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The new heroes of Belarusian state propaganda
New propaganda talking heads /collage by Euroradio
A talking head who will voice the desired opinion instead of an actual commentator is one of the propaganda features. In this sense, Belarusian state media are very resourceful. One can often see foreign guests, seemingly respectable, who may appear pronouncing seemingly reasonable views. If you take a deeper look, though, many interesting details come to light. Here is the story about the three new heroes on Belarus state TV.
Conspirologist from Lithuania
A certain Laurynas Ragelskis has lately become a point man on the trends in the Baltic states for the Belarusian state-owned TV and Telegram channels, portrayed as the only local blogger who is "not afraid to tell the truth."
By an odd coincidence, he launched his Youtube channel titled “A Lithuanian tells the hard truth” at the end of 2020. In his videos, he vilified the Belarusian opposition and remarkably did it in Russian, which few Lithuanians speak nowadays. The language of his outlet suggests that Ragelskis created this particular blog deliberately for the audience outside his home country.
He is a blogger indeed, and he runs several blogs. A Lithuanian government report assessing national security threats recently mentioned his name as the person who oversees a network of anti-Western and pro-Russian media platforms, including the main one called Ldiena.lt. This platform is not popular; its Youtube channel in the Lithuanian language has only about 150 subscribers. However, this does not prevent the man from doing the “necessary” stuff.
Ragelskis is not hiding his love for Russia and is vehemently bashing anyone and anything that Russian agitprops are currently attacking. The enemies are NATO, gender equality, and liberal values alike. To top it off, Ragelskis was protesting actively against “vaccine passports” and in defense of “family values.” In short, he stands for everything that pro-Russian forces promote.
НоHere is another detail to complete Ragelskis’ portrait. He is an avid promoter of a pro-Russian idea of a “domestic security concept.” This conspiracy theory promotes the narrative that transnational corporations, the “global mafia,” and a secret government rule humanity. It is rather fortunate that Ragelskis’ audience is that small - these kinds of theories are better left forgotten.
Professor from Sorbonne in Paris
Our next hero is a Lithuanian man named Stanislovas Tomas. The ANT telegram-channel called him a lawyer and a Sorbonne professor on air. Pity that Sorbonne itself isn’t aware of that.
Tomas did get his Ph.D. here. After that, he wasn’t connected to the university in any way, though. Then again, in his autobiographies, he is frequently claiming to have received education at many different universities worldwide. But can we trust this information? Since the same person also says he speaks 15 (!) languages. Indeed, one wouldn’t put anything past this man.
Tomas is not a lawyer either; he doesn’t have a license anywhere in the EU. There was a time when Tomas represented specific cringeworthy public figures in the courts of international justice. Still, in 2016 the European Court of Justice prohibited him from participating because he had no license, despite presenting himself as a lawyer.
These days, Tomas still masquerades as a lawyer. He even proposed to put in a claim to the UN, specifically for the benefit of the immigrants who got to Lithuania through Belarus. He also opposes sanctions against Belarus. Notably, he shot one of his latest videos, criticizing the state of law and democracy in the EU, in front of the Independence Palace in Minsk.
Once, Tomas wanted to be a politician. In 2006, he was an activist during student protests and planned on building the barricades. Afterward, Tomas wanted to get elected to the Seimas. He was a member of the right-wing party Order and Justice from the very start, loyal to the Russian Federation and hostile towards the EU. He also tried to defend its founder, an ex-president of Lithuania, Rolandas Paksas, who was removed from office on suspicion of the threat to national security.
He is still blatantly promoting himself. Say he was trying to get elected in the European Parliament. In 2019, he smashed the memorial tablet dedicated to Jonas Noreika on the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences building in Vilnius. Noreika was accused of traitorous cooperation with an enemy. However, the Vilnius regional court sees no evidence to back these charges originally brought during the USSR reign.
UPDATE. After the publication of this story, Stanislavas Tomas contacted Euroradio claiming that he or the Belarus state TV never called him a Sorbonne professor. However, this is not true.
Mr. Tomas noted that he has a lawyer license in Andorra and a member of the bar association in Russia. The two countreies are not members of the European Union. Hence, Euroradio made no mistake in the story.
We clarify, however, that the video recorded recently in front of the Palace of Independence was not dedicated to the legal practices in the EU.
A theologian from (Samara) Cleveland
— Sadly, they don’t want to know the truth because of the established stereotypes. CNN and FOX News channels are working on maintaining these stereotypes from different perspective so that the current world dynamic, the one that they are happy with, would stay no matter what,” said Steve Samarin, a “political analyst,” to the Belarus 1 state TV channel while commenting on Lukashenka’s interview with CNN.
In reality, his name is Vladislav Spektorov, and he was studying to be a field radio operator rather than a political analyst. In the early 90s, he was busy opening the first Methodist connection in Samara, his hometown. After that, he emigrated to the US and got a theological education.
By his own account, Samarin-Spektorov practices “religion, finances, sciences, and politics.” For example, he registered two religious NGOs in the US. One of those, humbly called the Global Christian Ministry, gave him a Doctor Divinitatis title. He also created the Institute of the International Collaboration and Partnership, which is, unfortunately, unknown to Google.
In 2015, Samarin-Spektorov congratulated Lukashenka on re-election as president... However, Nikolai Khalezin, a journalist, noticed noted back then that the man with the American flag at his back, a presumed professor of the University of Florida, worked for the Minsk-based International University MITSO.
To add to that, he did time in Florida, either for theft or fraud.
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