Staunton, September 19 – The International Strategic Action Network for Society (iSANS) in a new 100-page report says that Moscow has been increasing its funding for projects designed to influence public opinion in Belarus in order to set the stage for the destruction of the independence of that country.
Indeed, it says, “what took place in Crimea and the eastern part of Ukraine already in 2013 now is occurring in Belarus,” with the Russian information campaign that is directed from a single center rising to a level close to and anticipating “’a hybrid war” (belsat.eu/ru/in-focus/rossiya-finansiruet-proekty-sozdannye-dlya-lisheniya-belarusi-nezavisimosti/).
Vladimir Kobets, the head of iSANS, says that “today, this system in the media, social networks and organizations in Belarus is very well financed via Russian foundations like Rossotrudnichestov, the Gorchakov Foundation and the Russian World Foundation” and is being run out of the Russian embassy in Minsk.
In the guise of promoting cultural ties, a network of people “loyal to Moscow” not Minsk is being created. Russian activists are sharing their experience with “’the Russian spring’ in Ukraine” both at meetings and camps in Belarus and during visits Moscow is financing to sites in the Russian Federation.
Many of those involved on the Russian side, Kobets continued, came out of the fascist movement in Russia.
The message that Moscow seeks to communicate via this effort, he says, is that “integration is inevitable, that Belarus is weak and not really independent and that Belarusians are not a fraternal people but simply ‘Russians,’” he reports. Other analysts, like Andrey Yeliseyev of the EAST Analysis Center concur.
It is now clear, they say, that the Kremlin is controlling this entire effort, including using leaks in Moscow newspapers that it can then recycle through its online channels in Belarus as with the recent Kommersant article about Russian-Belarusian integration. (On that, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/09/leaks-about-russian-belarusian-unity.html.)
And Fyodor Pavlyuchenko, the editor of the REFORM.BY portal, adds that this article and others like it are “a beautiful information provocation,” one in which one senses “the hands of a master.” Unfortunately, he says, the Belarusian authorities haven’t been up to the task of responding to this challenge.
For discussions of and citations to earlier iSANS reports on this subject, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/06/will-mezentsev-end-ties-with-odious.html,windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/06/moscow-expanding-its-influence-in.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/05/change-of-russian-ambassadors-wont-slow.html,windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/04/isans-report-about-moscows-creeping.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/04/isans-report-about-moscows-creeping_24.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/04/anti-belarusian-sites-grow-more.html.