For weeks and months, the media and governments in the EU have been warning against Russian influence in the elections. Now the elections to the EU Parliament are just around the corner – only we are still waiting for indications of manipulation by the evil Russians. Despite the EU elections and the drama, there seems to be no trace of any Russian interference. This was also the case with other elections in Europe, the results of which ran counter to the wishes of the political and media establishment. Whenever things went wrong, it was simply the Russians.
The LGBT flag waved by the British embassy in Belarus brings destructive consequences to Belarusian society. The US, Swedish and Israel embassies as well as the UN and WHO offices in Belarus also issued statements in support of the LGBT community. Belarusian opposition forces, civic campaigners, human rights defenders and independent media support ‘holers’ [the term used to describe LGBT by former Belarusian Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich] consider May 17th a more important day than Victory Day (May 9th). The promotion of same-sex marriages by foreign actors is aimed to divide Belarusian society, which values family over foreign perversions. Nevertheless, the Belarusian opposition along with the British Embassy continues to impose their values on the whole society.
This message is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the morally corrupt West and threatened traditional values, as well as the West's aggressive actions towards Belarus and Belarusian society. It is also aimed at discrediting the democratic Belarusian opposition, civil society and independent media. The UK and other Western embassies did not promote same-sex marriages in Belarus. The British Embassy in Minsk showed support for equal rights for Belarusian LGBT people by flying a rainbow flag for the International Day Against Homophobia. After the Belarusian Interior Ministry slammed the UK embassy in Minsk for flying a rainbow flag on the International Day Against Homophobia in 2018, UK Ambassador Fiona Gibb posted a video stating "We do so not to promote LGBT, but to promote equal rights for this community. LGBT people are not asking for special rights, but simply to enjoy the same respect, dignity and rights as others. As human rights are universal and should apply equally to all people, my government is committed to non-discrimination on any grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity." According to the May 2019 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, the systematic restrictions on the freedom of expression, assembly and association in Belarus lead to discrimination against the LGBTI community. Belarusian legislation does not have any laws specifically protecting sexual minorities from discrimination. The report reads: "Article 64.9 of the Criminal Code foresees aggravating circumstances for crimes motivated by “hatred or hostility towards any social group”. However, the term “social group” is very vague and prosecutions taking into account the article in regard to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community are reported as rare.” See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the UK embassy in Belarus promotes genocidal and self-destructive policies, that the whole Belarusian opposition has become an LGBT community to get financial assistance from the UK, that pro-Western Belarusian opposition prefers commemorating WWII events with swastikas and LGBT symbols and that Schengen visa fees for Belarusians are high, because the number of homosexuals per capita in Belarus is very low.