Putin “interferes”, Heiko Maas “defends” only “our values beyond our external borders”: The US-EU West, the Federal Government and its affiliated public service broadcaster are undisputed victors in the propaganda war against Belarusian President Lukashenko. EU Council President Charles Michel blew the fanfare: “The elections in Belarus … did not meet international standards. So we don’t recognize the results.” And already the famous sack of rice had fallen over again. But the propaganda victory has no worse consequences.
Without labelling it as massive interference in the affairs of Belarus, the editorial board had previously mentioned to ARD that Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia had already called for new elections. Equally without comment, the editorial board made Foreign Minister Maas poison that “the pressure on Belarus will be significantly increased”. By means of sanctions, of course, because Germany’s top diplomat has no more than this threatening gesture, which is contrary to international law. Not even Chancellor Merkel knew how to offer more significant than anointing phrases.
Of course, the ARD-current managed to contradict itself effortlessly in its propaganda against Lukashenko himself. On election Sunday, 9 August, she highlighted the Belarusian opposition’s accusation that the election was being rigged – and indirectly embraced it. In the same breath, however, she let it be known that “according to the latest forecasts, Lukashenko is likely to be confirmed in office.” The Tagesschau has as much in common with journalistic logic as the Bavarian Cone Prank March with Beethoven’s Eroica. Timpani and trumpets come in both musical works.
It is simply not clear why an autocrat like Lukashenko should not guarantee clean elections, because he could be sure of success; it has demonstrably won majorities. When he was elected five years ago, he officially won 83.5% of the vote and at the same time massive opposition protest.
Double standards, as usual
At the time, the OSCE had criticised the legal framework of the electoral process as not complying with the standards, but the European Union had lifted its sanctions already imposed in 2012.
The aim was to reward the “relatively quiet course of the presidential election and the release of political prisoners,” it said in 2015. The then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called this “good news.” (ibid.) The trapping of the nightingale could not be ignored: the decision was made in belarus’s favour, because Lukashenko took a western turn on the political swing between Russia and the EU. Germany even sent police trainers to Minsk. They pretended to be in the lightning-clear good room of democracy. The criticism of human rights activists went unheeded.
This time the election result is unwelcome, the signs are on storm. The OSCE had not been present with election observers, ostensibly because it had been invited too late. Lazy spell, as Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov made clear. OSCE election observers could also have come without an invitation. Their absence was deliberate and can be seen as evidence of a coup attempt planned and coordinated with foreign aid.
Bargain hunters and lootmakers
Lukashenko has been stylized as a bogeyman throughout Germany and the EU for weeks. It is here again, the “color revolution”. Lukashenko is supposed to leave and with him Belarus’s social-state basis. The country with its extensive common property would be an Eldorado for investors and bargain hunters, as in 1989/1990 the GDR, which lies in agony. We remember the departure of the West German lootmakers and the fact that the then mayor of Hamburg, Henning Voscherau, spoke of the “biggest raid in German history”.
In Belarus, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, 80 percent of the means of production remained in common property and still under state control; they are worthwhile objects for capitalist conquerors. At the same time, however, they explain Lukashenko’s strong political base. What the population would have to expect in the event of a regime change is well aware of at least one majority of Belarusian voters: poverty, mass unemployment, corruption, and the development of an oligarchy. The Belarussians have not forgotten what happened to their Russian neighbors after Gorbachev’s overthrow and Yeltsin’s takeover.
Their social foundations are still stable: there is no unemployment or economic emergency in Belarus. Even the olive-green Heinrich Böll Foundation had to admit that adequate salaries, pensions and job security are guaranteed and that favourable public services are provided. It is not remembered that the Tagesschau had ever reported this and in return tried to get to the bottom of the true motives and causes of the Belarusian opposition.
The Belarusian elites understand that Minsk is about geostrategic shifts in power in favor of the imperial West – as in various forms, including Syria, Yemen, Libya, Hong Kong, Venezuela, Bolivia, and so on. Political scientist Alexei Dsermant confirms: “It was the seventh and again unsuccessful attempt to organize a color revolution in Belarus”. The ultimate goal is a protracted political crisis, the redistribution of property and the creation of another geopolitical tension. You will experience “the most serious and professional attempt to overthrow in recent years.”
A paper from the US think tank RAND Corporation points to covert, foreign-backed activities. It dates back to last year and contains indications that Belarus could be politically destabilized by means of a color revolution. This is seen as a strategic blow against Russia, which is explicitly mentioned as the real target.
The probability that it will work this time is not very high. Although the President of the European Commission von der Leyen has suddenly liquid 53 million euros to be given to the “vulnerable groups of the Belarusian people”, this investment will not be enough for a violent regime change.
