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Bogus stories of pro-Russian telegram channels in Belarus
Banner against Russian propaganda / Reuters
Pro-Russian telegram channels, working for the Belarusian audience, regularly try to hype fake insides and cool doxes. A special approach they practice is assigning "masters" to all the competittors while staying on the horse.
For instance, in August 2019 the telegram channel Kompromat CIS divided the Belarusian TG-channels into "pro-Russian", "pro-Western", "KGB-owned", "governmental", "independent" and "almost apolitical". The attempt turned out to be rather awkward. It turned out to be even more embarrassing when pro-Russian propagandists, who supposedly know more than others, labeled the Euroradio editor Zmitser Lukashuk as the author of the TG-channel Belarusian Order.
Recently we have witnessed another attempt to recruit subscribers based on the loud doxes and find architects who build networks in Belarusian Telegram. The result is that one group of unrelated channels was declared a "network" under the influence of Minister Makei, another allegedly belongs to Lukashenka's press secretary Natallya Eismant, the third one is controlled by the KGB. Let's try and figure out this mess.
Created in September 2019, the Diletant (Amateur) telegram channel began with covering Russian domestic news and "analytics". Soon its authors found out that they could not compete on the tightly packed field, where channels like "Nezygar" with more than three hundred thousand subscribers set the tone. Now it's mostly reposting stories about Russian domestic politics.
In December 2019, the channel switched to the Belarusian agenda. Relations between Belarus and Russia were then exacerbated by attempts to deepen integration and hydrocarbon uncertainty. The first mention of Lukashenka was made on December 19th. The author of the Diletant tried to find hidden meaning in the searches conducted of the Russian oligarch Mikhail Gutseriyev's property. The first mentioning of Belarus was in the repost of Nezygar's story of December 31st that Lukashenka and Putin hadn't agreed on gas supplies and Russia was planning "humanitarian" gas supplies to Belarus.
In January 2020, against the background of discussions on the transfer of power in Russia and the upcoming amendments to the Russian Constitution, the Diletant wrote that if "the upcoming transfer is so controversial inside Russia, what should be expected from the foreign policy, the role of which is to build a single union state". It also shares a fantasy that later the transfer of power will come to Belarus and Ukraine, which will merge again with Russia in the USSR 2.0: "And no Mahiliou, no Vitsebsk People's Republics will be needed, and Batka himself will accept the terms of the game, and this process will shine with completely new colors".
The theme of the Union State and the revival of the project heir to the USSR repeatedly comes up in the discourse of the Diletant.
"Minsk Council of Seven" and "Makei's Network"
Two posts about "Minsk Council of Seven" appear the Diletant on February 10th. This conspiracy theory is based on the idea that over the past five years Lukashenka has been just a screen and a "talking head", while the real power has been concentrated in the hands of seven people. Their goal is to turn Belarus to the West.
Who are these grey cardinals who run the country behind the screen of an authoritarian leader? They are Kachanava, Syamashka, Sheiman, Vakulchyk, Makei, Myasnikovich and Gutseriyev.
This post is a literal copy from the "Minsk Semboyarschina" (Minsk Council of Seven) telegram channel, created at the same time -- on February 10th. These reflections appeared there an hour before they were published in the Diletant. The posts were reprinted without mentioning the original source. So who has a "partner network" here? And whose network is it?
According to pro-Russian telegram channels, the ideological leader of "Minsk Council of Seven" is Minister of Foreign Affairs Uladzimir Makei. Under his leadership, a network of "friendly" media and telegram channels, living off Western grants, was allegedly created.
In early April, the Diletant announced a series of posts about the "network of Makei. It is a pity that the channel was only able to publish two posts: about Ihar Losik, the presenter of the Belarus Brain TV-channel, and Yauheni Preiherman, the creator of the Minsk Dialog. After that, the "Makei network" was forgotten until May.
The Eismant network and the British intelligence
Already in May the Diletant switched from the Makei's Network to the Eismont Network. At first we got a hint that Lukashenka's press secretary works for British special services and they want to "remove" the head of Belarus. These assumptions were based on ... an interview with Natallia Eismant, in which she called Winston Churchill one of the most influential people in history. And of her contemporaries, she chose Margaret Thatcher. Churchill and Thatcher are British -- hence the British intelligence. This is the level of analytics from the authors of the channel.
The Eismant's network turned out to be more extensive than Makei's. It included a motley company of two journalists from Nasha Niva, former editor of Charter'97 Fyodar Paulyuchenka, a Eurasian Alyaksei Dzermant, IT blogger Syarhei Laurynenka, analyst Alyaksandr Shpakouski and political observer Artyom Shraibman. All this is accompanied by doxing of the channels they run. For example, did you know that Shraibman runs the Shraibman channel?
Three in one
After firing away the info, the Diletant lets slip that Natallia Eismant does not act independently. "The Eismant Network is just a small part of something bigger. Behind it lurks "the whale of the Belarusian political scene -- Minister of Foreign Affairs Uladzimir Makei, who is kindly treated by the CIA, the U.S. State Department and the Soros Foundation." That is:
1. The Eismant Network and the previously mentioned Makei's Network are the same.
2. The Diletant has somehow forgotten about Zionist conspiracy and reptiloids.
There was also an attempt to promote the topic of the KGB Network, but it collapsed after the first post. The Diletant named only one representative -- blogger Syarhei Tsikhanouski, author of the YouTube channel Country for Life. Incidentally, he was later detained by the Belarusian police. It seems to be a war of agencies (irony). Or the "agent of influence" got out of control (irony).
(Not really) famous 'political technologist'
The election in the post-Soviet space is a tidbit for anyone who wants to declare themself a guru of political technology and 'feel the money nipple'. The post-Soviet space is full of figures of this kind who are eager to make some money on a political campaign. In 2020 their attention is riveted on Belarus.
Suddenly, Vladislav Rogimov, a little-known political technologist, appears on the Belarusian horizon, spinning his electoral tails somewhere in the back of Russia or in third roles in Moscow. "Amateur" presented him as "a well-known PR and political technologist from the team of Vladimir Zelenski," who had come to help some of the Belarusian politicians triumphantly win the upcoming presidential election.
In an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets recorded on April 8th, Vladislav Rogimov said that he worked as a 'political technologist' in Minsk: "I can't openly say who I'm working with now, but it's not about cooperation with the opponents of Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
At night, on May 2nd, Rogimov published an appeal where he wrote that the Belarusian security forces had opened a criminal case against him on suspicion of an economic crime, they also searched and seized his smartphone. Somehow, the 'political technologist' was able to leave Belarus after that.
Prigozhin's 'political technologist'
The telegram-channel Belarussky poryadok (Belarusian order) conducted its investigation, where it came to the conclusion that Rogimov couldn't work in the team of Zelensky, as he was a citizen of Russia. To accept such a person in "Ze!team" is like declaring yourself a political corpse.
The author of the Belarusian order connects Rahimov with FSB and the "media factory" of the Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who mass-produces Russian and pseudo foreign internet media. One such publication is RIA FAN's website. It was Vadim Manukyan who interviewed Rogimov for Moskovsky Komsomolets. This is his only publication on this site. But Manukyan is a permanent author of RIA FAN. By the way, Vladislav Rogimov's comments are regularly published there.
It is Rogimov whom Belarusian Order suspects of managing the Diletant telegram channel. Before the 'political technologist' had no smartphone and got to Moscow, the channel did not publish a single publication. Is that a coincidence?
Rogimov is aware of the investigation and has stated that it is "another portion of top-notch delirium". "Any attempts to present me as the admin of the TG-channel Diletant look stupid," he added.