Russia’s state-run Channel 1 accuses Belarusian independent media of anti-Russian sentiment.
In a news story aired on Sunday evening, special attention was given to the work of Belsat TV (starting 3:30, video in Russian).
“It may look like a Belarusian TV channel and broadcast in the Belarusian language, but it belongs to the Polish government, its office is located in Warsaw. It is the Belsat TV which has been saying for many years that Russia is going to invade the territory of Belarus.”
Pro-Kremlin journalists blast Belsat for its suspecting president Putin of an intention to have a ‘splendid little war’ i the run-up of the 2018 presidential election.
Katerina Kibalchich, a notorious Russian journalist of Belarusian origin, is one of the authors of the news story. Earlier, she repeatedly spoke in defense of Russian-backed separatists who seized some areas of Ukraine’s Donbas.
“The fact is that it is [Ukrainian journalist] Andrey Santarovich and [Belarusian political scientist] Arsen Sivitski who were the first to raise the question if the Russian threat. It happened not ‘years ago’, but in November, 2016. Belsat TV just spread the word,” Belsat journalist Syarhei Pelyasa says.
“The number of Belarusians who believe provocative rumors is growing,” Kibalchich warns.
The Russian journalists also slammed other independent media outlets – charter97.org and naviny.by – for ‘hate mongering’ between Russians and Belarusians.
According to the authors, the West backs various cultural and youth programs in which Belarusians are often involved. “It is good, but it the end it turns out that their participants burn with hatred for Russia,” they say and add that the opinions of young people are shaped by the ‘Belarusian elite’ who ‘live at the expense of U.S. and European funds’.
“If we do not have an official in charge of relations with Belarus, we may lose it, and no gas or oil discount will help. We will lose it as we lost Ukraine unless we build a good and positive image of Russia in the eyes of the people, “warns the Russian political scientist Oleg Bondarenko.
Alexei Gromyko, the grandson of the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, shares Bondarenko’s opinion. He stresses that Belarus is interested in economic cooperation with Russia, while Russia needs military cooperation with Belarus. Gromyko also warns the Russian authorities against talking down to Belarus.
Statements degrading Belarus’s statehood and language may pave the way for ‘anti-Russian Majdan’, Channel 1 believes.
Interestingly, a week ago activists of the Russian organization ‘The National Liberation Movement’ (NOD) held a picket in the center of the Belarusian capital.