Disinfo: US hybrid war on Belarus allows Russia to “pull a Crimea” in the former Soviet Republic

Summary

The US Hybrid War on Belarus is at risk of backfiring after the ongoing Colour Revolution has thus far failed to depose Lukashenko amid his dangerous saber-rattling with NATO created the opportunity for Russia to “pull a Crimea” in the former Soviet Republic.

Disproof

This is part of an ongoing Russian disinformation campaign on Belarus based on recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives, such as accusing other countries of interference and portraying popular protests against electoral fraud in the country as a Western-led colour revolution. No evidence is provided to support any of the claims.

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.

On 19 August 2020 the European Council called Belarus's elections neither free nor fair.

See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives in Belarus, such as claims that the EU reaction to Lukashenko’s victory is an example of Western double standards; that the same lack of democracy and repression is present in EU countries that criticise Minsk; that the arrest of Russian mercenaries in Belarus was a Ukrainian provocation, and the Ukrainian secret services may have planned terrorist attacks in Belarusian territory; that the West wants to prepare another Maidan in the country; or that Belarusians, Ukrainians and Russians are one single nation.

The illegal annexation of Crimea was a violation of international law.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 208
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/08/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, US
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Hybrid war, Colour revolutions, Vladimir Putin, Crimea

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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Poland presented a plan of active interference in the domestic affairs of Belarus

One day before Pompeo’s visit to Poland, Prime Minister Morawiecki announced a five-point plan of increased Polish interference in the domestic affairs of Belarus. After Pompeo’s visit, Belarusian opposition member Valery Tsepkala stated that soon, he would have a secret meeting in Warsaw with a high-ranking representative of Washington. It means that the capital of Poland will become a contact point between the US intelligence, American state civil servants and the anti-system opposition from Belarus.

Disproof

This is a classic pro-Kremlin narrative about Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations. It accuses Poland of a plan to intervene in the domestic affairs of Belarus, which is a severe violation of the principles of diplomacy and international relations.

On August 14, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki presented the so-called “Solidarity Plan”, which is aimed at supporting Belarusian society, which faces harsh repressions from the side of the Belarusian authorities. This Plan has five components – support for people facing political repressions; a scholarship programme; better access to the Polish labour market; support to independent media; support to Belarusian NGOs. These steps have no connection to the alleged “active interference in the domestic affairs of Belarus”. Poland respects the principles of international law and does not intervene in the domestic affairs of any country.

Belarus means “White Russia” and White Russians identify themselves as culturally Russian

The West is trying to engineer popular opinion in Belarus towards a “color revolution,” fairly obviously. But they are on a sticky wicket. Western Ukraine was genuinely enthusiastic to move towards the west and the EU, in the hope of attaining a consumer lifestyle. Outside of central Minsk, there is very little such sentiment in Belarus. Most important of all, Belarus means “White Russia,” and the White Russians very strongly identify themselves as culturally Russian.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the all-Russian nation and Russian world/civilisation, and Western attempts to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations.

Belarus is a sovereign state with a strong national and cultural identity.

Ukraine and Belarus are within Moscow’s rightful sphere of influence

Russian leaders have reason to regard Ukraine and Belarus as being within Moscow’s rightful sphere of influence. Indeed, those two nations are within Russia’s core security zone, and the Kremlin will likely go to great lengths to prevent an even bigger NATO military presence on its borders than the one that exists now.

Disproof

Both Ukraine and Belarus are independent countries and not subject to "spheres of influence" of foreign powers. International law excludes the concept of "spheres of interests".

See related disinformation cases on Belarus.