The situation with anti-Belarusian misinformation and online propaganda has changed dramatically for the worse over the past two years.
According to him, the number of Internet resources regularly publishing materials on Belarus containing misinformation, propaganda and hate speech, has increased by several times. Today there are about 40 fairly active sites. Among the most aggressive resources are: Ross-bel.ru, Teleskop, Sozh, Vitbich, Berestje-News, GrodnoDaily, Mogilew.by, Podneprovie-Info, Imhoclub.by, Dranik, Politring.
At the same time, the study says, a number of new active websites have emerged over the past two years, which are entirely devoted to Belarus and which publish disinformation and use hate language. Today there are about 15 of them, whereas previously the main sources of disinformation about Belarus were Russian sites with a broad information agenda, which did not focus only on Belarus.
Andrei Eliseyeu notes, that a full-fledged network of regional sites with regular publications appeared, which use hate speech to various social, political, religious, professional groups of Belarus.
“Publications use aggressive chauvinistic rhetoric, sometimes they openly question the existence of an independent Belarusian ethnos and language, discredit and distort the history of Belarus,” – the study says.
Russian organization CIS-EMO, which was the umbrella organization for "international observers" in the referendum in 2014 in the Crimea, is behind most of the regional disinformation network. One of the leaders of the Russian National Unity - the Russian neo-Nazi organization, - headed CIS-EMO for a long time. CIS-EMO is now headed by Stanislav Byshok, who, together with the owner of the Sozh.info domain, Siarhei Lusch, the editor of Teleskop-by.org Leu Kryshtapovich and the Russian politician Sergey Baburin, heads the Civic Initiative “Union”, founded in Belarus in 2018.
All of them, as well as the head of Ross-bel.ru, Andrei Gerashchenko, maintain at least an indirect connection with the Russian embassy in Belarus through the Coordination Council of the leaders of the Belarusian public associations of Russian compatriots. A number of organization members also often publish misinformation about Belarus, Andrei Eliseyeu notes.
In total, he said, this phenomenon has not only not decreased in scale, but has significantly developed both quantitatively and qualitatively, since the “Regnum case” connected with the criminal prosecution of three authors of anti-Belarusian publications.