iSANS decided to publish a brief version of its report Coercion to “Integration”: Russia’s Creeping Assault on the Sovereignty of Belarus – Likely Scenario of a Takeover, Channels of Influence and the Main Actors.
Russia is applying active, serious and growing pressure on Belarusian social and media space through various instruments of influence, de-facto turning into a hybrid war over the last months. State-controlled, quasi-private and non-governmental initiatives form a wide system of interference, aimed at a “deep integration” of Belarus with Russia — effectively at coercing Belarus to give up its political, cultural and linguistic sovereignty.
The interference is well-coordinated, implemented through Russian and Belarusian actors, united into several networks. The overall strategy is coordinated from the Presidential Administration of Russia. Large resources are allocated to media and propaganda in the Internet through websites and social network groups.
Belarusian society and state as well as international actors must take very seriously the current threat to the sovereignty of Belarus and its further increase in the years immediately ahead. International community must convince Lukashenka and people influencing his decisions of the crucial importance of a series of steps to be taken in 2019-2020, including cooperation with the West in countering hybrid threats, significant economic reforms, reforms in state-society relations, human rights and rule of law, and active measures in culture and education.