How Belarusian propaganda demonizes protests

Protest in Kazakhstan and Belarus / Euroradio
Protest in Kazakhstan and Belarus / Euroradio

Euroradio regularly exposes how Belarusian propaganda promotes fakes, lies, substitutes concepts, and distorts reality. Through our weekly quizzes, you can see how the state media are trying to get into the heads of Belarusians and promote something profitable for them. We constantly publish info on fakes on Telegram and discuss propaganda on YouTube.

This time we've collected several quotes where propagandists demonize the Belarusian protests against the background of the events in Kazakhstan. They say they "won't allow it" and "don't want it to be like that." But the events in Belarus in 2020 and Kazakhstan in 2022 look the same only in the imagination of the state media myth-makers.

“Это другое”: как белорусская пропаганда демонизирует протесты
Almaty, Kazakhstan / FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP

Firstly, let's remember what happened in Kazakhstan. The protests were triggered by the prices of liquefied gas, which sharply increased in the country since the beginning of the year. Kazakh authorities explained this by the transition to "fully market-based pricing." 

Protests erupted across the country, and the authorities announced lower gas prices, but that did not help. Clashes with the security forces began. Tokayev dissolved the government, imposed a state of emergency in parts of the country and asked the CSTO for help. The CSTO forces were in Kazakhstan for just a few days. At the end of January, the parliament canceled the lifetime presidency of Nursultan Nazarbayev in the Security Council and the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK).

Now to the propagandists.

The U.S. seeks world domination and is marching around the planet in protests

While the argument "Have you seen the U.S. national debt?" is already a little outdated, the statement "the U.S. wants to conquer the whole world" seems to be eternal. For decades, it has been repeated in various interpretations by government officials from Venezuela to Belarus. Lukashenka likes to repeat it. So do the "talking heads" of Belarusian propaganda. Each time it sounds different, but the newspaper "SB. Belarus Today" did not forget to use this argument during the events in Kazakhstan.

The article, authored by Hanna Kurak and titled "Where did the terror come from in Kazakhstan," tells about the events in Kazakhstan. The story summarizes administrative and criminal cases. For some reason, the article also features an opinion of Syarhei Syrankou, a member of the Standing Committee on International Affairs of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus: 

"This once again undeniably proves that there is some force financed by the West which is constantly trying to fan the flames of civil war in the former post-Soviet republics. The strategic goal remains unchanged -- to create boiling points on the so-called axis of turbulence around Russia's borders to weaken it as one of the most important geopolitical forces on the world stage. No matter how you look at it, Moscow is one of the restraining forces of Washington, which so aspires to world domination. The tactical objectives and methods by which the unfortunate events unfold can differ depending on the country. For example, one scenario was developed for Belarus, another for Kazakhstan. But it is obvious that the same people ordered these shocks".

“Это другое”: как белорусская пропаганда демонизирует протесты
Pobediteley Avenue in Minsk on August 16 / photo by Dzmitry Brushko

According to the "expert," "the tragic situation in Kazakhstan is a good example of what could have happened after the events of August 2020 if our people had not rallied around the President, who was the first to defend the homeland from internal and external enemies".

How the people rallied around the President of Kazakhstan and where the unity around the Belarusian President is, Syrankou would not say.

Hladkaya from Kazakhstan

Belarus sent two propagandists, Azaronak and Hladkaya, along with Belarusian troops as part of the CSTO mission.

“Это другое”: как белорусская пропаганда демонизирует протесты
Azaronak and Hladkaya / screenshot from video

The state media sent them along with other staff members to make reports. Azaronak and Hladkaya said in their video that they wanted to show the Belarusians "the lawlessness of the color revolutions." However, they did not precisely succeed: Azaronak made a short video clip of old footage, and Hladkaya wrote propaganda articles in the "SB. Belarus Today." Here is a quote from the article called "One step from the abyss":

"I just want to say: GUBOPIK groans for you. It also groans for the so-called "actions of solidarity" with the protests in Kazakhstan, which took place in London and involved WRW activists. Looking at these "unbelievable people," I come to one conclusion: all of them are supporting the thugs and marauders who created outrages on the territory of Kazakhstan. It is frightening to imagine what would have happened if our state did not have determination and firmness to defend national interests".

How could one combine notions like "unbelievable" and "support" with thugs and marauders?

Hihin draws a parallel between Tsikhanouski and Kazakhstan

One gets the impression that the former Dean of the Philosophy and Social Sciences Department at the Belarusian State University has an opinion on every event happening in the world and knows how to relate it to Belarus. Sometimes, they are just made-up predictions: "If those people had won in August, we would have been completely ruled here from abroad. We wouldn't be discussing a new Constitution, and nobody knows what would have happened on our territory". Sometimes, these are inflamed parallels about criminality in two different countries.

