Staunton, March 24 – A shadowy group calling itself the Moscow Social Engineering Agency has put out a 25-page report saying that “all top bloggers of Belarus” are Russophobes financed by the West to promote anti-Russian nationalism in that country (sea.com.ru/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Analiz_raboty_zapada_v_Belorussii.pdf).
One of the organizers of this agency is Anton Davidchenko, who told Russia’s Euroradio that he and his colleagues were investigating Belarus now because the situation in that republic resembles the one in Ukraine in 2012-2013 when Western special services were preparing the Maidan (euroradio.fm/ru/rossiyskoe-issledovanie-vse-top-blogery-belarusi-rusofoby-i-grantoedy).
Because of the risk that the West will succeed in doing the same thing in Belarus, he continued, it is absolutely necessary to track what is going on, especially in the blogosphere where the West has found it especially easy to establish a beachhead to spread its “toxic” influence on Belarusian society and government.
Davidchenko said his group had analyzed 5914 online publications which had attracted “more than 203 million page views” and that had been issued over the names of 244 bloggers over the course of 2018 (thinktanks.by/publication/2019/03/22/rossiyskoe-issledovanie-vse-top-blogery-belarusi-rusofoby-i-grantoedy.html).
It ranked them in terms of their “toxicity,” a measure that he said indicated how anti-Russian they were, and a term that he didn’t say but shows just what this latest Russian propaganda move is about: discrediting anyone who questions the supposedly positive role of Russia in Belarus today.
According to this report, the four most “toxic” outlets, each of which attracted more than ten-million pageviews were Belarus Partisan, Tut.by news, Charter 97, and Solidarity. Among others named were Nasha Niva, Radio Liberty’s Belarusian Service, Polish Radio to Russia, and Gomel Today.
The report also named specific bloggers it suggested were having a negative influence in Belarus. Among the honorees in this category are Igor Losyk, Pavel Belarus, Eduard Palchis, Mikola Statkevich, and Pavel Severyanets. Both these individuals and the outlets they use are likely to be targeted by denial of service attacks at a minimum.
What is important here, however, is that Moscow is creating a plethora of institutions, superficially respectable, that are little more than propagandistic outlets. They should not take anyone in, but experience shows that that is what they are designed to do and that often that is exactly the response they obtain.
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