 2019 impeachment was not a coup attempt but an entirely legal procedure contemplated by the US Senate legislation, whose aim was to determine whether President Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanours by 1) pressing a foreign government (Ukraine's) to harm a domestic political rival, former vice president and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and 2) trying to impede a Congressional investigation by blocking testimony and refusing to provide documents in response to House subpoenas.

Regarding to collusion with Russia, there were plenty of reasons for US authorities to open an investigation, as the Volume 5 of the Intelligence Committee of the US Senate on Russian Interference in the 2016 election (released in August 2020) shows, which highlights many elements that were not cleared by the previous Mueller Report. Though Mueller’s inquiry only had stated that the investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities”, it unequivocally established that Russia attempted to interfere in the election on Trump’s favour. Pro-Kremlin disinformation, however, has repeatedly portrayed Mueller’s work as proof that there was no such interference and that Russia is always falsely accused.