Disinfo: Minsk will punish Lithuania economically for its support to the Belarusian opposition

Summary

Belarus will reroute cargo from Lithuanian ports to Russia. It needs to be done due to the behaviour of Lithuania in the context of the presidential elections in Belarus. Vilnius began to support ex-candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya when officially Alexander Lukashenko won the elections. The Belarusian authorities stated that Lithuania, Poland and other Western countries openly support the Belarusian opposition and want to provoke protests in Belarus. The European Union announced sanctions on Minsk too.

The EU should not use sanctions to scare Belarus because Minsk is ready to answer. I.e., cargo transportation from Belarus forming 30 per cent of the budget of Lithuania.

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The economy of Lithuania will be seriously damaged without Belarusian transit.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Lithuania and alleged Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus. This article also includes a fake statement about the dependence of the Lithuanian economy on Belarus.

According to the European Union, the 2020 Presidential elections in Belarus were neither free nor fair. The protests in Belarus started after the election day as the reaction of society to potential falsification of results. The European Union also does not recognise Aleksandr Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus. The EU sanctions were not just announced but already implemented.

The statement that “30 per cent of the budget of Lithuania” is formed by cargo transit from Belarus is false. Belarus was in 10th position of Lithuania's trade partners. In 2019, the trade with Belarus formed only 3.9 per cent of Lithuanian exports, imports from Belarus were 2.5 per cent.

The accusation that Western countries are interfering in Belarusian affairs is a prominent narrative of pro-Kremlin disinformation. See similar examples here, here and here. In addition, the message about the dependence of the Lithuanian economy on Belarus is also not a new one. See as example: Lukashenka was Lithuania's economic god and benefactor.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 225
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/01/2021
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia
  • Keywords: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, economy, Protest, Alexander Lukashenko, Sanctions
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Russia's foreign policy is based on respect of UN resolutions, territorial integrity and people's rights to self determination

We have always known Russia’s foreign policy to be principled, transparent and clear, and based on respecting the decisions of the United Nations and the Security Council on all regional and international crises.

If we follow [Russia’s foreign ministry] activities, we will clearly see how they were never biased towards one party at the expense of another, but rather put the national interest of the peoples of these countries at the top of their priorities; it is always based on respect for state sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right of peoples to self-determination.

Disproof

A pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russia being respectful of international law, and never interfering in other country's affairs. Russia has a long record of violating other states' sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Since 1991, Russia was involved in several international conflicts, including intervention in neighbouring states, such as Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. Many international organisations condemned Russian occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, see e.g. the CSCE statement here and the European Parliament's declaration.

Global elites want to increase control of the population after the pandemic

With the arrival of the vaccines, humankind seems ready to win the fight against coronavirus. But some elites that plan a Great Reset afterwards don’t want to return to normalcy. Along with the idea of “health passports”, one can easily imagine a world in which those not vaccinated could be easily excluded from vital services. Did you post too many anti-vaccine publications on Facebook? Sorry, my friend, your credit is denied.

With the members of the World Economic Forum literally funding their own activist movements, it will be hard to discern top-down from grassroots change. In promoting new environmentalism, Greta Thunberg and British Petroleum are in the same team. In reinventing capitalism, Pope Francis and Mastercard are working together to give corporations a stronger voice in cultural and political matters. Regarding health policies, the WEF and a big part of the world’s media seem to agree on leaving Bill Gates to decide the future of medicine and the prevention of diseases. However, if you discuss any of the contradictions and problems inherent to these post-Covid predictions, you will be labelled as a conspiracy theorist. Amidst the global commotion caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is easy to imagine the world’s leaders and corporations taking advantage of the chaos to impose more control over the population.

Disproof

This is a mix of several recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about global elites secretly ruling the world, in this case taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to impose their agenda, and merged with negative messages about Greta Thunberg, Bill Gates and Pope Francis, all of them frequent targets of pro-Kremlin disinformation.

Contrary to the claim, the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset is an initiative aiming to start a dialogue among global leaders on reverting the negative consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, reducing inequality and setting new societal priorities including climate and environment, not a plan for global control. The article is also part of a wider disinformation campaign on the coronavirus pandemic.

The EU will help Scotland to fight for its independence

One minute after the UK finally left the EU on the midnight of January 1, 2021, Scotland’s prime minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Scotland will be back soon, Europe don’t turn off the lights”. One hour later, an article she wrote was published in the European edition of Politico under the expressive headline: “Brexit changed the rules of the game for Scottish independence”. If her tweet can be considered a beautiful gesture of a politician, the publication of her article in Politico, whose headquarters are in Brussels, clearly insinuates that the European Union has the intention to provide support for Scotland’s separatism and take a section of the former Great Britain.

Disproof

The claim is false. Politico Europe is a private media company unrelated to the European Union, which has no say in the contents that this outlet decides to publish. Therefore, the claim that the publication of Nicola Sturgeon’s article “insinuates that the EU has the intention to provide support for Scotland’s separatism” is baseless.

Besides, the European Union has no intention to help Scotland fight for its independence. Some European leaders and former EU officials made it clear that, while an independent Scotland may be welcome back in the block if it applied to rejoin, this would only happen if it achieved its independence in a way consistent with British and international legislation, which would include the permission of the UK’s Parliament to launch a new referendum.