“Это другое”: как белорусская пропаганда демонизирует протесты
At an election picket, May 24, 2020 / Euroradio

"In 2020, Belarus also saw the involvement of members of the criminal world in the attempted coup d'état. The notorious Syarhei Tsikhanouski had quite a few of them in his entourage. But then they were punished by the domestic law enforcement agencies. In the political field and in Russia, we see a noticeable growth of criminal groups' activity. Any transitional situation or weakening of state institutions - a transit of power or a pandemic - provides fertile ground for criminal organizations. They will not miss an opportunity to create their shadow pseudo-state. The organized nature of the gangs in Kazakhstan and their close ties to local criminal bosses is a vivid example of this.".

Lukashenka talks about the "Baltic-Black Sea bridgehead"

"I've already told you: if only these "crazy, unbelievable people" in Belarus had seized, just for one day, as it was in Kazakhstan, not even the Palace of Independence, but some government building, declared themselves the authorities and called NATO troops here, and they were already "at the track" for it... We managed to save the country at the time".

The West recklessly tried to implement long-standing plans to create a Baltic-Black Sea bridgehead. We did not allow it then. And we can't allow it from now on!" That's what Lukashenka said in a recent address to the Belarusian people. 


“Это другое”: как белорусская пропаганда демонизирует протесты
Lukashenka during the address / BelTA

Strangely, Lukashenka wasn't told at the Mahiliou Pedagogical Institute that historians have no givens. And, strangely, he forgot to mention the bridgehead that Russia managed to create during the military exercises.

"Yellow Leaks/Plums" repeats what he said

During the protests in Kazakhstan, a propaganda telegram channel traditionally broadcasts the opinions of "experts," "political analysts," and reposts footage from other channels belonging to the same network. But one of the posts looks authored. It appeared before everyone else and is similar in style to a self-written post. "We are a testing ground for them, an experimental ground before they rush to the East. Once they've tried it out with us, they'll go there," is how the video in which Lukashenka says these words is described. Allegedly it confirms the story that Lukashenka warned about this.

"Need I remind you when it was said? On May 26, 2021, right after the Western provocation with the Ryanair plane landing. Lukashenka warned more than once that Belarus is not their primary target. Just an aperitif. And the main course is in the whole vast area from Smolensk to the Pacific Ocean.  

After Belarus, this is what happened: they went to the Russian Federation. But Russia thoroughly studied our experience and immediately kicked them in the teeth. And they did it well! The enemy retreated to bite somewhere else -- in Kazakhstan, in the southern underbelly of Russia.   

You were told... No, they even sang to you: "Listen to Batka!" Batka won't give you bad advice".

Prydybayla even got an award

Recently, Lukashenka awarded TV-propagandist Kanstantsin Prydybayla with the Francysk Skaryna Medal. The reason: "For great personal contribution to the development of state information policy and national journalism." Let's look at the contribution to journalism. This is just one of many posts on his Telegram channel during the protests in Kazakhstan.


“Это другое”: как белорусская пропаганда демонизирует протесты

"To all this, we should also add that during the live broadcast of Lukashenka's address, the opposition cesspools of both Belarus and Russia were silent because they saw what the CSTO did in Kazakhstan. They saw how Russia helped Belarus. Now they see the Union State clenching into a single fist. 

And there are not two reasons for war, as Lukashenka said. There's one. An attack on our homeland, which stretches from Brest to Vladivostok."

Valfovich is eager to even the score

Usually, the head of the General Staff is not considered a propagandist, but his zeal during the protests in Kazakhstan and speculation on the subject has forced us to put him on the list.

“Это другое”: как белорусская пропаганда демонизирует протесты
Aliaksandr Valfovich / BELTA

"The 2020 events in Belarus this year were followed by a sharp escalation in Kazakhstan. This suggests "destabilization of the entire post-Soviet space by the collective West." "The anti-Belarusian centers still nurture the intention to take revenge," these are Valfovich's words from an interview with BELTA.

Lukashenka and a couple of adequate words

It is fair to say that you can find some adequacy in a ton of the state heads' speeches if you try hard. For example, Lukashenka once said that one should not look for an external trace everywhere.

"Yes, we talk a lot now about outside interference. A little time will pass, and these figures' names, addresses, passwords, and passwords will become public. But one thing must be understood. The external factor will never be the only one. Behind all the external factors, one must see the internal ones. This is the lesson we have learned from the events in Belarus," thanks to the speechwriter, he at least tried to lower the degree of absurdity.

But did anyone think about these words, or did they come through in the torrent of propaganda?

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