Disinfo: NEXTA is the Polish provocative Telegram channel

Summary

NEXTA is the Polish provocative Telegram channel.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the protests in Belarus after the presidential elections in 2020.

NEXTA is not Polish, but the Telegram channel from the Belarusian opposition, created by Stepan Putilo - a Belarusian journalist, blogger and TV presenter. Putilo is from Belarus and studied in Poland. Several years before the presidential elections this channel was "about Belarusian realities, information about the life of officials and what they are trying to hide."

Since the Belarusian presidential elections in August 2020, the NEXTA Telegram channel increased its audience from 427,000 to its current 1,880,000 people, and became one of the main sources of information about protests in Belarus. The NEXTA Live channel is the eighth most popular Telegram channel in the world in all languages, and also the most popular Russian-language channel.

The channel mainly uses user-generated content; material that users from all over Belarus send anonymously.

On the 20th of October, a court in Minsk ruled that the NEXTA Telegram channel and its logo were extremist materials and restricted access to them. Stepan Putilo was prosecuted in Belarus for mass disorder (Article 293 of the Criminal Code). After the court decision, the NEXTA Telegram channel changed its name and logo to "HЕХТА Live".

Read similar disinfo cases alleging that NEXTA covering the Belarus protests is a project of the Polish special services and that what is happening in Minsk is primarily a Polish project.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 218
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 26/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Belarus, Poland
  • Keywords: fake news, Protest, Provocation, Puppets, 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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West-supported protests and coups in Ukraine causes economic recession in a cyclical fashion

Before the 2014 coup, in which the nationalists seized power in the country, division had always been a chronic feature of all Ukrainian elections, as the pro-Western and pro-Russian parts were roughly equal, which led to a political path that always revolved in a vicious circle. Usually, after the nationalists come to power, the new government tries to cut economic ties with Russia, leading to an economic recession and a deterioration in living standards in the country.

In the following elections, the disaffected population would vote out the nationalists in favour of the pro-Russian party, and then economic recovery takes place, which is in turn followed by protests and coups backed by the West, and the pro-Western nationalists return to power, cutting ties with Russia again, the standard of living decreases, and so forth.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign against Ukraine, containing multiple disinformation narratives regarding the Ukrainian economy and Ukrainian statehood. It promotes a narrative about the belligerent West and its interference in the politics of Ukraine, stating that the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests resulted in an illegal coup; painting Ukraine as a failing state incapable of making its own foreign policy choices; and painting the West as the puppet-master of Ukrainian politics.

The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous parts of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here.

Ankara to declare territorial claims on Crimea

Ankara decided to join the so-called “Crimean platform” and conclude an alliance with Kyiv. (…) Turkey now intends to take Crimea under its sovereignty.

Disproof

This is a pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the occupation of Crimea.

During the official visit of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Turkey on October 16, the joint statement of the leaders of Ukraine and Turkey was issued. The statement, signed by the two leaders, declares that “the Republic of Turkey reaffirms its unconditional support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognised borders and welcomes the cooperation within the Crimean Platform initiated by Ukraine.”

The US and UK came up with a new Russophobic story to sideline Germany’s invented story about Navalny poisoning

The US and UK put forward empty speculations about Russian hacking attempts into the Olympic Games in Japan and South Korea. The aim of such absurd claims is to promote an anti-Russian agenda in the West and to adopt punishing measures. The West uses Russophobia as a tool and the current Russophobic media campaign is going well because the Navalny’s poisoning story is not over yet. The latter is Germany’s provocation with a standard Russophobic agenda. The US and UK disliked it because German media were in the global spotlight for a few days and sidelined the US’s and UK’s information dominance.

In this light, the allegation about Russian hackers attacking the Olympic Games is an attempt by the US and UK to sideline the story of Navalny’s poisoning as the project of German competitors. Washington and London need to take back control over the political agenda in the global media, which Europe, led by Germans, subdued for some time. The US and UK just could not invent a better idea to overshadow one anti-Russian topic with another. Although in both cases, foreign countries use unfriendly rhetoric, their controversies benefit Russia because they contribute to conflict relations inside the West and to its ultimate degradation.

Disproof

This article is conspiracy built around the concept of ubiquitous Russophobia and anti-Russian provocations by the Western countries and spreads disinformation about Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny's poisoning. American and British officials indeed made statements about Russian cyberattacks against the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and the postponed Tokyo Olympics. However, there are no reasons to believe that this story was invented by the UK and US and that it was done to sideline the story of Navalny's poisoning. Furthermore, allegations about the poisoning as a German anti-Russian provocation are groundless.

Navalny fell ill during a flight and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Omsk in Russia, before he was transferred to Berlin where the German Federal government said that toxicological tests provided “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group” in his blood samples. In addition, on 4 September, the German government provided research by two more independent laboratories in France and Sweden, which confirmed the presence of poison from the Novichok group in Alexei Navalny's body. The report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, published on 8 October, also supports the German conclusions. The OPCW report can be found here. The European Union condemned the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in the strongest possible terms and imposed sanctions.