Disinfo: The Belarusian protests are managed from Ukraine and NATO countries, Bernard-Henri Lévy is also involved

Summary

Among the Western countries, Lithuania and Poland carry out the most aggressive policies towards Belarus. They would hardly dare to take such a position without support of the UK and some US political circles. The collective West gave a carte blanche to Vilnius and Warsaw to interfere in Belarusian domestic affairs and use Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya as a puppet. If the Belarusian events were the consequences of domestic affairs only, Russian would not support the Belarusian authorities so openly. Russia made it very clear for everybody on the international arena that Western external pressure on Belarus to carry out a hostile takeover of Belarus along the Ukrainian scenario is not acceptable.

The Belarusian protests are managed by command centres located in Ukraine and NATO countries and fully controlled by foreign security bodies. Lithuania and Poland are just window dressing, covering the real participants of the big game against Russia. The enemy’s aim is to harm Belarusian security and economy as much as possible and to bring a loyalist government to power, or to create long-term instability in the closest country to Russia.

Bernard-Henri Lévy, who inspired the events in Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria and Ukraine, is now supervising Tsikhanouskaya’s team.

Disproof

This article promotes recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Belarus protests as being organised and controlled from abroad and as the West's attempt to organise a colour revolution. It is also consistent with pro-Kremlin narratives about the West's aggressive anti-Russian intentions, its activities to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's 'puppet' status, and a Western takeover of Ukraine.

There is no evidence that the US, UK, Lithuania, Poland, or Ukraine are in anyway involved in the protests in Belarus. Large-scale protests began in Minsk on August 9 against the results of the presidential election, and then in other cities. People revolted against election fraud and police violence towards thousands of rally participants.

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.

According to human rights advocates, over 15,000 people have been detained in Belarus since the election, and over 100 of them were declared political prisoners. By September 2020, UN human rights experts received reports of 450 documented cases of torture and ill-treatment of people deprived of their liberty after the disputed presidential election and called on Belarus to stop torturing detainees.

In early October 2020, the EU imposed restrictive measures against 40 individuals responsible for repression and intimidation against peaceful demonstrators, opposition members, and journalists in the wake of the 2020 presidential election in Belarus, as well as for misconduct of the electoral process.

Finally, Bernard-Henri Lévy, a French public intellectual, met Tsikhanouskaya informally in September 2020 in Vilnius. However, there is no proof that he is somehow related to her team or that he "inspired the events in Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine" as alleged.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that imperialistic Poland and Lithuania are the springboard for Belarusian Maidan, that CIA and Pentagon prepares Belarusian protestors in Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states, and that the West destabilises Belarus to destroy Russian civilisation, an alternative route of human development.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 218
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/10/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Yugoslavia, Libya, UK, Poland, Syria, US, Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Protest, Puppets, Colour revolutions, Conspiracy theory
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It is unclear, who really poisoned Sergei and Yuliya Skripal

Sergei and Yuliya Skripal were found unconscious in Salisbury, UK, on 4 March 2018 and were taken to hospital with symptoms of poisoning. It is still unclear by whom, and under what circumstances, the former Russian-British double agent and his daughter were really poisoned.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Salisbury poisoning. After a hearing in the Court of Protection, British High Court Justice David Williams issued an approved judgement about what had happened to the Skripals around three weeks after their poisoning in March 2018. The British Police have presented a solid chain of evidence on the Skripal case, with pictures, connecting the suspects to the locations in the case. Some of the material has been released to the public. The evidence was sufficient to charge two Russian nationals, Anatoliy Chepiga and Aleksandr Mishkin with the attack on the Skripals, both Russian military intelligence operatives from the GRU, who travelled to the UK using fake names and documents. Following this attack, the United Kingdom notified the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), invited them to confirm the identity of the substance involved, and briefed members of the Security Council. The OPCW’s independent expert laboratories confirmed the UK’s identification of the Russian produced Novichok nerve agent, specifically the purity of the toxin while emphasising that the OPCW team “worked independently and was not involved in the national investigation by the UK authorities", to ensure the integrity of the examinations and investigations. The pro-Kremlin narrative also claims that the Skripal story "starts to be forgotten". In fact, the UK's official assessment of the incident was supported by 28 other countries which responded similarly. Altogether, an unprecedented number of 153 Russian diplomats were expelled around the world. See more disinformation cases on the Skripals' Salisbury poisoning.

