Abstract. The article considers and compares the Belarusian protests from the point of view of the Russian and Polish media spaces, as an aspect of the information war between Russia and the West. The areas of discussion between Russia and Poland (as the West’s main representative in Belarus) are the fairness of the Belarusian protest, the Lukashenko’s legitimacy, the role of Western governments in the Belarusian protests and their consequences for Russia. The post-election crisis showed all the absurdity of the archaic nature of the Lukashenko regime. This disclosure is clearly visible in the Polish media and less clearly in the Russian ones, contrary to the intentions of the latter.
Keywords: Belarus, post-election protests, Russian propaganda, polish media sphere
THE RELEVANCE OF RESEARCH
On the night of the presidential elections in Belarus, which took place on August 9, 2020, the street protests and other manifestations of disobedience to the Lukashenko’s regime began in this country, which continue to this day. It happened so, that as a result of these events Belarus became a point of conflict between the interests of the collective West, which supports the Belarusian protest, and Russia, which supports Lukashenko.
Russia is a clear example of a reactionary state that seeks to defend the status quo both on the territory of the former USSR and beyond. In the context of political instability in Belarus, Russia not only supports Lukashenko economically and politically, but also defends his regime with significant information resources. The Belarusian protests are one of the fundamental issues on the agenda of the Russian media, which has dominated the Belarusian information space for decades. When Belarusian state media outlets disobeyed the regime and began to show solidarity with the protesters in one way or another, the Lukashenko regime replaced them with Russian specialists (see Alexander Volvachev’s article1).
Naturally, Belarus’ immediate western neighbors are most active in supporting the protests. First of all it’s Poland, which today is the main stronghold for the Belarusian opposition. The main information resources of the protest, from Belsat TV to Nexta telegram channel, are based in Poland. Protests in Belarus, which have been going on for several weeks, are widely commented on by the Polish mainstream media. The Polish government is showing similar concern, for two important reasons, first, because Belarus is one of Poland’s largest neighbors, which has a direct impact on the sense of national security; secondly, in this country lives about 40% of the population with Polish roots, which is one of the largest Polish minorities outside the country. If the revolution in Belarus succeeds, this country will have a chance to embark on the path of democratization and integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, and this is what the other Central and Eastern European countries are primarily interested in.
Thus, the purpose of the article is to single out informational messages related to the Belarusian protests in the media of Russia and Poland, to compare and contrast them, obtaining a holistic picture of the information war for Belarus between Russia and the West.
PhD in social communication, associate professor of the Department of Foreign Press and Information, the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine
Master of Journalism and Social Communication, University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow, Poland, independent journalist, Poland
1 Вольвачёв, А. (2020). Российские политтехнологи в Беларуси работают на Кремль. Media IQ. Режим доступа: https://mediaiq.by/article/rossiyskie–polittehnologi–v–belarusi–rabotayut–na–kreml