Debunk EU: Russian media creates the myth about Belarusian protesters being anti-Russian and Tsikhanouskaya selling herself to the West

Dynamics of sentiment towards Lukashenka regime, DebunkEU data
Sentiment towards Lukashenko before the post-election call with Putin (August 1–14), DebunkEU data
Sentiment towards Lukashenko after the call with Putin (August 14-September 15), DebunkEU data
Sentiment towards Lukashenka after the meeting in Sochi (September 15-October 31), DebunkEU data
Narratives about the Union State in August, DebunkEU data

“The overwhelming majority of such messages were positive. Communication about the future of the Union State and emerging external threats continued into September and October. In the beginning of September this message was amplified by comments made by Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov, who talked about the future of the two states and ways of solving the ongoing crisis. On September 8th this message was reinforced again by Lukashenka‘s interview in RT. However, the highest point has coincided with the Sochi meeting”, explains Mr. Kazlauskas.

Narratives about the Union State in September-October, DebunkEU data
Narratives about the opposition in August, DebunkEU data

“Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was presented as a sell-out who seeks money and approval from the West and escalates the protests on the streets. On the contrary, Lukashenka was presented as a leader who is determined to engage in dialogue with the opposition on constitutional reform and is negotiating with the peaceful and rational opposition, with particular emphasis on Babaryka”,says the analyst.

“Notably, just after a couple of days in an exhaustive interview for RT Lukashenka dismissed the possibility of a dialogue with the opposition by calling it anti-Russian. He justified this statement by quoting a national security program allegedly signed by Tsikhanouskaya, which was published and later removed from her website. This story was debunked by Tsikhanouskaya herself, and by independent fact-checkers”, says Mr. Kazlauskas.

Narratives about the opposition in September-October, DebunkEU data

“After a couple of days, an attorney of one of the oppositionists who participated in the meeting told radio Ekho Moskvy that his client, Vital Shkliarou, testified that Siarhei Tsikhanouski (the husband of Thikhanouskaya) was also present at the meeting. However, Belarussian state media has tried to conceal this fact by cutting the video footage and not mentioning about this fact in their news coverage”, says Mr. Kazlauskas.

Anti-Western narratives in August, DebunkEU data
Anti-Western narratives in September-October, DebunkEU data
Anti-Western narratives in August by reach, DebunkEU data
Anti-Western narratives in September-October by reach, DebunkEU data

“The lack of official support is determined by the fact that many people in Russia are in favour of Belarusian protesters. Additionally, support for Lukashenka damages Kremlin’s image in the eyes of Belarusian society. Currently, both potential ways to end the crisis in Belarus might bring serious repercussions. On the one hand, support for unpopular Lukashenka harms the long-term image of the Kremlin in Belarus. On the other hand, the Kremlin cannot allow their closest ally to be overthrown by street protests, because the same scenario, like a chain reaction, could bring damage to Putin’s regime”, says the expert.

The birth of Debunk EU was a direct response to coordinated, mostly Kremlin sponsored, disinformation and propaganda efforts in the Baltic states.

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DebunkEU

DebunkEU

The birth of Debunk EU was a direct response to coordinated, mostly Kremlin sponsored, disinformation and propaganda efforts in the Baltic states.

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