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FAKE NEWS: Western interference and undermining the Belarusians’ Russian identity create problems in Minsk

Belarus
©EPA-EFE/STR  |   Belarusian pensioners and medical workers march during a rally to protest against the results of presidential elections in Minsk, Belarus, 02 November 2020.

The West used journalist Roman Protasevich to organize the protests in Belarus, following the model of the “color revolutions”, and these could take place because Lukashenko undermined the Russian identity of the Belarusian people. Such false narratives are promoted by a former Ukrainian officer who fled to Russia, and are part of a discourse designed to maintain Moscow's sphere of influence.

NEWS: “In the summer and fall of 2020, we witnessed an attempted coup in the former Soviet Republic of Belarus (in fact, a historically Russian territory). The “Maidan” in Belarus was based on Kiev’s recipes, taking into account, of course, the local particularities. And it is understandable, why not use the recipes from Kiev - after all, they worked very well in the Middle East, Yugoslavia and post-Soviet Georgia and Armenia. The attempt to organize the Belarusian Maidan was linked to citizens' dissatisfaction with the 26-year rule of Alexander Lukashenko.

Lukashenko is indeed a selfish and cunning leader. He took all power in his own hands, and has often showed his intention to transfer it, as a legacy, to his son. Lukashenko's cunningness was manifested to a large extent in relation to the building of the union state (with the Russian Federation - ed.). Taking advantage of all the benefits and receiving huge material resources from Russia, our “wolf” from Belarus is still looking into the forest and misses no opportunity to emphasize its independence and sovereignty through constant attempts to Belarusize the population of the republic, which is historically Russian and Russian speaking.

Lukashenko pursues, though not so intensely, almost the same policy that led to the civil war and the takeover of power by Russophobes in Ukraine. He replaces Russian toponyms - the Russian names of settlements and streets- with Belarusian ones. The official Belarusian language is even more artificial than Ukrainian. And it was invented only to justify the separation of a certain BSSR from Russia. Just like in Kiev, in modern Minsk, literally everyone speaks Russian, but all the signs, all the stop names are in Belarusian [...]The organizers of the Belarusian Maidan tried to take advantage of these trends by bringing the disappointed to the streets under the slogans of Belarusian nationalism and the white-red-white flag - the flag of anti-Russian separatists and Nazi collaborators. The protest was presented as a people’s rally, as a grassroots initiative.At the same time, all actions were maneuvered entirely from abroad - the main organizers were in Poland and Lithuania and ran Telegram channels and forums on the Internet. Yes, the “truly popular”, “incredible” protest in Belarus had its own organizers and coordinators. As in the case of the Kiev Maidan, protesters in Belarus were openly supported by NATO countries [...] But the leadership of the protest was outside the territory of the post-Soviet republic. The administrators of the internet channels were in Poland, benefiting from Polish funds and protected (as they themselves said) by Polish state security officers. On May 23, one of the main administrators, Roman Protasevich was detained [...] from a legal point of view, everything was done within the strict framework of the law [...]Protasevich is not only the administrator of the extremist channel Telegram, but also an enemy to the Russian people [...] In 2014, he arrived in Ukraine to participate in the punitive operation of the Ukrainian troops in Donbass. He then joined the “Azov” neo-Nazi battalion (an organization recognized as a terrorist one and banned in the Russian Federation - editor's note), in which he activated until 2015. [Later] Roman Protasevich was hired by Radio Liberty, had an internship in Prague and then in the United States.”

NARRATIVES: 1. The protests in Belarus were an attempt to organize a Maidan using the color revolution recipe. 2. The protests were organized by the West through Roman Protasevich, a Russophobic neo-Nazi. 3. The protests were possible because Alexander Lukashenko “belarusized” the country, causing Russophobia. 4. Belarus is historically Russian territory.

