Disinfo: Schengen visa fees for Belarusians are high, because the number of homosexuals per capita in Belarus is very low

Summary

The problems with Schengen visas for nationals of Belarus stem from smear reports by the Belarusian opposition to the EU about banned gay prides in Minsk. EU politicians do not want to let Belarusians in, nor lower the visa fees, because the rights of sexual minorities are violated and because the number of gays per capita in Belarus is too low. The EU is also concerned with gender inequality in Belarus. A woman is not welcome in the EU if she has no balls. This is what the EU’s policy towards Belarus is based on. Since the Belarusian opposition does not mention a couple of thousand of Belarusians gays in its quarterly reports to the EU, no better EU’s attitude towards Belarus can be expected in the near future.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about EU's moral decay and aimed at discrediting the Belarusian democratic opposition. Similar Belarus-related cases with this narrative can be seen here and here. Belarus has not concluded a visa facilitation agreement (VFA) with the EU. For this reason Belarusians indeed have to pay a higher visa fee and to undergo more complicated application procedures for Schengen visas compared to the nationals of the countries with functioning VFAs. So far Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have been granted a visa-free regime with the EU, whereas Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia have functioning VFAs with the EU.At present a standard Schengen visa fee for the nationals of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia stand at EUR 35 while for Belarusians it is EUR 60. Minsk started the negotiations over visa facilitation and readmission agreements in 2014, later than other EaP countries. VFAs do not contain conditions about gender equality or the numbers of homesexuals in the country. Notwithstanding the absence of functioning visa facilitation agreement, Belarus is the world leader in the number of Schengen visas issued per capita among around 100 countries with a visa regime with the EU. Belarus is among the countries with the lowest Schengen visa refusal rates. In 2017 around 710,000 Schengen visas were issued in Belarus by EU countries' consulates and a refusal rate was as low as 0.3%, official EU statistics show.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 144
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/04/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Belarus
  • Keywords: Western values, European Union, Conspiracy theory
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Western project on Kurapaty memorial site plans to ruin Belarusian statehood

The Kurapaty memorial site on the outskirts of Minsk has become a Western project to ruin Belarusian statehood. Regular prayers by the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Kurapaty are a proof of this. The prayers are conducted for political reasons, to blame the Belarusian authorities for their incapacity, to provoke revolutionary moods among the population and to, eventually, destabilise the country.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory consistent with the pro-Kremlin narrative 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 Russia-Belarus ties. Kurapaty is an area on the outskirts of Minsk, where at least 30,000 people (according to some estimates, up to 250,000 people) were executed for political reasons by the Soviet secret police, the NKVD in the period between 1937 and 1941. In 1993 the site was included in the register of the Cultural Properties of Belarus as the first-category of cultural heritage. On 4 April 2019, the Belarusian authorities, without a prior notification of society began digging up wooden crosses at the Kurapaty memorial site. These actions provoked protests from the population in Kurapaty and disapproval from representatives of the Orthodox, Greek-Catholic and Catholic churches; not only the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Many other religious organisations are also speaking out against them (including the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church) because they consider Kurapaty an important memorial site.

Tear gas used by the police against Yellow Vests may now contain Cyanide

After demonstrations number 19 and 20 of the Yellow Vests, protesters claimed to have been hit more violently than with the tear gas usually used by the police. Its chemical compound has created controversy, some relaying on Twitter the results of medical tests that demonstrate cyanide poisoning.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the violent repression of the Yellow Vests protests. A Yellow Vest member posted a copy of her medical test and a comment "positive cyanide tests" suggesting she was poisoned after having inhaled tear gas at demonstrations. French TV LCI first spoke to the protester and author of the Tweet as well as a toxicologist, who explained that the concentrations of thiocyanates found in the blood of this patient are compatible with concentrations observed in smokers and would have to be at least 10 times higher to indicate poisoning. See further debunking by the LCI.

NATO has unleashed all wars on the planet in the last 25 years

NATO is the only organization that has unleashed all wars on the planet in the last 25 years. The organisation, which was intended to defend Europe, conducted its first military operation against Europe (in Bosnia, 1994). NATO is a cynical and aggressive organization, a tool of the United States to establish dictatorship on the planet.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO. The primary purpose of the NATO campaign in Yugoslavia was to end violence and repression and force Milosevic to withdraw his military, police and para-military forces from Kosovo (see NATO statement from 1999). Read more about disinformation about the war in former Yugoslavia.