Who prepares Belarus for the occupation?
"Russia was seriously preparing for the occupation of the Crimea. Crimeans were being stupefied with Russian propaganda for many years."
A. Turchinov, head of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine
"Today we talk about information wars as one of the components of hybrid wars."
A. Lukashenka, the Belarusian dictator
This is probably the rarest case, when I fully agree with the Belarusian ruler’s statement. It would be difficult to disagree with him after what Russia has done in Ukraine. And one can trust Alexander Turchinov, who in 2014 performed duties of the president of Ukraine, when he says that the Russian hybrid aggression started precisely with the dominance of Russian media in the Crimea.
I have written in my article of February 22, 2018 about the significant problems with information security in Belarus that arose after the authorities had blocked the most popular Belarusian website, Charter97.org, and about the Operational and Analytical Center head and the country's defense minister being responsible for that.
It's nice that on February 25, Minister Ravkov noted in an interview to the state-run ONT television channel that "there are cadres and structures" in Belarus to combat cyber and information security threats, and new military units are created, in particular, a special information security company. It's great that the Minister of Defense has access to secret sites and the signal was taken in. It's good that the Republic of Belarus and the Belarusian army keep pace with the times, and commander-in-chief Lukashenko is in control of not only the paratroopers, tankmen, pilots, artillerymen, but also "cybermen".
Almost three months after the blocking of the Charter 97 web site, known for its solid patriotic position, it can be argued that the sharp drop in views of the sites belonging to the Belarusian Internet segment by Belarusian users and the mass migration of Belarusian readers to Russian sites has not been a short-term phenomenon, but a steady trend. This is evidenced by the data of the popular rating site Liveinternet.ru.
Total number of views of news by month
In January 2018, the number of Belarusians viewing the pages of information sites of the Belarusian Internet segment (Belnet) was 92 million 103 thousand. And the number of page views on the Runet websites was 131 million 24 thousand. In March 2018, these figures were 72 million 327 thousand in the Belarusian segment and 168 million 599 thousand in the Russian segment.
The number of views in this or that month is certainly influenced by various factors, including events taking place in the world, in the region and Belarus.
Therefore it is interesting to compare these figures with the statistics of March 2017.
It can be seen that over this time, the number of views in the Belarusian segment has dropped from 106 million 885 thousand to 72 million 327 thousand, and the number of views in the Runet has increased dramatically from 115 million 980 thousand to 168 million 599 thousand. That is, if in March 2017, the difference in number of our readers’ views between the Russian and Belarusian segments was 1.1 times, now Belarusians read Russian information sites 2.33 times more often than the domestic ones. Not all the Belarusian sites are represented in Liveinternet statistics, but over the specified period, their list remained unchanged, even several new large sites appeared in the Belarusian segment.
It is clear that Lukashenka’s advisers, urging him to close the harmful Charter, were saying that nothing terrible would happen from closing one site. They only omitted to take it into their calculations what sort of site this is. Even head of the "vegetarian" Tut.by Yury Zisser was talking about the danger of full transition of Belarusian users to the Russian segment of the Internet after the adoption of new amendments to the Law on Mass Media.
The Belarusian ruler is sometimes called the "master of balance", but, as can be seen from the graphs, an approximate balance in the Belarusians’ information preferences existed a year ago. Now the open and voluntary surrender of positions in favor of Russian Internet media is obvious.
Alexander Turchinov, recollecting the events of 2014, said that they had stopped Russian aggression and defended Ukraine's independence only due to the activities of civil society, the courage of volunteer patriots and morale-boosting Ukrainian independent media that were not afraid to call a spade a spade. These are the state-forming elements that Lukashenka has been consistently destroying throughout his existence in power, thereby opening Belarus for occupation.
I understand those who say that Lukashenka is good, only his environment and relatives deceive him. Recently, the Belarusians laughed at fake figures of the Belarusian television programs’ "popularity" on the Internet presented the dictator. But Lukashenka is personally responsible for the destruction of the country’s information security, and in the current situation, being the cyber commander, he must either shoot himself or retire.
Zmitser Bandarenka, coordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign, specifically for Charter97.org