Disinfo: No evidence of vote-rigging in Belarus election

Summary

On August 9, incumbent leader Alexander Lukashenko won the presidential elections in Belarus for the sixth time, gaining 80.1 percent of the vote. The Western-backed opposition claims that Tikhanovskaya, not Lukashenko, won the election, as usual, without showing any credible evidence.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative about the 2020 presidential election in Belarus.

A considerable body of evidence suggests that the election was neither free nor fair.

The poll was not overseen by any recognised monitoring body. The OSCE notes it was unable to observe key aspects of the electoral process given "[t]he lack of a timely invitation more than two months after the announcement of the election."

The entire election campaign was marred by reports of intimidation and violence on the part of Belarusian law enforcement. A post-election brief by the OSCE highlights "evidence of excessive use of force by police across Belarus in the face of overwhelmingly peaceful protests," including attacks on protesters, independent election monitors, and journalists. More than 6,000 people were arrested in the first three days of post-election protests.

The EU does not recognize the election results presented by the Belarusian authorities, as the election process did not meet the international standards expected of a participating state of the OSCE.

According to statistical data and independent observers, the official result of the presidential election was itself heavily doctored. A joint monitoring effort by three NGOs demonstrates the scale of falsification based on election protocols from 1,310 polling stations across Belarus, and concludes that the announced result (80% of votes cast for Lukashenka) is mathematically "impossible" (p. 7). An analysis by the Novaya Gazeta newspaper shows that excluding "anomalous" voting districts from the official tally would see Lukashenka's percentage drop to 43%, and Tsikhanouskaya's surge to 45%, in which case a second round would have to be called.

Several days after the election, the chairman of a local election commission in Vitsebsk admitted that the results in his district had been falsified on the personal orders of the region's governor.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 209
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/08/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Belarus
  • Keywords: Manipulated elections/referendum, Alexander Lukashenko, Elections

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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OSCE’s position on Belarus was decided even before the elections happened

The Belarusian authorities have invited the OSCE ODIHR – Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights – to take part in the monitoring of the elections. Why did it not come? This immediately makes us [Russia] think that, in fact, a position on the results of these elections had already been formulated. Therefore, someone may doubt the results, but we have every reason to doubt that those who doubt the election results were completely honest.

Disproof

A recurrent narrative about the West undermining democracy in Eastern countries and organising colour revolutions.

On July 15, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus that the lack of an invitation to observe the upcoming presidential election precluded ODIHR from observing the ongoing election process and published a press release. Afterwards, Belarus officially invited the organisation to observe the presidential elections of 9 August 2020.

Ukrainians pay a third more for electricity than in EU

According to calculations by the European Commission, Ukraine is on the list of countries with the highest electricity prices. At the beginning of the year, power payments for Ukrainians was 38% higher than the European average. This is stated in the report of the European Commission.

Disproof

The European Commission regularly publishes quarterly reports on European electricity markets. The reports analyse the main factors behind price and volume evolutions on the market and they analyse electricity market interactions between countries. In addition to reviewing electricity prices in the capitals of the European Union countries, the European Commission also reviews electricity prices in capitals of the European continent as a whole. According to the EC quarterly report,  in March 2020, the highest prices were observed in Berlin and Copenhagen  (33.4 and 30.0 c€/kWh, respectively).

The lowest prices of EU27 capitals were recorded in Budapest and Sofia (11.2 c€/kWh and 11.6 c€/kWh, respectively). Non-Member States in Europe’s east tend to have lower prices. Thus, electricity for an average household in Kyiv is seven times cheaper than for one in Berlin, the report states.

German doctors participated in the Council which blocked Navalny’s transportation to German hospital

We ended a consultation with colleagues from Germany. We came to the conclusion that Navalny experienced a sharp drop in blood glucose with pressure changes. To avoid the risk, we insisted that the patient stay in hospital [in Omsk, Russia] until his condition was clearly stabilised. An additional fact here is that German doctors have arrived, German doctors are participating in the work, together with our doctors, they were present at the council. The decision to leave him there, well, apparently, there was no objection.

A new medical consultation on the state of Alexei Navalny, who has been in intensive care at Omsk hospital in a serious condition since Thursday, comes with the participation of his wife Yulia Navalny. Following the results of the first consultation with the participation of physicians from Germany who arrived in Omsk, it was decided to leave him in BSMP-1 until his condition stabilised.

Disproof

Disinformation around the recent suspected poisoning of Alexey Navalny. He fell ill during a flight and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where the doctors rejected information about him being poisoned.

Navalny has since been transferred to Berlin and is receiving treatment at Berlin's Charite Hospital. Clinical findings indicate poisoning with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors, said Charite.