Disinfo: Western hybrid war against Belarus is a preparation of attack against Russia

Summary

The Belarusian crisis is partly provoked by external interference with the hybrid war methods. In the light of ongoing information war, the West, though it conducts hybrid aggression against Belarus, is presented as a good player, whereas Russia is presented as a threat to Belarus’s sovereignty despite Russian assistance to the Belarusian state. Poland-located information centres which manage the Belarusian protests are among manifestations of Western aggressive actions. They result in an outbreak of violence, political destabilisation and undermined Belarusian economy. It is clear that relocation of US and NATO troops to Lithuania and Poland, Navalny poisoning and upcoming anti-Russian sanctions are parts of a chain. The US wishes to establish a cordon sanitaire around Russia and needs Belarus as a missing link to put a collar over Russia. The current hybrid war against Belarus is an exploration of attack against Russia. Given the external threat, the Union State of Belarus and Russia may, on the contrary, be activated. The Belarusian coup organisers will likely reach the opposite effect: Instead of tearing Belarus away from Russia, they will push the integration of the two countries forward. Belarus’s aspiration towards sovereignty was cynically tramped by the West. If needed, additional Russian military objects will be stationed in Belarus. Warsaw, Vilnius, and their Western suzerains should have no doubt about it.

Disproof

This publication promotes recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narratives about Belarusian protests as being organised and controlled from abroad, particularly from Poland and Lithuania, about Western attempts to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations in general and the development of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, in particular, and about Poland and Lithuania as US's puppets. The publication also implicitly accuses the West of Navalny poisoning by conspiring that it was just one in a series of actions to disrupt Belarus-Russia relations. There are no proofs of West's implication in Navalny poisoning. Read our past analyses "Fifty ways to kill Navalny" and "Let's laugh at political murder!" explaining how pro-Kremlin media explain the case of Navalny poisoning, including through humour and ridicule. There is no evidence that Poland, Lithuania or any other Western governments including the US are involved in any way in the protests in Belarus. The European Council condemned the violence against peaceful protesters and announced that it would soon adopt a list of sanctions for those responsible for violence in Belarus. "As the elections in Belarus were neither free nor fair, and did not meet international standards, the EU does not recognize the results presented by the Belarus authorities," is mentioned in a European Council press release. However, the Western countries did not interfere in Belarus's domestic affairs leaving along a "hybrid war" mentioned in the publication. The large-scale Belarusian protests began in Minsk on August 9 against the results of the presidential election, and then in other cities. People revolted against election fraud and police violence towards thousands of rally participants. The US and NATO did not increase their military presence near the Belarusian borders following the elections. On 16 August, NATO dismissed allegations that it was conducting a military buildup near the country’s western border. Lithuania and Poland are independent states, which shape their own foreign and domestic policies. The US is an important ally to the EU but EU policy is not determined by the US, as explained by the EU High Representative. See earlier disinformation cases claiming that the EU is trying to disrupt Belarus-Russia relations, that the West's only interest in Belarus is to make it anti-Russian, and that the US keeps Poland on a short anti-Russian leash.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 212
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Poland, US, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia
  • Keywords: Union State of Belarus and Russia, Hybrid war, Anti-Russian, Alexei Navalny, Conspiracy theory, Coup
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Destabilisation of Belarus and ousting of Lukashenko was planned in US embassy in Ukraine

A task force was created in the US embassy in Kyiv. Its main goal was to destabilise Belarus and to overthrow Lukashenko. The first grants were given to achieve this. [They were used] in blocking the Belarusian embassy in Kyiv, the adoption of a resolution by the [Verkhovna] Rada on the non-recognition of the election results, and in recalling the Ukrainian ambassador to Belarus.

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. There is no evidence that the US or Ukraine is trying to destabilise the situation in Belarus. US and Ukraine both support the independence and territorial integrity of Belarus and they do not have any political claims. 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. Read similar disinformation cases: The Baltic States and Poland are blowing Belarus up from the inside, Ukrainian militants are staying in Belarus to carry out a coup d'etat, in Belarus, there are signs of a colour revolution, but hybrid one.

Allegations of Navalny's poisoning are a concerted Western effort against Russia

What we are seeing regarding the allegations surrounding Navalny is a part and parcel of an ongoing, concerted, and vicious campaign against Russia, because Russia is a superpower and that’s what the Americans and the British loathe.

Disproof

The claim advances recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the poisoning of activist Alexei Navalny, and Western Russophobia. There are no grounds for connecting either the US or the UK to Navalny's poisoning. The activist fell ill on a 20 August flight from Siberia to Moscow. Initially hospitalized in Omsk, he was transferred to the Charité hospital in Berlin at the request of his family. Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests revealed the presence of a Novichok-type nerve agent in Navalny's blood. Polluting Western media environments with multiple contradictory narratives of a given event is an established strategy of pro-Kremlin media outlets. See here for an overview of, and similarities between, Russian disinformation campaigns surrounding the 2018 Skripal poisoning and the 2020 Navalny poisoning.

Maidan in Belarus, like Euromaidan, is directed against Russia

By its goals and objectives, Belomaidan is no different from the Euromaidan, and is directed against Russia and the Russian population of Belarus (which is an absolute majority).

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about colour revolutions and Belarus. The protests in Belarus are not directed against Russia. People of Belarus took to the streets after a presidential elections 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 or are directed against Russia or the Russian speaking population in Belarus. The objectives of the protests are set forth by the Coordination Council of Belarus opposition. They include: an end to political persecution of citizens, the release of all political prisoners, the annulment of the 9 August presidential election results, the need to hold new elections based on international standards. Euromaidan too was not directed against Russia. It was a spontaneous protest against the decision of President Viktor Yanukovych not to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union. The protesters' demands included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, early presidential elections and an end to violence. 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.