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: Issue185
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/02/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Belarus
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Conspiracy theory

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.

see more

The missile that hit MH17 belonged to the Ukrainian armed forces

The missile that hit MH17 belonged to the Ukrainian armed forces. The Boeing was shot down by a missile launched from a territory controlled by the Ukrainian army.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the flight MH17.

The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on the 17th of July 2014 by a missile of the 9M38 series, launched by a BUK-TELAR, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskiy. At that time, the area was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. The BUK-TELAR was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after having shot down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation. The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT)  has concluded that the BUK-TELAR, used to shoot down MH17, originates from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation.

Ukrainians’ hatred towards the Russians is now turned against their own citizens

Russophobia, which was cultivated in Ukraine for the past 6 years it lead to hatred that is now directed at Ukrainians themselves.

Maidan and policies of the recent years have left a trace on Ukrainians. People’s hatred toward Russians is now turned against their own.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Russophobia in Ukraine. See recent disinformation cases alleging that Ukraine is Russophobic Nazi state controlled by the US, and that Nazis took over Ukraine with a coup.

The disinformation message appeared after dozens of protesters in a Ukrainian town have attacked buses carrying evacuees from coronavirus-hit China. The protests were ignited after a mass email claiming to be from Ukraine’s health ministry spread false information that there were five cases of coronavirus in the country, on the same day a plane carrying evacuees from China arrived. According to the Security Service of Ukraine, the email has originated from outside of Ukraine.

The US and Russia had an agreement that NATO wouldn’t be enlarged

Since NATO started to widen its borders in 1999, 13 countries have joined it.  And all this takes place on Russia’s borders, it is a flagrant violation of the agreement concluded at the end of the Cold War. A gross violation. The United States is not worthy of any confidence.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO. 

NATO made no promises not to expand into eastern and central Europe back in 1990, which was confirmed by the former president of the Soviet Union Mihail Gorbachev. Back in 2014, Gorbachev said: "The topic of ‘NATO expansion’ was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility."