Disinfo: The EU planned the relocation of Belarusian IT businesses well in advance

Summary

The escape of the Belarusian IT business in neighbouring countries was planned well in advance by the Western states and particularly by the European Union. Alyaksandr Lukashenka managed to bring many IT companies to Belarus because a “big brother” tolerated this. He did so not to help the Belarusian economy but to create the outflow effect at a critical moment. The West and the EU knew very well that at some point they would not recognise the Belarusian elections, introduce sanctions, and start pressing the businesses. Hence, the outflow of businesses was programmed by them.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy consistent with a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about aggressive West aiming to harm Belarus by any means. It groundlessly speaks about the Western pressure on Belarusian businesses and wrongly interprets EU sanctions. 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. However, EU sanctions do not extend to any state or private business. The allegation that the outflow of IT businesses was programmed by the EU which was aware of the upcoming non-recognition of election makes no sense. Numerous gross violations were well-documented by specialised NGOs based on accounts of independent observers and journalists. The EU did not recognise a number of previous presidential and parliamentary elections as free and fair based on ODIHR OSCE observation mission conclusions. However, never before the post-electoral situation resulted in such a massive relocation of IT businesses. This is because the relocation results not from non-recognition of presidential results by the Western countries or imposition of personal sanctions by them, but from the breakdown of law in Belarus, unprecedented repressive actions of the Belarusian state authorities, and occasional internet shutdowns during protest rallies. Asked about negative factors for their activities in a recent survey, Belarusian startup companies named the absence of legal protection and dysfunctional legislation (56%), violence and killings of peaceful citizens (56%), a loss of trust towards state authorities, and political crisis (47%), criminal cases against employees of startup companies (47%), and cases when law enforcement agencies can break into the offices, arrest employees and seize equipment without legal grounds (45%). According to human rights advocates, around 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. Read earlier disinformation cases alleging that CIA and Pentagon prepare Belarusian protestors in Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic states, that hostile actions of Poland towards Belarus a smokescreen for Poland’s real goals, and that the United States organised the protests in Belarus.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 217
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/10/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Country: EU, Belarus
  • Keywords: West, Alexander Lukashenko, Economic difficulties, Sanctions, Conspiracy theory
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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about COVID-19 and vaccines that are being developed by Western countries. No evidence is given. No vaccine trials are currently being conducted in Ukraine. In October 2020, Ukraine received the first application for third phase trials of the European manufacturer in the country. "As soon as approval is obtained, and this is done by order of the Ministry of Health, all information about clinical trials becomes available immediately. This study examines clinical centres with researchers from the following cities: several centres in Kyiv, several centres in Vinnitsya, Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk," said Director of the State Expert Centre of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine Tetyana Dumenko. Johnson & Johnson said that it had temporarily halted its COVID-19 vaccine trial because one of its participants had become sick. "We have temporarily paused further dosing in all our COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials, including the phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial, due to an unexplained illness in a study participant," the company said in a statement. See similar narratives, such as Trying to catch up with Russia, the West lost another round in the fight against pandemic; There is no approved COVID-19 vaccine except the Russian one, says Reuters; WHO said the Russian vaccine against coronavirus is safe and efficient.

PACE creates the basis for the Belarusian scenario in Moldova

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Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about colour revolutions as attempts by the West to overthrow regimes in post-Soviet states and in other regions.

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US presence in Europe. This is also a recurring disinformation narrative about Belarus and, in general, about protests in post-communist countries: presenting protests, disorders and civil uprisings as “colour revolutions” directed and funded by the US and the West. There is no evidence that the US or other foreign forces are involved in any way in the processes in Belarus. The protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential election 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. The European Council imposed restrictive measures against 40 individuals identified as 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. See similar cases claiming that the protesters in Belarus are controlled by foreign centres, that the West is helping to destabilise the situation in Belarus before the election, that US agents attempt to overthrow Lukashenka along the Ukrainian scenario, that CIA and Pentagon prepare Belarusian protestors, and that The West is creating a “fire belt” around Russia through protests in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.