Disinfo: Belarusians want to have the Western “right” to be unemployed and homeless instead of having free education and social security

Summary

As the last country in Europe, the Belarusians want to taste the liberal capitalism hoping that they will not face the fate of the Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians or the Poles, who have moved to the West trying to make money for a living working at various “low-level” jobs. The Belarusians are tired of President Lukashenka, so they have a right to taste the West, have a right to be unemployed or homeless. They do not want to pay symbolic costs for municipal services, cheap and qualitative medication, free education and social security. It is a freedom of choice.

Disproof

This message distorts the presentation of the socio-economic situation in Belarus and the EU – Belarus is presented as a highly developed Communist-style welfare state, while EU countries face challenges such as unemployment and homelessness. The statements that Belarusians “pay symbolic costs for municipal services”, “have cheap medicine”, “free education” and “social security” do not have anything in common with the real socio-economic situation in the country. One of the main reasons for the current protests in Belarus is the dramatic reduction of the level of life of the population, which has been taking place during recent years. At the present moment, Belarus is one of the poorest countries in Europe – it has a lower GDP per capita than any EU member state. Other socio-economic indicators also prove that Belarus has a substantially lower level of life than any other EU member state – life expectancy (74 – one of the lowest in Europe), minimal salary – 124 EUR (lowest in Europe), unemployment benefit – from 9 to 18 euros per month (a “symbolic” payment); average salary – 440 EUR. In terms of the “symbolic cost of municipal services”, the Belarusian authorities recognise that the population pays 83% of the market price of these services. Today, the population pays market price for all services with the exception of hot water and heating (as for 2020). In terms of “free education”, 54% of the students of the Belarusian universities pay for their studies.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 209
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/08/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Polish
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, Belarus
  • Keywords: Socialism, fake statistics, West, Protest, Alexander Lukashenko, Economic difficulties, Capitalists
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Disinfo: The West is preparing a colour revolution in Belarus

The West is preparing a colour revolution in Belarus.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Belarus and colour revolutions. The protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential election in Belarus on the 9th of August, which are considered fraudulent by a large part of Belarusian society. The European Union has also stated that the elections were neither free nor fair. There is no evidence that the protests in Belarus are funded and organised externally. Pro-Kremlin media frequently use disinformation narratives about popular protests around the world allegedly incited and funded by the US and other Western states, including colour revolutions in post-Soviet states, the “Arab Spring” revolts, Euromaidan in Ukraine, protests in Catalonia and others. This narrative claims that protests, disorders and civil uprisings are never manifestations of popular discontent but are “colour revolutions” directed and funded by the West. See similar cases claiming that the protests in Belarus are a colour revolution conducted according to a Maidan scenario and that the West wants to prepare Maidan in Belarus.

Disinfo: Thousands of foreign militants assist pro-Poland opposition in Belarus

It is clear that Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s warnings about foreign militants were not empty words. A few thousand militants from Poland, Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic states, many times more than Lukashenka thought, apparently came to Belarus. Many Russian media along with Ukrainian and opposition Belarusian media support militants just as tasked by the Western curators. Some people saw that unknown people were paying citizens for participation in unrest. The heads of Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia as puppet states advocate for the plan on how to resolve Belarus’s crisis, which does not correspond to the national interests of the Belarusian people. Petro Poroshenko, who seized power in Ukraine after a coup and organised a civil war, calls upon Lukashenka to negotiate with the organisers of unrest. The situation is developing in lines with the Ukrainian scenario, including the destruction of the Union State and the creation of an anti-Russian alliance. Simultaneously the West organises protest actions in Russia. Anglo-Saxons have 300-years-long colonial experience. They know how to bribe local authorities, to manipulate public opinion, to organise unrest, etc. Belarusian opposition can lead the people to colonial dependence, a collapse of the national economy, and impoverishment of the population. The pro-Poland political grouping wants to establish an EU- and US-supported anti-Russian dictatorship and terror just as in Ukraine.

Disproof

This is a mixture of recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Western attempts to stage a colour revolution in Belarus, West's and Anglo-Saxons' aggressive actions towards Belarus and Russia, Poland and the Baltic countries as puppet states, and a coup d'etat in Ukraine in 2014. It also seriously misinterprets intentions of the Belarusian opposition and puts forward fake allegations about thousands of foreign militants in Belarus. There is absolutely no proof of any Western or Ukrainian involvement and presence of 'militants' either among Belarusian or foreign citizens in the widespread protests in Belarus. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have been protesting against a massive vote-rigging and police violence since 9 August 2020. On 16 August 2020 Belarus witnessed the largest rallies in the city of Minsk and dozens smaller towns and localities in its history. Neither Belarusian, Ukrainian or Russian media are subservient to 'Western curators' as alleged. The claim about payments to protesters is also groundless and not supported by any evidence. Poland, the Baltic states, and Ukraine have not supported any 'plan' for Belarus as alleged. On 11 August foreign ministers of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine issued a joint statement urging Belarus's authorities not to use force and release detained protesters, and to engage in dialogue with alternative civil and political actors. On 12 August the parliaments of the three Baltic states and Poland called on the Belarusian authorities to end the use of force and persecution and to initiate a genuine social dialogue. On 19 August 2020 the European Council called Belarus's elections neither free nor fair, condemned the violence against peaceful protesters, called for a complete and transparent investigation into all alleged abuses, and announced its decision to impose sanctions on a substantial number of individuals responsible for violence, repression, and election fraud. The opposition forces, including the Coordinating Council initiated by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, are not pro-Polish and did not call for any anti-Russian actions as alleged. The geopolitical issues are not on the protests' agenda at all. Poland and the Baltic states are sovereign countries, which shape their own foreign and domestic policies. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Russia has neutralised many Western attempts to topple the Belarusian government. the West pursues Maidan policy towards Belarus to encircle Russia, the US wishes to destabilise Belarus and provoke a war, Polish ruling elites dream of military intervention, and that NATO pays the Belarusian opposition $1 per one person infected with the coronavirus.

Disinfo: EU is showcasing hypocrisy in its handling of Belarus

When will Macron ask the European Union to stand by the hundreds of thousands of yellow vest protesters who seek by means of peaceful demonstrations to have their rights, freedoms and sovereignty respected? When will the European Union […] start acting […] to support protests in its own backyard? This is the definition of hypocrisy.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation message aimed at undermining European values and justifying violence against protesters in Belarus. The message uses disinformation technique of "whataboutism" allegedly exposing the ills of the West. The situations in France and Belarus are not comparable, France is a democracy where Yellow Vests presented their candidates' list for the European Parliament elections in 2019. According to Freedom House, the French political system features vibrant democratic processes and generally strong protections for civil liberties and political rights. The EU has urged the Belarusian authorities to stop the disproportionate and unacceptable violence against peaceful protesters and does not recognize the results of presidential election as process did not meet the international standards expected of a participating state of the OSCE. More cases about Belarus can be read at the following links: Russia has neutralised many Western attempts to topple the Belarusian government, The EU continues to support a colour revolution in Belarus, The US wishes to destabilise Belarus and provoke a war, Polish ruling elites dream of military intervention, The West is helping to destabilise the situation in Belarus before the election, Belarus will either become part of Russia or the West’s poor colony, NATO pays the Belarusian opposition $1 per one person infected with the coronavirus. See related disinformation cases about the Yellow Vest protests in France here.