(Bela)Ru(s)sian propaganda: three key ways to discredit Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

(Bela)Ru(s)sian propaganda: three key ways to discredit Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

The misogyny of Russian propaganda is on the march

AFP / SCANPIX
07.10.2020 Andrei Yeliseyeu

Belarusian and Russian TV channels build on the fabricated results of the elections and completely ignore the real results that indicate the Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s victory. They proclaim her a weak-willed toy in the hands of Western puppeteers, invent conspiracy theories about Tikhanovskaya’s malicious plans, and spread slander and outright insults against her.

A housewife in the hands of Western puppeteers

The presentation of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as a dependent figure, a protege of Western puppeteers, is a classic technique of pro-Kremlin and Belarusian state propaganda. For many years, the pro-Kremlin media have been using this technique to discredit all objectionable politicians and countries. Alexei Navalny, Poland, the Baltic countries, and Ukraine are just pawns in the game of Western men, the Anglo-Saxons, Washington, the CIA, Soros, and others like them. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has now taken her place in this long line.

Of course, neither the Belarusian nor the Russian state television channels made the slightest attempt to deal with the topic of the enormous falsifications of the Belarusian elections. They did not study the academic publications, which, based on the analysis of available election protocols, come to the conclusion that, in fact, Alexander Lukashenko, at best, obtained a result similar to that of Tikhanovskaya in the elections. At worst, he lost to her in the first round.

The electoral superiority of Tikhanovskaya among residents of Belarusian cities is beyond doubt. The results of honest election commissions in Belarusian cities indicate that Lukashenko in Brest, Zhlobin, Lida, and Minsk barely gained 30%, and even only 20%. (At one polling station in the Minsk microdistrict Novaya Borovaya he scored only 5%, while Tikhanovskaya received 90%.) However, the Zubr database contains, among other things, official protocols on polling stations from rural areas of eastern Belarus, where Tikhanovskaya only occasionally trailed Lukashenko, and in some cases even surpassed him in votes.

In no way taking into account the real results of the elections, the propaganda, following the Belarusian CEC, firmly proclaims Lukashenko the winner with Tikhanovskaya remaining only an insignificant ex-candidate whose popularity is supposedly beginning to be inflated by the West in order to interfere in Belarusian affairs.

“A Polish political television series with the housewife Tikhanovskaya,” “a protege of Morawiecki,” “Polish advisors” – this is how one Belarus Channel 1 television story describes the relationship between Warsaw and the most popular Belarusian politician.

“The support of the impostor is direct proof for those who doubt that the West is interfering in the internal affairs of Belarus in the most shameless manner,” the report says. “One can only guess what she is pumped up with or what psychological trainings are being conducted with her.”

Bela(Russian) TV channels also consistently misconstrue the story of Tikhanovskaya’s departure to Lithuania. As is known, she left the country under pressure from the Belarusian special services. However, this incident is interpreted by Belarusian television as “an escape from voters to Lithuania.”

One of the “newspeaks” that the Bela(Russian) propaganda has fallen in love with is Tikhanovskaya’s “Guaidization.” Through it, the West will plunder Belarus, as it did with the Venezuelan politician Juan Guaido, explained Russian commentator Alexei Mukhin on ONT:

“She will sign certain payment orders, pretend that she controls things and receive at her disposal those assets and funds that she can find that belong to the Republic of Belarus. That is, in essence, we are talking about the theft of yet another state in the center of Europe.”

However, even against the background of Guaido, Tikhanovskaya looks dull, the “united” propaganda details. “An empty look and the inability to read text even from a piece of paper is shocking… God forbid that we entrust 9.5 million Belarusian lives in her hands,” one story from Belarus Channel 1 worries. The fact that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, unlike Lukashenko, in addition to Russian speaks quite confidently in Belarusian and English, the propagandists assiduously keep silent on.

