Disinfo: The “Capital” wants to destroy Belarus because it presents an alternative to Capitalism

Summary

For years, the Polish public debate has been censored in order to promote the message that “There is no alternative to Capitalism”. At the present moment, Belarus, one of such alternatives, is being destroyed. Belarus, as a state, does not pose any threats to its neighbours. So, this situation is taking place because of the economic model realised by President Lukashenka – it may potentially be interesting for other countries, so it is perceived as a “bad example”. It shows that the enterprises can be used as a communal property; that it is possible to carry out egalitarian policies providing all citizens with minimum social benefits. For 26 years, Belarus has been ruining the beliefs dominating the minds of young Europeans – that is why the Capital wants to destroy it.

Disproof

This narrative is promoting the idea that some external forces continue to destroy various non-Capitalist “alternatives” to the Capitalist system. In addition, this message distorts the presentation of the socio-economic situation in Belarus presenting this country as a highly developed Communist-style welfare state, while the Capitalist/EU countries face challenges such as unemployment and homelessness. The statements that Belarusian authorities implement “egalitarian policies” 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 in 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 recognize 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. For years, the “unique” economic model of Alyaksandar Lukashenka has been based on direct Russian subsidies – when Russia reduced the volume of these subsidies, the Lukashenka’s economic model started to collapse very fast.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 209
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/07/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Polish
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Poland, Belarus
  • Keywords: Socialism, Propaganda, Secret elites / global elites, Alexander Lukashenko, Economic difficulties, Capitalists, Conspiracy theory
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Ukrainian government launched a military operation against Donetsk and Lugansk in 2014

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Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative painting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup d'état and a conflict between the eastern regions and Ukraine. The war in eastern Ukraine is not a civil conflict but a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014. Furthermore, there was no coup d'etat in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous parts of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim. Read similar cases that the Euromaidan coup led to civil war in Donbas and Luhansk independence trigged a Ukrainian military operation, and that the extreme coup in Kyiv led to the return of Crimea and in addition, that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia and even that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine. Regarding the war in eastern Ukraine, see claims that Ukraine launched a military operation against Donetsk and Luhansk and that the Euromaidan coup led to civil war in Donbas.

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Recently, the results of tests of a new American vaccine against the COVID-19 virus, which were conducted by American virologists on the territory of one of the medical institutions of the Kharkiv region, became public. Fifteen candidates, including ten members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine infected with coronavirus, were taking part in the practical trials of the drug and vaccine. As a result, five “test subjects”, four of whom were active servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, died.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory, one of many pro-Kremlin narratives concerning the coronavirus pandemic. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence has refuted the claim. It stated that no foreign medical specialists had visited Ukraine’s military in recent months. All soldiers who are ill with the coronavirus are treated exclusively in military hospitals and not in any Kharkiv dispensary. Potential vaccines against COVID-19 are developed by laboratories all around the world. The results of the tests are available to the public. You can see where the vaccine is tested and what the results are here. Read similar cases claiming that Bill Gates warns of an ineffective coronavirus vaccine or that Russia is world's best-prepared country to deal with second coronavrus wave.

Terrorist acts in Ukraine are signs of a new Maidan

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Disproof

Recurring disinformation about socio-economic situation in Ukraine, Euromaidan and Ukrainian governance. The Euromaidan demonstrations started in Kyiv in November 2013. They emerged organically as a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last-minute U-turn on the highly anticipated EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which had been under negotiation for seven years. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here. Ukraine is a sovereign country. Ukraine's allies are focused on realising and strengthening a stable, democratic, prosperous and free Ukraine, more closely integrated into Europe and Euro-Atlantic structures. Russia is, in fact, violating territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine with continuous acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014. According to World Bank data, the Ukrainian economy grew steadily between 2016 and 2019. Ukrstat states that average monthly income has also increased gradually in past years. The unemployment rate is also down from 10.1% in Q1 2017 to 8.5% in Q1 2020. While the ruling party's popularity is down to 30.7% according to Europe Elects, it is still by far the most popular political force in the country. Thus, nothing suggests that there would be widespread popular discontent in the country that would lead to a series of terrorist acts and a new "Maidan". The two events discussed in the News Front article did indeed take place. A gunman took 13 hostages on a bus in Lutsk and only let the hostages go once President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video on Facebook endorsing a 2005 animal rights documentary. In another, unrelated case, a crime suspect took a police officer captive with a grenade. However, these do not indicate that a new Maidan would be coming.