Let’s take a moment: What pot does this money come from? Who released it? What is the legal and decision-making basis of the payment? Who defined its purpose and the scope of the recipients? On what grounds? Who controls the correct use of the money? Can an unnamed “opponent” outside the EU smear any unnamed “opponents” outside the EU with 53 million euros for her wasteful use of public funds, which is already notorious for its wasteful use of public funds? In the dark EU cloud, is a critical Member still awake and ready to open his mouth? Hello, Daily Show?
The payment, however, demonstrates how extensively the turmoil in Belarus is orchestrated by the West – and how easily public money is conjured up for it.
The keyword “election forgery”
Scandalous facts such as von der Leyen’s 53 million euro commitment, however, have never deterred the ARD-aktuell editorial team from attempts at manipulation and misrepresentation. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, NATO-affiliated employee Sylvia Stöber insisted that the (sometimes extremely violent) demonstrators in Minsk and other Belarusian centers did not receive foreign support with a color-revolutionary intention. With the same persuasive power, she could have claimed that there were street dogs without fleas. ARD-aktuell itself, with a large number of such propaganda outpourings, provides intangible aid until attempted interference.
An end to the media mendacity: the Belarusian overthrowers are given tangible help from abroad.
“Election forgery” is the key word of all color revolutions. Even in the days of Corona, the mere assertion is a good start for rallies and demonstrations. The success of agitation requires diffuse dissatisfaction among the younger generation and their mobilization through Internet services. The primary goal: to reach the “Tipping Point”, the division of the elites and the state apparatus into opposing camps. This usually ensures that the protests are not immediately violently crushed.
Other important features of the color revolutions are the massive media support of the West, economic and diplomatic pressure from this direction, as well as the defamation of important politicians as non-persons and thus responsible for abuses of office and all inconveniences of everyday life. The ARD-aktuell internet portal, tagesschau.de, is proof: On 17 August, for example, 27 articles on Belarus were published, all of which were negatively connoted. Effective agitation, more precisely: nasty mood-making with the help of one-sided news selection, tendentious language and concealment of important details.
The beam in your own eye
A prime example of intentionally misguided journalism:
“This is a bad dictator” … “Whoever deals with his people in this way has lost all legitimacy for the government of the country,” ARD-aktuell quotes the SPD chancellor’s candidate Olaf Scholz, without first questioning such regular table sayings. The Tagesschau thus supports the populist effort of the SPD politician to demonize Lukashenko. The fact that “dictatorship” and “election” are basically mutually exclusive, but Lukashenko has turned himself in several times and successfully, does not matter for Scholz or Tagesschau. Logical thinking and decency rules have long since come to an end.
Lukashenko undoubtedly bears political responsibility for indisputable attacks and excessive use of force by the Belarusian police. Whether it is enough for him to publicly apologise for this now is up to the Belarussians to assess. The Tagesschau is not responsible for further evaluations. Not at least as long as it does not expose Olaf Scholz as the former “police terror mayor” who had demonstrators beat up and indiscriminately incarcerate against the G20 summit in Hamburg – and to this day claims that this was totally okay, justified and inevitable. Everyone comes first at their own door…
ARD-current Lukashenko usually calls “President”, but also repeatedly uses derogatory, opinion-making phrases such as “the tense autocrat”, (ironically: “fathers” or “last European dictatorship”. In the preparation of a color revolution, the claim that the entire state administrative apparatus is only a plaything in the hands of the president: “He ensures that all important decisions go through state hands, political opponents are imprisoned, and protest movements are defamed and crushed.” In political magazines, such sentences may be justifiable. In a news programme committed to objectivity, they have nothing to look for.
As with the excesses of violence in Hong Kong or in Daraa, Syria, the “activists” in Minsk are portrayed as admirable freedom fighters. Attacks, on the other hand, are trivialized or completely ignored, including arson and murderous use of firearms. The fact that opponents even referred to the president as a vermin simply bypasses the Tagesschau. Sergei Tichanovsky, husband of Svetlana Tkhachnovskaya, exiled in Lithuania, had already agitated against Lukashenko in the run-up to the elections, comparing him to a cockroach to be fought with the slipper. Although the daily topics reported on the blogger Tichanowski, who was temporarily imprisoned and excluded from the presidential candidacy, they made no mention of his “cockroach campaign”.
“Noble” one-sided secrecy is pure manipulation. If a German opposition politician had ever fallen for insulting Chancellor Merkel as a “cockroach” during the “refugee crisis” in 2015, which had to be crushed under the slipper, the editorial members would have collectively fallen into scrimps. However, the responsible NDR Broadcasting Council no longer notices the double standards and the many other journalistic missteps. The IQ of a cauliflower was enough to detect the violations of the programme guidelines by the Tagesschau. However, the overwhelming majority of the members of the Broadcasting Council are satisfied to collect a fee for the armchair pup, because the money does not stink.
