Disinfo: West deliberately provokes protests in Belarus through sanctions

Summary

People of Belarus – someone wants to go out (protest) on the streets, but some do not want to. And what is (the West) doing with those who do not want to take to the streets? The West wants to drag them out onto the streets with the help of a sharp deterioration in their quality of life (through sanctions). For this purpose, they pose the problem of the collapse of the (economic) system.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Belarus. The leaders of the European Union and the United States are indeed preparing a new package of sanctions in connection with actions against demonstrators in Belarus. However, the restrictions will not be directed against the population of the country, the sanctions will affect only the top leadership of Belarus, which coordinates and commits violence against peaceful demonstrators.

"The Belarusian regime is not working for the best interests of the Belarusian people. The regime has used ill-gotten wealth to amass and maintain power, through a level of corruption that is all too apparent to those living inside Belarus, not to mention to the rest of the world. And now, after being clearly rejected by his own people, the ruler of Belarus is using violence to maintain his grip on power and relying upon – increasingly upon support from Moscow to prop him up," said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun.

The EU Council is also working to impose personal sanctions against high-ranking Belarusian officials responsible for violence, repression and electoral fraud. This refers to the prohibition of Belarusian officials from entering the European Union and the freezing of their assets in the EU. "We are in the process of adopting sanctions for a substantial number of those responsible for violence, repression and falsification of election results. They are, right now, under examination of the Council working parties with a view to adoption as soon as possible" according to High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell. None of the countries of the European Union, nor the U.S., have anything to do with the mass protests in Belarus: rallies of thousands broke out after Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has ruled for 26 years, declared that he had “won a convincing victory” in the elections. The current protests in Belarus began on the evening of 9 August; to disperse the protesters, the security forces were using rubber bullets, flash grenades, tear gas, shockers and water cannons. On the day of voting, the centre of Minsk was blocked by security forces, whilst communications and the Internet were jammed in the city.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 212
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, US, Belarus
  • Keywords: European Commission, Protest, Alexander Lukashenko, Sanctions
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The West carries out a colour revolution in Belarus and tears away Minsk from Moscow

The West is trying to arrange a new “adventure” in Belarus. The US and the EU want to “tear away” Minsk from Moscow, using the so-called “Ukrainian strategy”, as well as the instruments used during “colour revolutions”.

Disproof

This is part of an ongoing pro-Kremlin 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. The protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential elections in Belarus that took place on the 9 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. There is no evidence that the protests in Belarus are funded and organised externally. Pro-Kremlin media frequently use disinformation narratives about popular protests around the world allegedly incited and funded by the US and other Western states. It has been applied, among others, to protests in Ukraine, Venezuela, Georgia, and Belarus, as well as to present a deceiving narrative on the aggressive West constantly preparing new coups. See similar cases claiming that the protests in Belarus are a colour revolution conducted according to a Maidan scenario and that the West wants to prepare Maidan in Belarus.

Russia doesn't possess Novichok

All stockpiles of the toxic “Novichok” (in Russia) were destroyed and disposed.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group was established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory. In September 2017, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the full destruction of the 39,967 metric tons of chemical weapons possessed by Russia, but Novichoks were never declared to the OPCW and weren’t included in the Chemical Weapons Convention until 2019. The use of multiple and simultaneous versions about an event involving questionable actions by the Russian government or its allies, in order to confound citizens about the actual truth, is a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation strategy, already seen in the cases of the MH17 downing, the illegal annexation of Crimea, the murder attempt against Sergei and Yulia Skripal or chemical attacks in Syria. See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on Alexei Navalny’s poisoning in our database, such as claims that only caffeine and alcohol were found in his blood, that the US wanted to use it to block Nord Stream 2 and Russia’s vaccine against coronavirus, that the West hopes that he dies to have an excuse for new sanctions, or that Western accusations about Navalny’s case are as false as they were about Sergei Skripal and Alexander Litvinenko.

Another reason would be found for sanctions, if there had been no Navalany

If there was no Navalny, they would have come up with another reason to introduce additional sanctions. We are now being asked to confess, we are told: “Don’t you believe the Bundeswehr specialists? How can this be? These conclusions have been confirmed by the French and Swedes. Don’t you believe us?” In Russia one cannot open a criminal case based on hearsay.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, portraying Western governments and institutions as inherently Russophobic and always trying to harm Russia. An unsupported conspiracy claiming that the poisoning of Navalny is a secret project to introduce sanctions on Russia. Prominent Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny fell ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on the 20th of August. Initially hospitalised in Omsk, at the request of his family he was transferred to Charité hospital in Berlin. Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests provided unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny. France and Sweden confirmed that the cause of his illness was Novichok, a Russian nerve agent. Samples taken from Navalny had also been sent for testing to the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. Pro-Kremlin disinformation is trying to link the Navalny poisoning case with various factors - the US' fight against the Russian vaccine, the fight against Nord Stream 2, the fight against Putin to curb his desire to interfere in Belarus’ affairs. See related disinformation cases alleging that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny as with Skripal and Litvinenko; the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia, that the West needed the pretext to open sanctions against Russia, and that there is no evidence Navalny was poisoned, and many questions to be answered on Navalny blood tests in Berlin, and that the Navalny poisoning could be a strategy of the West to introduce anti-Russian sanctions.