Disinfo: Latvia and Estonia backed an attempted putsch in Belarus

Summary

The ambassadors of Latvia and Estonia were recalled from Minsk after the Baltic countries had backed an attempted putsch in Belarus.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Western attempts to organise a coup or colour revolution in Belarus.

The protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential election on the 9th of August, which were not monitored by independent experts, and are largely considered fraudulent by both international observers and a big part of the Belarusian society. On 19 August 2020 the European Council called Belarusian elections neither free nor fair. Mobilisations were organised and carried out by local actorsopposition politicians and Belarusian citizens, without any foreign involvement.

In October 2020, the EU-Council imposed sanctions against 40 individuals identified as responsible for repression and intimidation against peaceful demonstrators, opposition members and journalists in the wake of the 2020 presidential election in Belarus, as well as for misconduct of the electoral process. See the full text and the Council conclusions (page 10).

Read earlier disinformation cases alleging that Poland is preparing Euromaidan scenario for Belarus, that Belarus will turn anti-Russian in case it does not deepen integration with Russia, that the West's only interest in Belarus is to make it anti-Russian, and that the US plans to turn Belarus into its colony, a coup and foreign military invasion may happen.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 215
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Latvia, Estonia, Belarus
  • Keywords: Coup

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

Novichok is a word coined by a British TV series in early 2000

The name Novichok isn’t a Russian name but was taken from a British series broadcast in early 2000, and it has since stuck in people’s heads.

Disproof

The story advances the recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.

“Novichok” - “Newcomer in English” is a name that was given to a group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s in a covert programme codenamed Foliant that was revealed by defectors.

No signs that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok

There are no signs or symptoms that show that Novichok was used against Alexei Navalny.

The symptoms of poisoning that appeared on Navalny are not a familiar result of Novichok characteristics. If Novichok was indeed used, he would not have been able to survive, especially since these chemicals shut down the body completely. If a person would survive, he would be living in a vegetative state, with no ability to move or speak, or even quickly return back to a normal life.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.

Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny fell ill during a flight and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors said he was in a coma and they were trying to save his life. He was transferred to Berlin and was treated at Berlin's Charite Hospital. The German federal government said that toxicological tests provided “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group” in the blood samples of Navalny.

A strong external player is trying to create an “arc of instability” around Russia

There are hotbeds of tension throughout the post-Soviet space. We are talking about states that are not just Russia’s neighbours. These are countries that have partner relations with Russia. Many are again discussing the arc of instability, the State Department’s naphthalene plan to increase tensions on the Russian borders. A strong external player is trying to create a kind of “arc of instability” next to Russia.

Disproof

The article appeared in the context of the recent escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh which is a continuation of the decades-old conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

This conspiracy theory is hinting that the escalation of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the result of deliberate Western actions aimed at harming Russia and its interests. It, therefore, corresponds to recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the belligerent and hostile US and West and fits well into the disinformation narrative that presents virtually all protests, civil uprisings, or local conflicts as a consequence of the West's intentional actions.