The current guarantor of success in the Belarusian demonstrator mobilization after the unsatisfactory election for them was the Internet. ARD-aktuell hardly reports on this and thus gives the impression that the anger about the supposedly beauberated and at least inconveniently uncomfortable election result is original and the real trigger for the considerable influx to the demonstrations. In Daily Show and Daily Topics, Internet channels such as “NEXTA” and “NEXTA LIVE” remained unnamed. Only the website tagesschau.de informed its small readership, but only on 20 August. Note: ten days after the start of the protests.
Under the title “We have to be extremely careful”, the first sentences of the message in question make it clear that behind NEXTA is a foreign-based coup plotter station, which ARD does not currently call this: “Anyone who wants to find out about demonstrations in Belarus uses the Telegram channel NEXTA. It is run by opposition activists in Poland.” More precisely: NEXTA resides in Warsaw. It remains unclear who the backers are and who finances the station. The representatives of the channel provide contradictory information on this. And ARD-aktuell does not do any research in Warsaw either. Research? Yuck!
Preferably, amateur films about police officers who mistreat demonstrators are broadcast. However, the authenticity and topicality of the images are not verifiable, and even some opponents criticize this. NEXTA transmits maps with information on the locations of police units, collection points for demonstrators and contacts with lawyers and other “human rights activists”. In addition, there are detailed instructions on how to effectively combat road safety authorities.
ARD-aktuell is proving itself to be a hard-working agitator by not giving the slightest indication that the Federal Government’s actions are illegal because its and the EU plans violate international law. If the Western governments were to make their criticisms in the Security Council, or if they were to refer the international jurisdiction to the election event in Belarus, there would be no objection to it. But there is no mention of this, even in the Tagesschau. A public news provider cannot disregard its legal obligation to provide comprehensive, complete information. Typical headlines: “EU prepares sanctions against Belarus.” “The EU does not want to accept Lukashenko’s victory in the presidential election.” Questions about the EU’s competence are not even asked.
Accusations, no evidence
A majority of Belarusians (whether 51 percent or 80.9 percent are basically irrelevant here) did not actually vote according to the wishes of the EU and the US, namely anti-Russian. What is left for their self-proclaimed champions of democracy and human rights to be invalidated and new elections? Destruction is the slogan, in all conceivable variants.
The “planned” sanctions, however, are only a nasty laughing stock, comparable to the handle to the cane in the schools in Emperor Willem’s time; characteristic of the European ‘value vest’ as well as shameful. The accusation that the elections in Belarus were falsified is obvious, but so far it is nothing more than a mere claim. It just isn’t proven. Even the ARD-current fact-finder had to admit: “So it was difficult to understand whether and to what extent common forgery methods were used.”
Nevertheless, at the end of the EU’s “Special Summit on Belarus”, Chancellor Merkel was allowed to sing in the Tagesschau: “Belarus must find its way for itself. There must be dialogue within the country and there must be no outside interference”. From the studio-off, their lack of style was enriched by the explanation: “A message that was also addressed to Belarus’s great eastern neighbours, to Russia and President Putin.” The overdue hint that the EU special summit was also a blatant interference, an affront to Minsk and Moscow, was, of course, absent. Dito that the chancellor should have grabbed her own nose in her warning.
In the run-up to the special summit, Foreign Minister Maas had tweeted about a conference with his colleagues: “As the EU, we have demonstrated unity with Belarus and made it clear that we do not recognise the election result there. … We also defend our values beyond our external borders.” The most worthy of our value vest once again took an opportunity to live out his foreign policy incompetence and strategic infalliacy as a “front defense”. The Daily Show is always at his disposal as a consolation. It is far from critical of the government and, if necessary, knocking on the door.
Lunte on the powder keg
The Maidan is located in Kiev, not in Minsk. Maas cannot intrigue in Belarus today just as much as his predecessor Steinmeier once did in Ukraine. In order to show (not only) Maas the consequences of “defending values beyond our external borders”, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has had an association with tactical “Iskander” nuclear missiles moved to the western border of Russia.
So the alarm bells would have to ring, but in the tagesschau it doesn’t even buzz. It practises the concealment of such information, dull and diligent lypits the government as it is; a state radio operator, disguised with a public-law mantle. His editorial activists do not even dare to take an Alka-Seltzer without explicit permission when their skulls are buzzing with the dope of the transatlantic news agencies.