Disinfo: What is happening in Minsk is primarily a Polish project

Summary

What is happening in Minsk is primarily a Polish project. Warsaw is behind the ongoing protests of its neighbours, it provides political and media support to the leaders of the Belarusian opposition. The result, however, is impressive in an exclusively negative sense: only the phenomenon of “President Sveta” (this is how Svyatlana Tsikhanoeskaya’s instagram is called) can serve as an example of how not to do it as political technology.

Disproof

This is a pro-Kremlin narrative about Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus. It accuses Poland of planning to intervene in the domestic affairs of Belarus, which is a severe violation of the principles of diplomacy and international relations. The protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential election in Belarus on the 9th of 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. Poland respects the principles of international law and does not intervene in the domestic affairs of any country. Poland has repeatedly denied such accusations. On 11 September, at a meeting of the Visegrad Group, Poland again called on the Belarusian government to stop grossly violating the rights of its own people. “We all agree that free elections should be held in Belarus. We call for the release of all political prisoners,” said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Reports that Poland is allegedly "preparing a coup d'etat" in Belarus appeared after the Presidents of Lithuania and Poland, called for Belarusian authorities to respect democratic standards and stop violence and repression against participants in mass protests. Belarusian politicians who had to flee the country have to meet with foreign representatives abroad because of the current wave of political repressions in Belarus. See other examples of similar messages: Poland presented a plan of active interference in the domestic affairs of Belarus, Polish special services destabilise the situation in Belarus, or Protests in Belarus are driven by Americans from the center near Warsaw, Poland openly interferes in domestic affairs of Belarus.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 213
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Poland, Belarus
  • Keywords: Protest, Colour revolutions, Sovereignty, Elections
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It is impossible to recover from a Novichok poisoning

It is impossible for a person poisoned by Novichok to recover, which indicates the existence of a plot against Russia.

Disproof

The story is part of an emerging web of counter-narratives designed to confuse Western public opinion and deny Moscow's involvement in the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. This argument follows a recurring Kremlin pattern of denying that Navalny was poisoned and that Moscow had anything to do with it. In this case, the argument is that Novichok is only a lethal military-grade nerve agent and that the result is always death. However, we know that Novichok is a highly toxic nerve agent that slows the heart, paralyses the muscles used for breathing and — if the dose is big enough — can lead to death by asphyxiation. A smaller dose may result in seizures, neuromuscular weakness, liver failure and other damage. This has been presented in various other reports here, here, and here. So, Novichok does not necessarily lead to the death of everyone who came in contact with it. Furthermore, Navalny's coma was medically induced and did not constitute a symptom of poisoning. Several other confirmed Novichok victims were put in a coma and subsequently regained consciousness. In 1987 Andrey Zheleznyakov, a researcher attached to the Soviet chemical warfare programme, suffered an accidental exposure to a Novichok-type compound. The accident left him permanently disabled but alive for another six years. In March 2018, Russian ex-spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yuliya fell victim to poisoning in Salisbury but recovered with intensive medical care as did a police officer who had been exposed when he visited their home to investigate. The UK authorities established that the assassination attempt had been carried out by two Russian intelligence operatives using Novichok. The following June, two individuals in Amesbury, England were accidentally exposed to Novichok contained in a fake perfume bottle. One of the victims survived. It should be further noted that, like most other chemical weapons, Novichok was not developed with the individual assassination in mind. Marc-Michael Blum, former head of the OPCW Laboratory, explains that "these substances are designed for the mass destruction of enemy personnel during the war," and are thus "not reliable enough" if used to kill one, specific individual in peacetime conditions. In other words, it cannot be ruled out that Navalny was poisoned by Novichok simply because he survived the ordeal and regained consciousness. Read similar disinformation messages alleging that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia, that only traces of alcohol and caffeine were found in Navalny's blood, that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko or that US used Navalny case to block Russian vaccine against COVID-19.

Ukraine will present another propaganda film about Donbas at the Oscars

Ukraine will send “Atlantis”, a propaganda film about Donbas, as a contender for an Oscar in the category of best foreign language film. The plot of the film depicts the events of 2025, when Ukraine allegedly defeats Russia in a war for Donbas. As a result, the region comes under the control of Kyiv, but the territory is declared uninhabitable. In the film, the roles are played by non-professional actors – mainly militants who fought in the Donbas, volunteers and supporters of the criminal regime.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Oscar Committee has nominated the drama "Atlantis" directed by Valentin Vasyanovich for the "International Feature Film" Oscar of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In September 2019, the Ukrainian dystopian drama won the Best Film in the Horizons program at the 76th Venice Film Festival. In August 2020, Atlantis was selected for a long list of European Film Awards. The article repeats pro-Kremlin narratives about the war in Ukraine that Russia is not a side of the conflict there and about "criminal regime" in Ukraine who grabbed the power in 2014 after the coup d'etat. The war in eastern Ukraine is not a West-driven civil conflict but a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014. The EU has condemned the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014. Read similar cases claiming that there is no evidence of Russian presence in Ukraine, that rumours about Russian military presence in Donbas come from linguistic misunderstanding, or that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia and that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine.

USA destroys Ukrainian identity

The US is purposefully destroying the local population of Ukraine, carrying out its complete Americanisation. In the ’90s the Soros Foundation was registered for the first time in Ukraine, and it began churning out a new managerial, intellectual, literary, pseudo-intellectual and teaching elite for the country. For thirty years of Ukraine’s independence, they managed to do everything, visit everywhere and reform everything. Crushing everyone and everything, they educated their cadres, and by 2014 prepared the ground for taking over control of all resources in the country, which, in principle, happened. Since 2014, Ukraine has lost its sovereignty, all the levels of control were and are with people with foreign passports.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the US, the American billionaire and the philanthropist George Soros, presenting him as a person who aims to control political systems in countries around the world, and Ukraine as well. Ukraine is a sovereign and independent state with a democratically-elected president and parliament. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by almost the whole world. The EU and the US work closely with Ukraine. George Soros did found the "Open Society Foundation", inspired by Karl Popper’s concept of the “open society”, which aims to promote civil society, the rule of law, human rights and liberal democracy around the world by funding civil society groups. The International Renaissance Foundation is a Ukrainian NGO founded by Soros; it played an important role in supporting civil society during the Euromaidan protests. The foundation ensured that legal aid was made available throughout the crisis to civic activists, protesters, and journalists; supplied victims of violence with medical care; enabled civil society solidarity and organisation; supported channels like Hromadske TV in independent, live reporting about events on the Maidan; and documented cases of torture, beatings, and police and abuse by the courts. However this in no way can be linked to taking control of a society or country. See previous cases alleging that George Soros will buy all banks and land in Ukraine and that he will soon gain control of the country.