Disinfo: The West pursues a Maidan policy towards Belarus to encircle Russia

Summary

EEAS representative Peter Stano demanded that the Belarusian authorities release Siarhei Cikhanouski (Tsikhanouski) and other people. Hence, the collective West named its candidate for the Belarusian presidential elections. NATO countries love Cikhanouski for his participation in protests against modification of the Treaty on Union State between Belarus and Russia.

A number of media outlets, dozens of Telegram channels and other West-financed pro-Maidan structures pursue an information campaign against Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The West is fine with either keeping Lukashenka in power conditioned with his drifting to the West, or with the organisation of complete chaos in Belarus. Belarus has gained the larger attention of global actors after the 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine. Washington is clear about its intention to encircle Russia with an “Anakonda ring”, i.e. to create a belt of adversary states under NATO’s control.

Belarus’s pseudo-neutral status covers up NATO plans to engage it into a military conflict with Russia. In the energy sector, the US plans to tear Belarus away from the Russian oil market. American oil companies extract oil in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan but Russia would deny its transit to Belarus through Russia’s territory. This will provoke strained relations and conflicts between them and Russia.

Disproof

This is mixture of conspiracies consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narratives about NATO's belligerence towards Russia and other countries, Belarusian independent media and political opposition as Western-controlled and Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations. Among other things, the publication mentions a long-standing conspiracy about West's anti-Russia "Anaconda ring" plan aimed to encircle Russia.

On 9 July 2020, EEAS representative Peter Stano indeed made a statement about the detention of popular blogger Siarhei Cikhanouski (Tsikhanouski) arbitrary and urging Belarus's authorities to release him and other activists. Nevertheless, it does not follow that the EU considers Cikhanouski as its presidential candidate as alleged. The claim that NATO countries praise his participation in protests against deeper integration with Russia is groundless.

On 19 June 2020, the EEAS likewise condemned the detention of another Belarusian presidential candidate Viktar Babaryka and his son Eduard and called for their release. "The Belarusian authorities must respect fundamental freedoms and human rights, in line with Belarus’ international commitments. They must refrain from any restrictions of the rights of potential candidates, avoid any detentions of peaceful protesters, and immediately release all arbitrarily detained activists. Reported cases of ill-treatment of persons detained for their involvement in peaceful protests, including Pavel Severinets, are extremely worrying," the EEAS' statement reads.

The article also implicitly claims that the West overthrew former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, which supports another propaganda narrative about the Western-staged coup d'état in Ukraine. In fact, the spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction from several segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013, after pressure from Russia. See the full debunk - The Western-backed coup in Ukraine has torn the country asunder.

As for US-Belarus energy cooperation, a tanker carrying the first shipment of US crude oil to Belarus reached the port of Klaipeda in Lithuania early July. However, the US did not voice its intention to export oil from Azerbaijan or Kazakhstan to Belarus as alleged.

The claim about NATO planning to engage Belarus in a war against Russia is speculation. NATO does not provoke conflicts between sovereign countries and does not plan to wage a war against Russia. "Any claims that NATO is preparing an attack on Russia are absurd," NATO's official website says. NATO is a defensive alliance and does not pose a threat to Russia. Its purpose is to protect its member states. Every country that joins NATO undertakes to uphold its principles and policies, and this includes the commitment that "the Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia," as reaffirmed at the Brussels Summit. For more information about NATO-Russian relations and disinformation narratives about NATO, see here and here.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists make kill lists for Western security bodies, that the pro-Western Belarusian opposition prepares 'kill lists' and genocide, the US global “Anaconda” strategy is to limit the living space of geopolitical opponents, and that the West's objective is to encircle Russia entirely thanks to the "Anaconda ring" and "Great Turan" doctrines.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 203
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus, US
  • Keywords: Union State of Belarus and Russia, Encircling Russia, Alexander Lukashenko, Coup, NATO, Conspiracy, Ukrainian statehood

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Russia has neutralised many Western attempts to topple the Belarusian government

Alyaksandr Lukashenka started a crackdown on dissent because his inner circle convinced him of Russian plans to organise a Maidan. In fact, this is a Western special operation. On the contrary, Belarus held out thanks to its close alliance with Russia. Russia has been continuously neutralising Western attempts to take down Belarusian state authorities.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory consistent with recurring disinformation narratives about Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations.

In the past, Western coutries repeatedly introduced sanctions against Belarusian officials for mass violations of human rights and electoral standards but they have not attempted to stage a colour revolution in Belarus or any other country.

Western historical revisionism aimed at weakening and destroying Russia

A number of Western institutions and persons tend to say dark is bright and to equalise WWII losers with winners. The end goal of such campaigns is to weaken and even destroy Russia. For Russians, their future is at stake in the struggle for historical truth about the victory over Nazism.

Disproof

This message is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narrative about anti-Russian policies of aggressive West. It is also part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism which attempts to portray Russia's role in World War II as non-aggressive and to blame the West for the failure to create an anti-Nazi coalition with the Soviet Union.

The article attempts to minimise and erode the disastrous historical role of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, saying: "In these circumstances, the Soviet Union signed the Non-Aggression Pact with Germany. It was practically the last among the European countries to do so. Besides, it was done in the face of a real threat of war on two fronts – with Germany in the west and with Japan in the east, where intense fighting on the Khalkhin Gol River was already underway."

De jure, Moldova is still part of USSR

De jure, Moldova is still part of the USSR, since its collapse in Belovezhskaya Pushcha by a group of conspirators is illegal. This gives Moldovan citizens full right to consider themselves part of a great multinational country, which they still have to build together.

Disproof

The statement is made in the context of the events commemorating June 28, 1940, when Soviet troops entered the territory of the current Republic of Moldova, at that time part of Romania

Recurring disinformation narrative claiming that former Soviet republics, including the Republic of Moldova, are closer to Russia than to the EU, by virtue of their common past. This narrative is often spread in the association with the narratives about WWII.