Disinfo: Belarusians will become beggars if Lukashenko is overthrown

Summary

It is a bit incorrect to compare events in Belarus with the events in Ukraine in 2014, but it is worth noting that Western countries do not lose hope of turning Minsk into Kyiv six years ago.

For example, Lithuania and Poland (by the way, it is known that it is the Polish special services that oversee the Belarusian opposition) offered Belarus a visa-free regime. But the prospect of becoming another Slavic migrant workers does not tempt Belarusians at all.

The Ukrainian government, of course, supports the Belarusian opposition. And this is not surprising. The current government is taking its seats solely thanks to the overthrow of Yanukovych. But ordinary Ukrainians dissuade Belarusians from trying to overthrow the president and tell what will happen to their country if they make a fatal mistake: “Shove Lukashenko off, and that’s it, you will become beggars.”

Disproof

This is part of an ongoing Russian 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.

There is no evidence that European countries interfere in any way in the internal affairs of Belarus, or that without Alexander Lukashenko Belarus will become poor.

The protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential election in Belarus on the 9th of 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.

The reference to Ukraine is also manipulative. The onset of the Euromaidan protests was a spontaneous and endogenous reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden withdrawal from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here.

According to the World Bank, from 2014 until 2019, the Ukrainian government undertook key reforms, including carrying out significant fiscal consolidation, moving to a flexible exchange rate, reforming energy tariffs and social assistance, enhancing the transparency of public procurement, simplifying business regulations, stabilising and restructuring the banking sector, moving forward on health and pension reforms, and establishing anti-corruption agencies. The resulting Government, which took office in August 2019, and a succeeding government, appointed in March 2020, have both committed to an ambitious and wide-ranging reform agenda.

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. Several issues of the Disinformation Review has been devoted to the situation in Belarus: examples here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 213
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, Poland
  • Keywords: election meddling, Protest, Manipulated elections/referendum, Alexander Lukashenko, Coup, Euromaidan

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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Tsikhanouskaya’s participation in an EU Council meeting is interference in Belarus’s affairs

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Disproof

This is part of an ongoing Russian disinformation campaign about post-electoral protests in Belarus, portraying demonstrations against president Alexander Lukashenko as Western-led.

EU foreign ministers met Tikhanovskaya before a European Council meeting designed to discuss the situation in Belarus and the sanctioning of 40 Belarusian officials.

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine and NATO.

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EU sanctions are against the standards and spirit of international law

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Methods of imposing sanctions should be abandoned because they do not comply with the standards and spirit of international law.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about international sanctions against Russia. The claim was neither critically challenged nor counterbalanced in the article.

The economic sanctions imposed on Russian individuals and entities were fully in line with international law and were a reaction to Russia's illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Sanctions were imposed not only by the European Union, but also by the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and other European countries outside the EU.