Harmful Activities: Calls for Sanctions and Military Action

Both Belarusian and Russian state television channels repeatedly manipulate the topic of Western sanctions against Belarusian authorities. Both television presenters and carefully selected guests mix sanctions against the population with targeted restrictive measures against specific officials and security officials responsible for electoral fraud and repression.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya not only did not call for the imposition of sanctions against Belarusian state enterprises and sectors of the economy, but in no way did she call for any aggressive military actions.

Still, Evgeny Pustovoy from the STV channel lies on a large scale: “Tikhanovskaya herself did not understand what was put into her mouth, and this dish was noticeably already chewed and poisoned. With her lips she called the world elite to military intervention, called for an intervention in Belarus… And if we put aside journalistic epithets and cheap diplomatic coquetry, then Tihanovskaya suggested bombing Belarus, specifically bombing.”

This propaganda ploy about Tikhanovskaya’s allegedly aggressive intentions towards Belarus and its people naturally stems from the above-described practice regarding “Western puppeteers.” After all, if the inhuman West is supposedly directing her, then it is projecting its aggression onto the Belarusian leader.

“For the Western elites, the people of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Ukraine are not quite human, and they can be bombed and destroyed,” says STV in one of its weekly news releases, frightening the Belarusian audience with plans for a “color revolution.”

ONT echoes this to the fullest: “When they provoke the revolution in Ukraine, Georgia, and Serbia no one thinks about the Ukrainians, Georgians, and Serbs. We’re talking about billions, and those who helped get their cut.”

Direct insults: Idiot and an IQ like an orangutan

Margarita Simonyan, who compared the mental abilities of the Belarusian leader with an orangutan, set the tone for Bela(Russian) propagandists with the use of obvious slander and insults towards Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in the August edition of 60 Minutes on Russia’s Channel 1 television station, referencing “garbage” Telegram channels:

“It is completely incomprehensible why the West should choose the biggest freak possible… The leak came through Telegram, that her [Tikhanovskaya] IQ was 82. This is slightly higher than that of an orangutan.”

Subsequently, Belarusian television channels generously devoted their airtime to various Russian “experts” who continued this line. Commenting on one of the women’s marches in Minsk and the “hysteria of pregnant schoolgirls,” propagandist Armen Gasparyan, who in August sharply shifted from being an expert on Ukraine to an expert on Belarus, said:

“The people who organized this, in terms of intellectual development, are not far off from Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who is increasingly known as a teleprompter woman. Because she herself cannot even put together two sentences without getting lost.”

However, not only carefully selected television guests, but also their hosts, do not shy away from insults.

“It is quite possible, contrary to the main principles of democracy, to appoint any idiot president of the country, and somebody – for whose members no one voted at all – a representative of the people,” one host said on an STV report.

Among all the Belarusian television channels, it is STV that allows itself the dirtiest tricks and the most conspiratorial, manipulative, and false statements. Grigory Azarenok discredits civic activists and hundreds of thousands of Belarusian protesters in his news program The Week like this:

“It is possible to list the representatives of this panopticon for a long time: a hellish mixture of Nazis, shape-shifters, housewives, gays, lesbians, drug addicts, freaks, militants, alcoholics, criminals, scoundrels, and crooks.”

In the same program, Azarenok claims that the Belarusian authorities are not opposed by the Belarusian people and not even by Poland and Ukraine, but by the global “deep state” waging a mystical and spiritual war against Lukashenko.
Throughout this story, attention is drawn not only to thinly veiled lies and rudeness, but also to outright misogyny and hatred of a woman who was able to resist the entire state machine; to women who have found the courage to protest.

However, this is nothing surprising. After all, the “patriarchy” is one of the traditional values, one of the bonds that are promoted by Russian propaganda and adherents of the “Russian world.” Now this “value” is shining in full in the Belarusian official media.

Материал доступен на русском языке: (Бело)русская пропаганда: три основных способа дискредитации Светланы Тихановской