Anti-Belarus disinformation campaign in Russian media: Trends, features, countermeasures

This is the first issue of the EAST Media Review authored by EAST Research Fellows Andrei Yeliseyeu and Veranika Laputska. It sums up an enduring monitoring and analysis of the Russian media Belarus-related content by the EAST Center in August – November 2016.

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The Media Review consists of four chapters:

1. Russian media in Belarus: enormous impact, new trends.

2. Main disinformation providers and their discourses.

3. “Belarusians are a Polish project aimed at dismembering Russian people”.
Top 10 ridiculous claims concerning Belarus in Russian media.

4. Belarus’ countermeasures. Conclusions.

Graph. Levels of trust in Belarusian and Russian media among Belarusians.

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Source: Belarusian Analytical Workroom, May 2016

A recent national poll discovered that two-thirds of Belarusians watch Russian TV channels on either regular or occasional basis. Furthermore, Russian media enjoy a higher level of trust among Belarusians than both state and independent Belarusian media. This fact makes Belarus very sensitive to probable Belarus-related disinformation campaigns in Russian media.

Belarus has appeared on the list of Russian disinformation campaign objects only recently. Lately, various Russian media, including federal TV channels, started claiming development of nationalistic anti-Russian moods in Belarus. This evolution allegedly revises Belarus’s foreign policy which becomes more pro-West.

In addition, some Russian online media, foremost Regnum and EADaily, published a dozen of chauvinistic materials containing hate speech, questioning Belarusian sovereignty and territorial integrity and spreading degrading statements about Belarusian people, Belarusian language, and culture.

After addressing a number of Russian state organs about degrading Belarus-related articles, Belarusian authorities arrested three Regnum and EADaily contributors on suspicion of inciting national or social enmity. It remains to be seen whether these radical countermeasures will play down anti-Belarus campaign in Russian media or, on the contrary, will only give it a new impetus.

Read the full issue of the EAST Media Review №1: Anti-Belarus disinformation campaign in Russian media: Trends, features, countermeasures.