Disinfo: West-financed environmental NGOs in Belarus stage a big campaign against Rosatom and Russia

Summary

In Belarus, there is a large network of Western and West-financed NGOs which conduct subversive activities against Belarus-Russia relations. An example of far-reaching anti-Russian goals of environmental initiatives is a campaign against the construction of the Astravets nuclear power plant, which is built by Rosatom. Environmental activists argue that the NPP will discourage salmons spawning in its vicinity because of increased river temperature as a result of the nuclear reactor cooling. The contours of a big campaign against Rosatom and Russia are drawn on these assumptions.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy consistent with a number of Belarus-related pro-Kremlin narratives about West's continuous attempts to disrupt Belarus-Russia relations including through financing Belarusian opposition and NGOs. The claim that the public campaign against the Astravets NPP is built around the salmon spawning argument is misleading because negative impact for wildlife is just one among a number of other, often more serious arguments against the NPP construction including the station's potential technological vulnerabilities. These arguments were provided by environmentalists years ago (see 2010 assessment) and some of them continue to be voiced (see April 2019 publication) at present. The February 2019 draft decision of the Meeting of the Parties of the Espoo Convention acknowledged that Belarus had failed to comply with some Convention provisions and encouraged Belarus and Lithuania to continue bilateral expert consultations. It also expressed regret that Belarus failed to provide the Committee with the information regarding the justification of the selection of the Astravets site over the alternatives.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 154
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/06/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Belarus, Russia
  • Keywords: West, Nuclear issues, Anti-Russian, Conspiracy theory
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In Germany there is a longstanding campaign to discredit Russian media

In Germany, there has been a longstanding campaign to discredit Russian information sources, structures and organisations like Sputnik or Russia Today. Representatives of the local political establishment and professional journalist associations are taking part in this campaign.

Disproof

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert reacted to accusations that had spoken of a state campaign against Russian foreign media in Germany. "Anyone who makes such absurd allegations in the world has little knowledge of Germany and little idea of freedom of the press," said government spokesman Seibert. In the past, various and numerous German media and the German Journalists' Association [DJV] have criticised individual Russian broadcasters for the way they work. The head of the German Journalists' Association, Frank Überall, commented on the accusations in a press release issued: "There is no campaign against Russian foreign media in Germany, only unanimous criticism from different sides of their working methods." In November 2016, the European Parliament adopted a comprehensive resolution defining the European Union's "strategy to combat EU propaganda". The EU notes that media such as Sputnik or RT poses a threat. Similar cases: UN resolution is yet another act of the West's anti-Russian campaign, RT faces repression in the US and it will lose its status as a media, The official News Agency of Slovakia (TASR) suspended the cooperation with Sputnik News as a result of pressures from the Slovak government. Further reading:

The Russian delegation was not invited to the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II because of the Russian ban on the imports of Polish apples

Polish anti-Soviet and anti-Russian hysteria peaked in Warsaw’s refusal to invite the Russian delegation to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. This is strange because other Soviet republics including Belarus received an invitation. All Soviet countries share responsibility for the crimes of Communism but in the end, it is only Russia that is blamed. The real reason behind Warsaw’s decision not to extend an invitation to Russia is not the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, but rather the Russian ban on the imports of Polish apples.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the West's anti-Russian actions. Poland's decision not to invite the Russian delegation to the commemoration ceremony has nothing to do with either the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact or the Russian ban on imports of Polish apples. According to Krzysztof Szczerski, an aide to the Polish president, Russia was not invited to the events in September 2019 because of its aggressive actions in Ukraine. Szczerski stated that the anniversary ceremony will be held “in the company of countries with whom Poland now cooperates closely for peace based on the respect for international law, for the sovereignty of nations and of their territories.” See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Russia introduced passport controls at the border with Belarus because of European fraud in food exports, and that Poland attempts to destroy the world order by not inviting Russia to commemorate the start of WWII.

Mueller's investigation did not prove Russian interference in the US elections

We saw a two-year investigation in the United States, the Muller inquiry. It was supposed to find the so-called Russian interference in the US elections, and the inquiry’s result was nil.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Robert Mueller's investigation concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Mueller's report determined that there were "two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election". It led to US senators' proposals to extend sanctions on Russia to deter it from further election meddling. See similar disinformation cases here.