The Belarusian and Russian state media agenda on Belarusian events was synchronized within three weeks after the elections, but since then it has been situationally corrected. Moreover, it has been brought down to Earth for the apologists of anti-Western propaganda and conspiracy theories.
The information sovereignty of Belarus has been surrendered
Belarus’s informational sovereignty has ended. In the Concept of Information Security adopted in March 2019, the state is assigned the inalienable and exclusive rule of law to independently determine the rules for managing, using, and directing national information resources; to implement an independent internal state information policy; to form a national information infrastructure; and to ensure information security.
Following an accelerated synchronization of the Belarusian state media agenda with pro-Kremlin media, there has been neither an independent determination of rules for managing and directing national information resources nor an independent information policy since the end of August. Not only is national information infrastructure not being formed, it is being consistently demolished through repressions against professional independent media, thereby clearing the space for greater influence of Russian media.
“What will we eat tomorrow? That is the question. Some people think that everything falls from the sky. No, all this is earned with these hands,”
Belarusian Information Minister Igor Lutskiy said in a recent report on the Belarus 1 television channel against a background of flags from the Russian political association National Liberation Movement (NOD), the Soviet Union, and official Belarusian flags. It is difficult to come up with a more explicit picture of the surrender of national information security.
In light of the destruction of an independent internal information policy, a radical change in the selection of talking heads on state television and online media took place back in August. Now, in most cases, Belarusian events are interpreted not by local “court” commentators, but by Russian, Ukrainian, and sometimes representatives of other countries. Many have not been to Belarus and have a completely distorted and remote idea about Belarus and current events.
Armen Gasparyan, Alexander Sosnovsky, Vladimir Kornilov and other propagandists and conspiracy theorists, who for years “handled” the Ukrainian direction of media propaganda, have quickly become leading experts on Belarus and frequent guests of not only Russian, but also Belarusian television channels.
Top 10 propaganda narratives up until September
By the end of August, almost all the main propaganda narratives on Belarusian state and pro-Kremlin television stations became identical:
- The Belarusian protests are organized and coordinated by the West using the methods of “color revolutions.” Poland, Lithuania, and other Western countries (U.S., Great Britain, Czech Republic, etc.) are destabilizing Belarus. Nexta and other Telegram channels are controlled and managed by the special services of Poland and other Western countries.
- The aggressive West interferes in Belarusian internal affairs and wants to undermine Belarusian-Russian relations and use the country as an anti-Russian platform.
- NATO is intensively building up its military potential on the borders of Belarus, primarily in Poland, and may organize military provocations, including the use of fighters. Warsaw wants to take Belarus under its control or, at least, take the Grodno region.
- Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Belarusian opposition, and the Coordination Council are Western puppets who take anti-Russian positions.
- The Belarusian opposition plans to sever all ties with Russia, banish the Russian language, and convert Belarusians into the fold of the Belarusian Orthodox Autocephalous Church.
- Historical national symbols (the white-red-white flag and Pahonija coat of arms) are collaborationist pro-fascist / pro-Nazi.
- The sovereignty of Belarus and its development is possible only through a close alliance with Russia. Russia will protect Belarus from the belligerent West by any means.
- The so-called “peaceful protests” are anything but. Protesters are often under the influence of alcohol and drugs and have a criminal record. Opposition supporters threaten officials and law enforcement agencies.
- The countries of the European Union and the United States are suffering from riots and police violence (Berlin, Malmö, etc.), but prefer to keep silent about it and interfere in Belarusian affairs.
- The news of the excessive use of force and torture by security forces is fake.
By the beginning of September, Belarusian and Russian media reports on the events in Belarus differed only in some features of the presentation of information and only slightly differed in content. Thus, Russian state-owned television channels remain somewhat more liberal and, while promoting a well-defined principal line, nevertheless provide limited space for “alternative opinions.”
Some holders of “alternative opinions,” for example, denied that 80% of votes were for Lukashenko, however typically preferred to declare that he apparently won the majority anyway. State television stations in Belarus do not allow themselves such leeway and did not question Lukashenko’s 80% at all.
Tweaking of the “refueler” of protests
Propaganda narratives and mainstream media messages, although few, are constantly changing. Thus, the conspiracy theories about the external organization of Belarusian protests have slowly but surely shifted towards the anti-American position since the end of August.
In the second half of August, Belarusian and Russian propaganda advantageously ran stories about the leadership of Poland and Lithuania in the “destabilization of Belarus,” while the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Great Britain, Latvia, and sometimes the U.S. performed more of a secondary role.
To date, the main organizers of the Belarusian protests have been designated the United States, American special services, and the powerful Soros, while the EU countries neighboring Belarus are labeled their shameful “mediator satellites.”
Three of four foreign commentators on Belarusian events (including RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan) the week before last ran stories on the television channel STV about the destabilizing actions of the United States and two of them talked about Soros funding. The scale of this in the interpretation of individual “experts” is truly immense. The propagandist-conspiracy theorist Sosnovsky, who had been “soaking” Ukraine for years and then quickly reoriented towards Belarus, talked on ONT about “Soros’s fist” and $6 billion that were allegedly transferred for the needs of Belarusian protests through cryptocurrencies.
At the same time, the propaganda message “Belarus today, Russia tomorrow” has become more frequent, and within the framework of which Belarus is just a transitional stage in the permanent war of the West against Moscow. Along with the content of state television channels, the publication of the Belarusian-Russian propaganda hybrid Sputnik Belarus is a vivid confirmation of this.
“The current hybrid attack on Belarus,” says a recent columnist, “is in fact a reconnaissance battle prior to an attack on Russia” and attempt by U.S. military-political circles to put a “collar” on Russia. “The separation of Belarus from Russia” would be a success for the United States and the West “on the path to the destruction of Russian civilization as an alternative way of human development,” echoes another Sputnik article.
In the prism of the pro-Kremlin (and Belarusian, as a branch formed from this) propaganda, the interpretation of the Belarusian events is acquiring more and more comprehensible forms for the followers of NOD, against whose flags the Belarusian Minister of Information was shaking his hands. The confrontation between good and evil is no longer painted as a Lithuanian-Polish conflict with Minsk. This is nothing other than an attack from the United States, the CIA, and Soros against Russian civilization.
Материал доступен на русском языке: Перемены в (бела)русской пропаганде: США и Сорос подвинули польско-литовский сговор