LOCAL CONTEXT / ETHOS: “Color revolutions” are an old obsession of the Kremlin, which is worried that victories of pro-democracy movements in the satellite states, on the one hand, will bring those states closer to the West, which offers the model of prosperity brought by liberal democracies, and on the other hand will encourage even the Russians to go out and challenge their own authoritarian regime; it is a double matter of perpetuating the empire and preserving the regime. For this reason, the “color revolutions” are presented as conspiracies masterminded by the West to destabilize various countries in order to bring them under its control.Any pro-democratic movement in the former Soviet space (and not only) is termed by the Kremlin as a “color revolution”, which should mean that, implicitly, they are illegitimate and represent attempts to overthrow power under the coordination of the West. Protests in Belarus broke out following the proclamation of victory in the presidential election of the authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko. The opposition and the West accused him of massive fraud; in fact, Russia was the only major foreign partner of Belarus that recognized the election.Lukashenko, in power since 1994, has been described as “Europe's last dictator.” In the face of criticism from the West, the Minsk leader sought over time to strengthen his relationship with Russia, and in 1996 - 1999 accepted the formation of a “union state” based on the confederation model. Over time, however, Lukashenko has become hesitant and complained that Russia does not consider Belarus an equal partner, even though this was written down in the joint agreement. Many experts say, actually, that the Union project is a strategy for Russia to absorb Belarus. Lukashenko has responded by regularly faking openness towards the West, in order to counterbalance the dependence on Russia, and bringing up the idea of ​​a Belarusian nation. In practice, however, the use of national language and symbols was not encouraged, and that was interpreted by the opposition sympathizers as a form of resistance to the regime.The author of the article is Alexey Selivanov, a former Ukrainian officer who promoted the rapprochement with Russia and fled to that country after the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.

PURPOSE:  The purpose is to present Belarus as a Russian state that is threatened by instability because, on the one hand, it has sought to distance itself from its Russian identity and, on the other hand, it has been the victim of Western interference. The implicit conclusion that emerges here is that stability can only be guaranteed by assuming Russian identity, and Moscow is the only one that can protect Belarus from “NATO aggression”.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The protests in Belarus were a movement in response to election fraud, and protesters focused on the fight against the Lukashenko regime, not against Russia or the rapprochement with the EU. It is a fundamental difference from the Ukrainian Maidan, which had a clearly pro-European dimension and emerged after former President Viktor Yanukovych decided not to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union.Belarusians are not Russians: they are a distinct ethnic group, and the Belarusian language is different from Russian, being, along with it and Ukrainian, part of the group of Eastern Slavic languages. Lukashenko did not undermine the “Russian identity” of Belarusians, on the contrary, he generally sought to discourage Belarusian identity. There has never been a hostile current against Russia and its influence in Belarus, comparable to that in Ukraine (especially in the West) in response to pressure from Moscow not to sign the EU Association Agreement. and, later, the annexation of Crimea and the military and political support for the separatists in Donbass.As for Roman Protasevich, during the protests in Belarus he was the editor of the Telegram channel NEXTA, which reported to a wide audience on demonstrations and the brutal reaction of the regime; therefore, he did not organize but report, which is what journalism does, an activity he had to carry out outside the country precisely because of the repressive nature of the Lukashenko regime. The statement that Protasevich fought in the “AZOV” battalion is fake news that Veridica has already written about here.

Propaganda de Razboi
  • Publication / Media:
    REN TV
  • Date of publication:
    25/05/2021
  • Target audience:
    Audiences in Russia and Belarus
  • Amplification:
    za-russ.ru, novoross.info, tehnowar.ru
  • Key narrative:
    Western interference and undermining the Belarusians’ Russian identity create problems in Minsk
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  • The West used journalist Roman Protasevich to organize the protests in Belarus, following the model of the “color revolutions”, and these could take place because Lukashenko undermined the Russian identity of the Belarusian people. Such false narratives are promoted by a former Ukrainian officer who fled to Russia, and are part of a discourse designed to maintain Moscow's sphere of influence.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. The protests in Belarus were an attempt to organize a Maidan using the color revolution recipe. 2. The protests were organized by the West through Roman Protasevich, a Russophobic neo-Nazi. 3. The protests were possible because Alexander Lukashenko “belarusized” the country, causing Russophobia. 4. Belarus is historically Russian territory.
  • PURPOSE: The purpose is to present Belarus as a Russian state that is threatened by instability because, on the one hand, it has sought to distance itself from its Russian identity and, on the other hand, it has been the victim of Western interference. The implicit conclusion that emerges here is that stability can only be guaranteed by assuming Russian identity, and Moscow is the only one that can protect Belarus from “NATO aggression”.
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