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How Russian propaganda saves Belarus from Poland

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Polish nationalists demonstrate in Warsaw / Reuters

The “Polish threat for Minsk” narrative has returned to the Kremlin-backed propaganda outlets ahead of the presidential elections in Belarus. The latest messaging includes such topics as ‘Poland’s colonial policy,’ funding ‘info-saboteurs,’ and supporting the ‘candidates of protest.’ The “Polish aggression” is explained either by Poland’s imperial ambitions or by claiming that NATO uses our western neighbor to promote its interests in Belarus.

"Coffin dance performance" for Polish money… or not?

In his latest video blog’s episode titled “Youth Bloc for Poland’s money,” SONAR-2050’s writer Evgeny Volodchenko “reveals” the network of ‘Polish info-saboteurs’ in Belarus. Namely, where they publish their fakes, how they spread false stories, who organizes their marginal actions, who finance their patrons. But what does Poland have to do with all of this?

Volodchenko names the “saboteurs” – two only - who criticized the state-sponsored mass events during the COVID19 pandemic: Telegram channel Basta! and the Charter97 website. But those who got most of the stick were the Youth Bloc activists who staged a ‘coffin dance meme’ reconstruction to protest against a Victory Day parade rehearsal amid the pandemic.

“A bunch of outcasts is carrying a dummy coffin and dancing to a lively music tune, while a 9 May parade rehearsal is underway nearby,” Volodchenko describes Youth Bloc’s latest action.

 

“Who promotes and sponsors them?” asks Volodchenko. “The action was organized by the Youth Bloc activists, some of them being members of various opposition parties funded by Western foundations. The Polish-British TV Channel Belsat and Radio Liberty provided information support. Belsat receives funding from the Polish MFA and international donors, and Radio Liberty is financed by the US Congress.”

The question “Who sponsors the Youth Bloc?” remains unanswered.

What follows next is a beaten off cliché that the Nazis used the white-red-white national flag during the occupation of Belarus. That’s all. Why Volodchenko decided that the protest against the parade in Minsk was a Polish provocation remains unclear.

Poland dreams of its troops entering Minsk

Sergei Ivannikov, a “political analyst” who teaches at a Russian Orthodox Church’s seminary, already featured in our previous pro-Kremlin propaganda reviews. Last time, he wrote about Viktar Babaryka and “Belarusian oligarchs” who can’t wait to seize power in Belarus.

This time around, Ivannikov focuses on the ‘NATO boots of a Polish soldier ready to step at any moment on Belarusian soil.’ It must be tough to live when you think enemies have surrounded you.

“For Poland, Belarus is nothing but part of the lost lands in the East which should return to the Polish state. There are hotheads among Polish nationalists who are ready to start seizing Belarusian lands immediately, naturally with a helping hand from NATO troops. Poland’s establishment dreams of the Polish troops entering Minsk,” Ivannikov said in an interview with the pro-Kremlin propaganda website Ukraina.ru reprinted by the Belarus-based pro-Russian propaganda platform Teleskop.

As a representative of the Russian World who promotes imperial views, Ivannikov does not hide his desire that Belarus become part of the ‘Union State.’ However, he immediately rules out equality in this union. “The demand for equal treatment [for Belarus and Russia] is inherently flawed and ungrounded,” he claims.

“The time of small independent state has passed. Belarus is not capable of becoming the center of Russian civilization. A union with Russia is a natural path for its further development,” he concludes.

Why should Belarusians become part of such a union? The reasoning is simple. In the view of the “political analyst,” the majority of Belarusians support the idea of a union state. The slogan “Back to Russia” is increasingly becoming a leading trend, according to Ivannikov.

“Belarusian society does not divide itself into Belarusians and Russians. It is a marginal topic for Belarusian public opinion. Importantly, when it comes to relations with the Russian world, this society perceives itself as an integral part of it.”

But if the Belarusian authorities choose to go against the will of their people, Belarus will be destroyed. “The Belarusian state will lose its legitimacy and will become a short-lived phantom. Russia will help it to disappear,” Ivannikov threats.

He paints an apocalyptical picture for disobedient Belarus: to be conquered and annihilated by the West by becoming Poland’s and EU’s colony or to end up as part of the “Russian world” as a vassal in a similar subordinated position.

Russia protects Belarus from Poland’s colonial policy

Polish nationalists demonstrate in Warsaw / Reuters

IMHOclub editor-in-chief Aliaksei Dzermant is a regular commentator as a “political analyst” on Belarusian state TV talk shows. In his latest interview, he talks about Poland’s desire to “take Kresy Wschodnie [a term used to designate the areas that were part of Poland but now in Belarus, Lithuania, and Ukraine] back” and colonize them. Interestingly, just like in the case with Ivvanikov, IMHOclub reprinted the interview from Ukraina.ru.

In the view of Dzermant, there are several political traditions in Poland, including the one he calls “legionary” meaning Polish imperialism aimed at eastward expansion. “This line cannot be called autonomous. But it fits perfectly in the US dominance strategy in Europe.”

Dzermant also claims that Poland continues to invest in the ‘infrastructure of protests’ in Belarus. He says the potential presidential candidates pushing the protest agenda during the 2020 election campaign have connections with “a part of Polish elites.” The expert uses the following argument to support his point of view: “That’s a fact.”

The recently published Poland’s national security strategy does not mention Belarus. Dzermant explains it by Poland’s reluctance to view Belarus in the frame of the general approach because Warsaw has a particular plan for Belarus. “Polish authorities want to treat it as Poland’s internal affairs and part of its policy in the East so that they can later put the announced strategic provisions into practice, namely, to implement this global strategy about Belarus at the Foreign Ministry’s level.”

The narratives about Polish imperialism and colonial expansion have returned to the pro-Russian propaganda media. The “Polish threat” goes hand in hand with a prospect for Belarus “to reunite” with Russia and face further colonization and the final solution of the “Belarusian issue.”

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