DISINFO: Removal of Ice Hockey World Championship from Belarus is another Western anti-Russian policy
  • Outlet: sputnik.by (archived)*
  • Date of publication: January 19, 2021
  • Outlet language(s): Russian
  • Reported in: Issue 229
  • Countries / regions discussed: US, Belarus, Russia
Union State of Belarus and Russia Olympics Anti-Russian Sanctions Conspiracy theory Russophobia

DISINFO: Removal of Ice Hockey World Championship from Belarus is another Western anti-Russian policy


Belarus was removed as a co-host of the Ice Hockey World Championship due to counteraction of the collective West. All recent events, including sanctions, defamation, etc. are the links of one chain aimed at creating the anti-Russian springboard out of Belarus. Last year the Belarusian presidential election was a pretext for Western pressure, this year the hockey championship is. Europe as the US vassal has been actively working with various international organisations including the International Olympic Committee. Belarusian multilateral foreign policy is a hidden Russophobia.


This is an illustrative example of the recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about ubiquitous Russophobia and West's deliberate anti-Russian activities. Belarusian external relations with other foreign countries beyond Russia is groundlessly called Russophobia. For background, read our analysis: The “Russophobia” Myth: Appealing to the Lowest Feelings. It also promotes the pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about lost sovereignty, presenting the EU countries as US vassals.

On 18 January 2021, the IIHF Council announced the decision to move the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship from Belarus, citing safety and security issues. It says, among other things, that the "IIHF Council has determined that it is currently impossible to ensure the welfare of teams, spectators and officials while holding a World Championship in Belarus".

It is reported that under "safety and security issues" the ongoing political unrest and concerns over COVID-19 are meant. Some of the largest ice hockey championship sponsors, including Czech carmaker Skoda, German motor oil manufacturer Liqui Moly, and the Nivea Men skincare brand, had threatened to pull out of sponsoring the event if it took place in Belarus, citing widespread human rights abuses by the Belarusian authorities. In response to large-scale protests against the results of the fraudulent presidential election, by January 2021 over 30,000 people have been detained in Belarus, and almost 200 of them were declared political prisoners.

The US or Western countries have no unilateral control over the IIHF Council unlike the publication implies. The IIHF Council members are elected by the IIHF General Congress. The latter is made up by representatives from all IIHF member national associations. There are currently 58 full members which have voting rights at the IIHF Congresses, many of them are not Western countries.

There is no link between the IIHF Council's decision and earlier sanctions imposed on Russian athletes by other international sports organisations due to doping scandals. The publication implies that such cases were West's provocation against Russia and Belarus. As for the Russian sport case, please see earlier disinformation cases alleging that there is no evidence that Russian athletes used doping and that banning Russia from the Olympics is a modern form of racism.


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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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