Belarus Disinformation Internet Russia

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August 24, 2020

The Kremlin’s search for scapegoats in the Belarus protests

By Givi Gigitashvili

Amid the ongoing mass protests in Belarus, Russian state-funded and fringe media outlets accused Poland and the three Baltic countries of interfering in Belarusian affairs and instigating the protests.

The DFRLab identified several unsubstantiated claims pushed by Russian state-funded and fringe media. These narratives are in line with statements made by Belarusian and Russian officials. President Lukashenka stated on August 10, 2020 that the post-election protests in Belarus were “led by Poland, Great Britain and the Czech Republic.” Along similar lines, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maria Zakharova argued that the protests were provoked by “third forces whose purpose was to fracture Belarusian society. According to the DFRLab’s analysis, Russian outlets mainly targeted Poland and the Baltic states.

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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.