Wed, Sep 2, 2020

State media English-language coverage of Belarus propagates claims of Western interference

Article by Jacqueline Malaret

Belarus Disinformation Internet Russia

Belarusian and Russian media are pushing a narrative through their English-language affiliate outlets that the pro-democracy protests taking place in Belarus are instead an illegitimate coup or “color revolution” propelled by the U.S. and EU.

Over many years, Russia has consistently deployed the narrative of Western meddling to explain pro-democracy “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Russian disinformation has previously claimed that Ukraine’s 2014 Euromaidan Revolution was the result of Western powers and Ukrainian nationalists working together to depose a legitimate government. In 2018, when thousands of Armenians took to the streets to protest peacefully against Serzh Sargsyan’s third consecutive term as president, leading to his eventual resignation, Russia asserted that this “color revolution” undermined Armenian values and would endanger the country’s security. Similarly, Russia claimed that the 2019 Gavrilov’s Night protests in Georgia were organized by Western governments with the aim of making Georgia into a client state of the U.S. military. Meanwhile, the DFRLab previously reported on the Russian media’s insistence that the 2019 Moscow protests were the consequence of foreign actors subverting the sovereignty of their nation.

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The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) has operationalized the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news, documenting human rights abuses, and building digital resilience worldwide.