Disinfo: The EU provoked a civil war in Ukraine, now it destabilises Belarus

Summary

Instead of regulating old military conflicts in Eastern Europe, the EU provoked new ones, which manifested in the civil war in Ukraine. A coup d’état in Kyiv was one of the elements which made a military conflict in Donbas inevitable. The same Eastern Partnership drivers which pumped Ukrainian society with radicalism for its “European choice” currently perform the same activities in Belarus. In 2017, the authorities of Belarus prevented an attempt to organise armed protests in Minsk with external support. Back then, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko announced that militants sent to Belarus were trained in military camps in Ukraine and financed through Poland and Lithuania. Hence, two active Eastern Partnership coutries were destabilising Belarus.

Disproof

This is a mix of ungrounded claims and conspiracies which are consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narrative about Western attempts to instigate colour revolutions in European neighbourhood countries.

There was no coup d'état in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous segments 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 here. The war in eastern Ukraine is not a West-driven civil conflict but a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014.

There was no attempt to stage armed protests in Belarus in 2017 with external support. The claim about the opposition's attempt to conduct a terrorist act is unfounded and the charges were dropped by Belarusian investigators. At the same time, as Belarus 2017 Human Rights Report by the US State Department reads, opposition leaders faced multiple arrests by the Belarusian authorities: "Throughout the year, Statkevich and Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu, another 2010 presidential candidate, opposition activist, and former political prisoner, were arrested repeatedly and placed in administrative detentions, usually in connection with unauthorised gatherings and demonstrations."

Statkevich team member Sergey Kuncevich was detained on 25 March 2017 and accused of transporting Molotov cocktails as part of a larger coordinated attempt to organise mass protests. Nearly, at the same time, Belarus' state-owned mass media (BelTA) published an article “Militants staging a provocation detained in Belarus” reporting about weapons allegedly confiscated from other accused. Investigators found no evidence to confirm the accusations and the criminal prosecution of all those arrested in relation to the case was closed in late November 2017. See earlier disinformation cases alleging attempts to destabilise Belarus using Ukrainian weapons here and here.

See earlier disinformation stories alleging that Belarusian opposition leaders prepare a coup with US military assistance and proclaimed a crusade against the Orthodox Church in Belarus.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 197
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: EU, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, Poland
  • Keywords: Eastern Partnership, Protest, Civil war, Alexander Lukashenko, Colour revolutions, Coup, Donbas, Conspiracy
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Soros will soon gain control of Ukraine

At the moment, Ukrainian followers of Soros are promoting one very interesting law. If everything works out, then NABU will have the right to use military and special equipment for its investigations, including weapons and ammunition purchased by foreign structures with money from the budget of Ukraine. Such an amazing right is hidden in the bowels of the bill on allowing NATO, and all sorts of US budget programs, to take part in the defence order of Ukraine.

Those subordinated to Soros will be able to organise wiretapping of all Ukrainian politicians, businessmen, and public figures. The obtained evidence will become part of the game to eliminate the old “elites” and will make it easier to manage the colony (Ukraine).

Disproof

Conspiracy theory with no evidence offered. This article is based on recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about George Soros. The other part of the disinformation message is about the Bill on defence procurement.

This law has not entered into force in Ukraine yet: on May 13, the Verkhovna Rada sent its draft for a second reading. The Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Dmytro Razumkov believes this law will be passed during the second reading. Experts say that the key point of this law is the reduction of corruption risks by introducing greater competition.

West-funded pro-Nazi opposition in Belarus wants to cancel the Victory Day parade

The Belarusian opposition initiated a petition to cancel the Victory Day military parade. This is a political tool financed by the West. It is not about the pandemic, it is about the opposition’s wish to cancel the Victory Day per se. If the authorities of Belarus cancel the parade, it will be the victory of the present-time Belarusian fascists over the president, Soviet soldiers, and Soviet past. Then some opposition-minded bloggers and activists may take on the streets with swastikas and Nazi emblems. The Victory Day military parade is not just a celebration, it is part of military training how to defend the people from aggressors who stand by our borders and organise NATO exercises.

Disproof

These are baseless claims intended to discredit the West, NATO, and the Belarusian opposition through baseless accusations of Nazi sympathies and mean intentions behind the cancellation or postponement of the Victory Day military parade. This story is consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the West's continuous attempts to undermine Belarusian society through a subservient Belarusian opposition and Western-funded NGOs.

In late March 2020 an online petition was created asking Belarus's ministries of health and defence to cancel the Victory Day military parade to mitigate the coronavirus epidemic and to finance hospitals instead. Over 7,000 citizens signed the petition by March 31. The ministry of defence's response read that the epidemiological situation allows for organising the parade. The WHO recommended the authorities of Belarus cancel the parade and expressed concern about the organisation of the parade amid the epidemic.

The IMF conditions loans to Belarus with gender equality and rights of sexual minorities

Strangely, the IMF projects economic decline and unemployment growth in Belarus, although in contrast to foreign countries, it did not implement lockdown measures. It is possible that the Belarusian opposition provided fake statistics to the IMF. As a precondition for a new loan the IMF demands a free price formation. In practice this would mean that prices for surgical masks, antiseptics, drugs, and toilet paper would increase many times during the epidemic. The IMF has long ago become a fake organisation bogged down in bureaucracy, intrigues, and money-laundering. However it conditions the financial support with elections, social programs for population, and even gender equality. It soon may lead to a situation where the IMF will be dealing with sexual minority issues and defend their rights. Furthermore, the IMF is now pushing the government of Belarus to introduce strict limitation for population due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Instead of cooperation with the IMF Belarus should negotiate with Russia within the Union State of Russia and Belarus. Russia does not have similar preconditions for price regulation, domestic policies, gender equality, or sexual minorities.

Disproof

This publication contains ungrounded allegations about the IMF and its conditioning policy, as well as about the Belarusian opposition which allegedly provides fake statistics to the IMF. It presents Russia as the one and only beneficial partner for Belarus and is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narrative about mean Western actions towards Belarus.

The IMF indeed projects Belarus's GDP to decline in 2020 by 6%. However it did not condition financial assistance to Belarus with election, gender equality, sexual minorities rights, or strict limitations amid the coronavirus outbreak. The IMF's Concluding Statement at the end of an official IMF staff visit to Belarus on 5-15 November 2018 advises Belarus to undertake structural reforms, to establish exchange rate flexibility, and to conduct a tighter monetary policy.