Disinfo: Political purges prevented the coup in Belarus

Summary

The coup in Belarus failed for two reasons: one domestic and one international. The first one was president Alexander Lukashenko’s whole sweeping of the political field in the country, purging all pro-Western forces. The other reason was the enormous political, economic and informative support that Russia provided for Lukashenko, without which his close circle could have betrayed him and joined the coup.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Belarus framing popular protests as a coup and aiming to deprive the Belarusian opposition of any legitimacy.

Contrary to the “coup” narrative, protests in Belarus erupted spontaneously to contest the results of the presidential election in Belarus on 9 August 2020, which were not monitored by independent experts and were largely considered fraudulent by both international observers and a large part of the Belarusian society. Anti-Lukashenka protests have been mostly peaceful but were met with wide violence from Belarusian police and authorities, including beatings, torture, and excessive force.

Comments about “sweeping the political field” and “purging of pro-Western forces” actually refer to the massive crackdown on the opposition during the year since protests erupted first, including serious illicit actions such as filming confessions obtained through torture and the forced landing of a Ryanair flight to snatch dissident journalist Raman Pratasevich. Russia’s mentioned “informative support” for Alyaksandr Lukashenka included several disinformation campaigns and the use of Russian journalists to replace Belarusian professionals who refused to participate in Lukashenka’s manipulations.

See other examples of similar disinformation narratives about Belarus in our database, such as claims that US and European allies stage provocations against Belarus and plot to kill Lukashenka, that the coup attempt in Belarus aims to relive Nazism, that the colour revolution in Belarus aims to prevent its integration with Russia or that Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya’s trip to Germany shows that Angela Merkel is her handler.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 255
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/08/2021
  • Article language(s) Spanish
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Belarus, Russia
  • Keywords: Alexander Lukashenko, Coup
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Disinfo: Main goal of the coup in 2014 was to surrender Ukraine's sovereignty to the West

The fact is that Kyiv has long lost the ability to be guided by national interests. The main goal of the organisers of the coup in February 2014 was not a desire to acquire greater subjectivity, but, on the contrary, to surrender it to the West in the hope of becoming, with its blessing, a kind of occupying administration in their own country.

According to Kyiv's plans, politically and militarily it was supposed to be covered by the EU and NATO, from the table of which Ukrainian politicians would be fed.

Disproof

The claim advances a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative concerning the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests, as well as about Ukrainian statehood and lost sovereignty.

There was no coup d’état in Kyiv in 2014; this is a longstanding pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine's Euromaidan. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former president Viktor Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013.

Disinfo: Biden will not host Zelensky in Washington

It can happen that Biden changes his mind and decides not to host Zelensky. This will be a major humiliation for Ukraine.

Disproof

The claim is part of a wider disinformation narrative (Abandoned Ukraine) which aims to portray Ukraine as a country that is repeatedly let down by its international partners.

Following a phone conversation with the Ukrainian President, US President Joe Biden invited Volodymyr Zelensky, his Ukrainian counterpart to the White House for a bilateral Presidential summit in Washington. The summit is scheduled for 30 August 2021 and there is no indication to suggest that the US government will change its position concerning its invitation to the Ukrainian president.

Disinfo: The Netherlands is complicit in the MH17 downing

The Netherlands is not only covering up those responsible for the MH17 tragedy but the investigators are also complicit.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative spread by pro-Kremlin media outlets aimed at distracting attention from the Kremlin's responsibility for the MH17 tragedy, which occurred in July 2014 when the passenger plane with the above flight number was shot down with a Russian Buk missile over Eastern Ukraine in Kremlin-supported separatist areas in the Donbas region.

There is no evidence to suggest that the Netherlands, nor any investigators looking into the case were in any way involved in the tragedy.