Disinfo: The Belarusian opposition plans to infect millions with coronavirus to disrupt presidential elections

Summary

The Belarusian opposition wishes to use the coronavirus epidemic to sow panic and destabilise Belarus. Coronavirus is the best tool for the opposition to weaken the state authorities, to prevent presidential elections, and to organise a coup. To provoke public discontent, opposition members need millions of infected people and they would not hesitate to do it. Together with the Belarusian [Orthodox] Autocephalous Church, they hold prayer services glorifying God for sending coronavirus to end the Belarusian dictatorship. Coronavirus also allows them to criticise Russians for closing the borders with China and checking Belarusian citizens upon arrival to Russia.

Disproof

This is coronavirus-related conspiracy theory aimed to discredit the Belarusian democratic opposition and the Belarusian Orthodox Autocephalous Church. See earlier conspiracy theories alleging that coronavirus will spread to Belarus when people in charge of the operation 'coronavirus' decide so and that the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is favoured by the West in order to organise a full-scale split from the Russian Orthodox Church and to disrupt Russian-Belarusian ties. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Western organisations and the Belarusian democratic opposition benefit from hoax terrorist threats, that Belarusian opposition leader Andrei Sannikau prepares a coup with US military assistance, and that pro-Western Belarusian opposition prepares ‘kill lists’ and a genocide.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 185
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/02/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Country: Belarus
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Conspiracy theory
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The MH17 trial will be a show process

The MH17 trial will be indeed a show process, where the accused are already proven guilty by the Western media and politicians.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory attempting to undermining the Joint International Investigation of the downing of the flight MH17.

A special team, known as the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), was established to conduct the criminal investigation of the downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. The JIT comprises officials from the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch police, along with police and criminal justice authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.

There is no evidence of Russian intelligence activity in Ireland

According to the Times, teams of Russian (GRU) agents have been dispatched to Ireland to map undersea fiber-optic cables, with a view to “cutting communications in time of conflict.” A damning indictment that sounds suspiciously like a spy flick.

From the 1980s Hollywood premise you would almost believe the Russian agents would hoist a red flag atop one of these cables and dance the Troika along the Irish shore, but apparently they didn’t, leaving the Times without evidence of this supposed Russian meddling.

Disproof

This case is an example of Hahaganda, a common tactic in pro-Kremlin disinformation aimed at discrediting an opponent's claims through sarcasm and ridicule.

The article in the Times is based on an assessment of the Irish security services of an operation that took place in 2019, in which Russia intended to use technology to monitor data exchanges on the underseas cables to give Moscow an insight into internet communications. The agents in question were also monitored mapping Dublin Port, resulting in security increases at a number of landing sites around the Irish coastline.

Ukraine violates the terms of the deal with Gazprom

The Ukrainian company Naftogaz is filing new lawsuits against the Russian (company) Gazprom. Ukraine was supposed to abandon all far-fetched claims against Gazprom. This is in accordance with the terms of the contract between the companies concluded in December 2019.

Disproof

An unfounded, recurrent, narrative that Naftogaz of Ukraine blackmails Russia. The claim of the Ukrainian company Naftogaz against Russia because of lost assets in the Crimea in mentioned, but nothing is against Gazprom. The trial has been going on for several years, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration is in charge of the case. Naftogaz demands compensation of $5 billion from Russia for the loss of assets as a result of the occupation of Crimea. Including interest, this amount has grown to $8 billion. In 2019, the Court found in favour of Naftogaz, concluding that Russia is liable for the unlawful seizure of Naftogaz assets in Crimea under the bilateral investment treaty between Ukraine and Russia. At the moment, the second stage of the arbitration proceedings has begun which will determine the amount of compensation for Naftogaz's losses. Naftogaz claims that the agreement reached in December 2019 with Gazprom deals exclusively with gas transit issues, while the lawsuit that the Arbitration Court in The Hague is considering involves a completely different area. The difference is that Ukraine already nullified its claims directly against Gazprom for disrupting contracts for gas supplies to the EU, but did not agree to terminate trials against Russia because of lost assets in occupied Crimea. “Why are we suing if, before the New Year, we entered into a settlement? We concluded an agreement with Gazprom, and the Russian Federation is the second side of this process” Naftogaz reported. Background: The agreement between Naftogaz and Gazprom was reached at the end of December 2019. Gazprom paid Naftogaz about $ 3 billion in compensation for neglecting the terms of the previous contract for gas transit through the Ukrainian gas transport system to the European Union. It is on this key issue that Naftogaz previously won a trial against Gazprom.