Disinfo: The “soft hand” of the West tries to influence the situation in Belarus

Summary

The “soft hand” of the West tries to influence the situation in Belarus.

The protests could have finished very quickly, if not for an attempt by third countries to shake the situation from the outside.

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 as a Western-led colour revolution.

The protests in Belarus were a reaction to the supposed results of the Presidential election in Belarus which took place on 9 August. The outcome is considered fraudulent by a large part of Belarusian society. The European Union has also stated that the elections were neither free nor fair. However, there is no evidence that the protests in Belarus are funded and organised externally.

Mass rallies, which are still continuing, broke out after Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has ruled for 26 years, declared that he had  “won a convincing victory” in the elections. The current protests in Belarus began on the evening of 9 August; security forces have used rubber bullets, flash grenades, tear gas, shockers and water cannons. On the day of voting, the centre of Minsk was blocked by security forces, whilst communications and the Internet in the capital city were jammed.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 211
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 31/08/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Belarus
  • Keywords: Union State of Belarus and Russia, West, Protest, Alexander Lukashenko, The West

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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Navalny was not poisoned by novichok; he would have died before going to Germany

If Alexei Navalny had really been poisoned, as German experts say, he would have died before being transported to Germany.

This was announced by the chief toxicologist of the Omsk region. “This is definitely not Novichok. Not an organophosphorous compound. No poisoning. This is a disease. Metabolic syndrome, metabolic coma, which occurs as a result of metabolic disorders. It has developed rapidly.”

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Navalny poisoning. The claims are also in stark contrast to the official statements of the German government, which clearly speak of Navalny's poisoning by the military-grade chemical nerve agent Novichok.

"The Berlin Charité Hospital has commissioned specialised toxicologists from the German Bundeswehr to examine various samples from Mr. Navalny. The special laboratory of the German Bundeswehr has delivered a clear result: Alexei Navalny was the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group. This poison can be detected without a doubt in the samples."

Toxicologists have concluded that Russian dissident and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a military-grade chemical nerve agentof the Novichok group. The tests performed by German experts have been corroborated independently by two other European laboratories. The German government condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms, as did EU officials and leaders of the EU member states: France, Italy, Estonia; all demanding that Russian authorities explain how an illegal weapon of mass destruction has been used against an opposition activist in Russia.

Earlier, Navalny was treated in a hospital in Omsk but was later transferred to the Berlin Charité hospital. Only after hours of back and forth did the physicians in Omsk drop their objections to transport to Germany. The Omsk health officials claimed Navalny had tested negative for cholinesterase inhibitors.

Navalny poisoning could be a strategy of the West to introduce anti-Russian sanctions

The poisoning of Navalny only benefits the enemies of Russia.

The current discussion about the poisoning of the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny could be a brilliant strategy of the West to introduce further sanctions against Russia.

This matter exclusively benefits the interests of the EU and the USA.

Disproof

An unsupported conspiracy theory claiming that the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny was a secret project to introduce sanctions on Russia and to prevent the construction of Nord Stream 2. There are no grounds for connecting the Navalny case with  sanctions on Russia or the construction of Nord Stream 2.

A prominent Russian opposition figure, Aleksey 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. Since then, he has been transferred to Berlin and is receiving treatment at Berlin's Charité 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 Aleksey Navalny.

Russian sanctions are a dead-end that EU has driven itself in

This step [is] another missed chance to get out of the dead-end in which the EU has driven itself in 2014 by linking the future of relations with our country with the situation in Ukraine.

EU should abandon the policy of unilateral restrictions that do not comply with the norms and spirit of international law.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about EU sanctions related to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the general situation in Ukraine.

Crimea is a part of Ukraine and was illegally annexed by Russia. In 2014, Russian troops obliged the parliament of Crimea to organise a referendum, which was illegitimate under international law, and then formally annexed the peninsula and brought it under Russian territorial control.