Disinfo: EU is creating a poverty belt in the East of the EU, to secure access to cheap labour

Summary

The EU is creating a poverty belt in its east, consisting of Ukraine, the Baltic States and now Belarus, in order to secure access to cheap labour and sales markets. It has been the economic survival model of the Baltic States for years to export low-wage labour to other EU countries, it has become the business model of Ukraine and it will also become the model of Belarus.

When Belarus turns to the EU and the West, that is what will follow – the complete exploitation of the country, a wave of industrial bankruptcies, the decay of the infrastructure, in short: the complete economic decline in Belarus. This is what Belarus, unlike Russia, was largely spared of in the nineties of the last century.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Belarus, the West and the EU

The Protests in Belarus erupted after thousands of people took to the streets to contest the results of the Presidential elections in Belarus, which are considered fraudulent by a large part of society.

This claim about the EU exploiting countries to its east is consistent with the recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about a disastrous horror scenario for the economy in Belarus, in case Belarus should reorientate itself geo-politically towards the West. The EU is not interested in creating a poverty belt in its East, nor in securing access to cheap labour in the Baltics, Ukraine or Belarus.

It is a recycled recurrent narrative for EaP-states, that the West or the IMF wants to destroy the Ukrainian economy and to turn Ukrainians into the cheap labour force. The narrative portrays the economic situation of Ukraine as disastrous and alleging that Belarus' future is only possible in union with Russia.

Read earlier disinformation cases alleging that Poland is preparing Euromaidan scenario for Belarus, that the West's only interest in Belarus is to make it anti-Russian, that Belarus moves towards complete colonisation by the West, and that Germany created the euro to colonise countries that couldn’t be conquered militarily.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 209
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/08/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: EU, Latvia, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus
  • Keywords: The West, Baltic states

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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Netherlands to build special houses for 5G opponents

The Netherlands will build special houses which block electromagnetic radiation. These houses are meant for people who experience headaches and insomnia as a result of 5G.

Disproof

Recurring conspiracy theory on 5G.

According to World Architecture, the aim of building 100 new homes is to establish the smartest neighbourhood in the world. The settlement will be self-sufficient in terms of energy and food production, as well as "smart homes" which will use technology according to the needs and consumer habits of the residents. Smart homes have nothing to do with the 5G conspiracies around accompanying illnesses. On the contrary, the project relies on the advancement of technology, including 5G to expand and integrate technology into homes, cars, daily activities, etc.

The Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine makes Putin the protector of the people, says Bloomberg

The emergence of a Russian coronavirus vaccine, able to put an end to the epidemic, was received with scepticism. They tried to discredit the medicine developed by Russian scientists, pointing to the rush to create a vaccine. However, Bloomberg says that not everything is that bad because “secondary effects in vaccines are rare”. The Russian vaccine causes a sensation, the article says. Though this development was severely criticised in the United States, US authorities felt the need to reassure its citizens by claiming that their own vaccine was already in full development. But for the Kremlin, this global race is not a priority. The coronavirus seriously ruined 2020 for Vladimir Putin, forcing him to eradicate the virus as fast as possible. “By promising a vaccine, he became again the people’s defender,” Bloomberg says.

Disproof

This is a deliberate distortion of the original Bloomberg article, titled “Russia’s Sputnik Vaccine Gamble Is All About Vladimir Putin”. The article doesn’t praise Vladimir Putin as the protector of the people but rather states that the Russian president is trying to present himself as such by making this announcement. Bloomberg explicitly says:

“The rushed endorsement (…) is less an affirmation of Russian scientific prowess than it is an expression of Putin’s hankering for Soviet-era international clout. It’s a premature victory lap that suggests a worrying need for affirmation at home too”.

Another distortion is the claim on secondary effects. The Bloomberg article says: “While adverse effects from vaccines are rare, they are not unheard of,” meaning the opposite from what the disinformation message presents.

The disinformation message also introduces several pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives not mentioned in the original Bloomberg article, such as claims about “an attempt to discredit the Russian coronavirus vaccine” or the assertion that the global vaccine race is not a priority for the Kremlin. The opposite is true: there is credible evidence that the Russian government pressed Russian scientists and researchers to be the first to find a vaccine against Covid-19, and did everything at hand to shorten the process, raising concerns about the safety and efficiency of the Sputnik V vaccine. Reservations and criticism are caused by the fact that Russia hasn’t completed large trials to test the drug, and rolling out an inadequately vetted vaccine could endanger people who receive it.

Interference in Belarus follows a similar model to the one used in Venezuela

It is no coincidence that the political crisis in Belarus is happening against the background of the reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank. Foreign interference is obvious in Belarus and follows a very similar formula to the one applied in Venezuela.

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, in this case promoted by NATO. No evidence is provided to support any of the claims.

Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have been protesting against a massive vote-rigging and police violence since 9 August 2020. On 16 August 2020 Belarus witnessed the largest rallies in the city of Minsk and dozens smaller towns and localities in its history.