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Russia spends hundreds of thousand dollars to promote its agenda in Belarus

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Pathetic Fake / Unique Original​

The Russian Ministry of Culture has announced a tender to organize a "discussion and exhibition event" on the topic of "75th anniversary of the joint Victory. Role of Russian and Belarusian culture in preserving historical memory and countering falsification of history". For 66.6 thousand dollars, the organization that will get the state contract, should hold two events of "dialogue format" and one exhibition project on military and historical subjects.

All events are to be organized in Belarus. 

The selection of participants for "dialogue events" is to be taken very seriously. They should "support the ideas of promoting the values of Russia's spiritual culture and its role in preserving the historical and cultural heritage of Russia and Belarus. 

The number of participants is from 76 to 110, and almost half of them should be Russians. They should stay in hotels of no less than four stars and be fed at the expense of the organizers. A cultural excursion with visits to cultural and historical heritage sites should be organized for all Russian participants. Everything should be organized by April 20, 2020.

In the same dugouts shelters

This is not the first attempt of the Russian Ministry of Education to organize such events in Belarus. In 2019, they held a tender for events of "spiritual nature" in Belarus. The amount of government money allocated for it was $348 thousand. Among the events - round tables entitled "The role of St. Prince Alexander Nevski in the history of the brotherhood of the peoples of Russia and Belarus" and "Language - the soul of peoples. Uniting the role of literature and theatre in cooperation between Russia and Belarus". 

The role of Alexander Nevski in the formation of the brotherhood of the peoples of Russia and Belarus is, perhaps, his "Lithuanian campaigns" with attempts to seize Polatsk and constant conflicts with the Lithuanian princes, including Mindaug - the first Grand Duke of Lithuania, for the lands of Smolensk and Pskov. And the unifying role of literature is the diligent "fitting" of Belarusian writers into the Russian context - even those who seem to be "not fitting" into it, such as Vasil Bykau.

There was also held a forum on "historical, cultural and spiritual unity of the Russian and Belarusian peoples", a theological conference "Spiritual foundations of the brotherly peoples of Russia and Belarus" and many other things.

The Hanseatic Elegy from Pskov

The winner of the same tender for 348 thousand dollars from the Russian Ministry of Education was the Pskov company Hanseatic Elegy. It had already held various events of the Ministry of Culture both in Russia and abroad. Among them were "events for veterans, residents of besieged Leningrad and youth patriotic organizations in Estonia and Latvia" in 2018 and 2019 (161 thousand dollars), the organization of "Russian Seasons" in Italy and Germany (364 thousand dollars), various events of "spiritual nature".

The forum "Historical, cultural and spiritual community of the Russian and Belarusian peoples" was organized on September 19, 2019 at the House of Moscow and the National Library. The opening ceremony was attended by Russian Ambassador Dmitry Mezentsev, Belarusian Minister of Culture Yury Bondar and Russian Deputy Minister of Culture Alla Manilova.

At the same time, the governments of the two countries were actively working on "deepening integration". Belarusian officials repeatedly refused to make public road maps for the development of the Union State of Belarus and Russia.

Three days before the forum, Dmitri Butrin wrote in Kommersant that Russia and Belarus would become a confederation. And Vladimir Zhirinovski spoke in an interview about how Belarus and Russia would merge into one state in a single impulse.

Other events of the Hanseatic Elegy, organized in Minsk, were attended from the Belarusian side by the head of the Union State Standing Committee in Minsk, Maryianna Shchotkina, First Deputy Belarusian Minister of Culture Natallia Karcheuskaya, director of the Yanka Kupala Institute of Literature Studies Ivan Saverchanka. 

On the Russian side, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Science, Education and Culture Viktor Smirnov was present. He participates in the formation of a common educational space within the Union State. 

The longer the term, the easier it is to fool laymen

The theme of "falsification" and "rewriting history" constantly resurfaces in speeches of Russian officials. In September 2019, Sergei Ivanov, Chairman of the Russian Military Historical Society, said that attempts to falsify or rewrite the causes and results of World War II in Europe will continue on the eve of the 75th anniversary of victory:

"I foresaw a huge number of falsifications when satellites in Washington or Brussels try to put everything upside down and rewrite the results and causes of World War II. Don't be surprised to see it go on like this. The longer the period, the easier it is to fool around with people who don't know and don't want to know anything about history and what really happened".

A couple of months after these statements, Russian Ambassador Dmitry Mezentsev said that today Belarus and Russia are under incredible pressure from those Western politicians who want to rewrite history:

"This is an order for us not to allow rewriting history, rethinking the role of a soldier of the Great Patriotic War, who liberated Europe and the world from fascism".

Sometimes Russia, from the defensive position (meaning defending its vision of the events of the Great Patriotic War) goes on the offensive. For example, recently Vladimir Putin called the Polish Ambassador to Germany in the 1930s "bastard" and "anti-Semitic pig". According to the Russian president, he supported the idea of Adolf Hitler to send Jews to Africa. Not only the Polish authorities, but also the European Parliament reacted sharply to this statement. According to the European deputies, Putin distorted historical facts.

Now the Russian Ministry of Culture has decided to spend $66 thousand to counteract falsification of history in Belarus.