The US aims to take Russia out of the post-Soviet space following a RAND corporation plan

Those who believe that the latest events in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Nagorno-Karabakh and possibly upcoming tensions in Moldova are the mere result of popular discontent and infighting among clans and elites or among regions are wrong. It is all due to a ruthless geopolitical, geoeconomic, ideological and informative struggle carefully planned since long ago by US strategists and set in motion to liberate the post-Soviet space from Russia’s influence. For Washington and its unconditional satellite Brussels, creating around Russia as much instability focus, tension and local conflicts as possible, would lead its government to despair in its impossible attempt to fill all the holes, and to the weakening of Vladimir Putin’s government, which wouldn’t have time to support Syria, Venezuela, Iran and Libya. More than one year ago, the think tank Rand Corporation published a report where it analyses Russia’s anxieties and vulnerabilities and advises on how to exploit them. According to Rand’s analysts “the US main task is to weaken, outbalance, overextend and take Russia out of the post-Soviet space”. Some of the points of the report have been implemented, such as destabilisation in Belarus, Nagorno-Karabakh, Kyrgyzstan and others. It is significant that two of its proposals, related to sanctions against Russian energy projects and the deployment of a “western information campaign” on the anti-corruption fight, are implemented in the media campaign related to the “poisoning” of Alexei Navalny. Another revealing chapter is devoted to “geopolitical measures” against Russian influence: given the recent events in the post-Soviet space, the same list of measures looks like a scenario that is implemented in front of our eyes.

Disproof

This is a deliberate misrepresentation of the content of the original report of the Rand Corporation, in order to support recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Russia as the ultimate target of international events, the West as an aggressive evil power aiming to encircle Russia, popular protests as Western-led colour revolutions and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny as a set up framing Russia. Though the report is openly oriented to “define areas where the United States can compete [with Russia] to its own advantage” in the framework of “great-power competition with Russia”, there is no evidence that it is related at all to events in Belarus, Nagorno-Karabakh, Kyrgyzstan or the Navalny case. Contrary to the claim, the report never states that “the US main task is to weaken, outbalance, overextend and take Russia out of the post-Soviet space”. The measures it proposes towards the Caucasus are promoting a closer NATO relationship with Georgia and Azerbaijan and to try to induce Armenia to break with Russia, not to escalate the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Regarding Central Asia, it suggests increasing trade and technical agreements and further engagement with the Eurasian Economic Union, not a colour revolution in Kyrgyzstan. And though it examines the potential benefits for the US of regime change in Belarus, it talks about “helping the opposition parties reach the end state of being a free and democratic Belarus”, not about engineering unrest. See other examples of these disinformation narratives, such as claims that clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh are part of an Anaconda Ring plan against Russia, that events in Belarus are part of a hybrid war organised from abroad, that Moscow prevented a colour revolution in Kyrgyzstan, that extremists and Nazis are being trained in Ukraine to act in Belarus, or that Angela Merkel is the handler of Belarusian and Russian opposition leaders Tsikhanouskaya and Navalny.

Following US orders, Germany disguised Navalny’s low blood sugar as action of a “nerve agent”

In cahoots with France, Germany disguised the low blood sugar levels of Alexei Navalny as the action of a “nerve agent”, dragging the whole EU in their crusade. The sanctions against Russia are masterminded by the US, which can only lead to conclude that Brussels closely follows every order from Washington. In this way, Germany has some kind of Stockholm syndrome towards the US, because every blow that Washington launches against the Nord Stream 2 is a direct hit to the economy and energy security of Germany.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The claim that Navalny suffered “low blood sugar levels” is false, since the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group against the Russian dissident has been established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory. This is merged with a recurrent disinformation narrative portraying the EU as a puppet of the US. The campaign is following the same playbook as the one deployed after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in 2018, a case where there is strong evidence of the involvement of Russian intelligence operatives and high-level Russian officials. By claiming that it is the US, and not Russia who benefits from this incident, pro-Kremlin media are trying to deflect any Russian responsibility for it, a frequent Kremlin tactic. Also, the use of multiple and simultaneous versions of an event involving questionable actions by the Russian government or its allies, in order to confound citizens about the actual truth, is a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation strategy, already seen in the cases of the MH17 downing, the illegal annexation of Crimea, the murder attempt against the Skripals or chemical attacks in Syria. See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on Alexei Navalny’s poisoning in our database, such as claims that only caffeine and alcohol were found in his blood, that the US wanted to use it to block Russia's vaccine against coronavirus, that the West hopes that he dies to have an excuse for new sanctions, or that Western accusations on Navalny’s case are as false as they were about Sergei Skripal and Alexander Litvinenko.