Staunton, March 22 – In yet another example of Russian fake news intended to ratchet up tensions in Belarus, the Tsargrad television channel, a nationalist outlet sponsored by the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, says that Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka is not only planning to retire but to flee to a country in the Middle East.
The story which can be found online at tsargrad.tv/news/lukashenko-gotovit-pobeg-v-belorussii-popolzli-sluhi-o-skorom-uhode-prezidenta-strany_190315 has no basis in reality, Belarusian outlets say but is very much part of the diet of fake news that Tsargrad has been feeding Russians about Belarus for years (by24.org/2019/03/22/escape_for_lukashenko/).
Citing “the anonymous Internet community, Kompromat Belarus,” the Russian channel says that “the security service of the president of the Belarus Republic has been given an order to work up plans for evacuating Aleksandr Lukashenka. It is planned,” Tsargrad continues, “that he will be evacuated to Arab countries.”
Such “news” is unlikely “to sow panic among Belarusians,” given that the Tsargrad channel does not have a license to broadcast there; but it may convince some Russians that the Belarusian state is on the brink of collapse – yet another way the Kremlin may be preparing in deniable form for a move into Belarus of one kind or another.