Neither White nor Red

Russian Media Narratives About Protests Against Lukashenko

1 September 2020

Politically colour-blind Moscow sees Belarusian revolution in Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian colours.

The revolution of freedom in Belarus, which has attracted the attention of the whole world for the third week in a row, is currently one of the main topics in Russian media as well. Independent and pro-democratic media platforms, which operate under strong administrative pressure from the state, convey true and unbiased information to their modest audience.

These authors express sympathy with the struggle of Belarusians against the bloody tyrant who, after the massive falsification of the presidential election and the expulsion of the real winner abroad, sent OMON troops onto the streets against protesting voters.

An image of Lukashenko coming out of his residence with a gun has been quickly turned into memes by the public

While independent pro-democratic Russian media platforms present a fairly adequate picture of what is happening in the neighbouring state and bring their Russian audience closer to the unimaginable human tragedy and incredible civic courage of Belarusians, pro-government media with a clear advantage in Russia’s media space (better technical capacities and a much broader audience) have de facto sided with the dictator, who though politically defeated, is still in control of a functional repressive apparatus.

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Grigorij Mesežnikov

Grigorij Mesežnikov is a political scientist and the President of the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) in Slovakia. He has published expert studies on party systems’ development and political aspects of transformation in post-communist societies, illiberal and authoritarian tendencies, populism, nationalism and hybrid threats in various monographs, collections and scholarly journals in Slovakia and other countries.

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