The hybrid war that Belarus is waging with the EU through the migration crisis on the border between this country and Poland has placed a decisive battle of disinformation in the forefront that aims to polarize European society and destabilize the Union.
Getting the message across that the EU is not really as supportive as it presumes with immigrants from areas of the planet in which it has intervened, and that it is not equally supportive with all its member countries, is one of the goals of this strategy, which It also incites xenophobia in the face of Muslim immigration, to which it attributes criminal behavior.
All this amplified both by the media and social networks as well as by statements by diplomats and senior officials from Russia and Belarus, where the authorities facilitate the arrival at the dead end of the border with Poland to some migrants pushed by hope, but also by deception of some traffickers who promise non-existent aid to the other side.

Waves of migrants after the sanctions on Belarus

The current migration crisis with Belarus worsened earlier this week with hundreds of attempts to cross the Polish border illegally every night by immigrants from the Middle East, mainly Kurds from Iraq, but also Syrians and Iranians.
There are already thousands of immigrants, including many women and children, who are concentrated in no man’s land, since Poland has erected a barbed wire fence and approved measures that allow forcible expulsion, while Belarus abrogated the readmission agreement with the EU .
Poland maintains some 15,000 soldiers -reinforced by members of a paramilitary corps of reservists and volunteers- on this border, where at least 11 people have died in the last two months due to the cold and the poor conditions of the settlements.
The origin of the crisis dates back to the beginning of July, after the EU sanctions against Belarus for violating human rights and repressing opponents, when the Lithuanian border guard detained in a single day twice as many Middle Eastern immigrants from Belarusian territory than in the entire year 2020.
That situation extended to the borders with Latvia and Poland during the following weeks, while the Belarusian president, Aleksandr Lukashenko, responded to criticism from the West with phrases such as “We stopped immigrants, Now you’re going to catch them yourselves.”

Disinformation to destabilize the EU
Faced with the escalation of this humanitarian drama, the EU denies that it is a “migratory crisis” and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, describes it as a Belarusian attempt to “instrument the migrants” to destabilize the EU countries. Poland, for its part, openly qualifies it as a hybrid war.
But, what is a hybrid war

Well, the one that, to encourage a latent conflict, uses unconventional procedures, from terrorism or provocation in the streets to economic or energy blackmail, cyber attacks or, as is happening now, migratory pressure
And disinformation is also a key instrument in a hybrid war. In this case with an “enormous role”, underlines the researcher from the Elcano Royal Institute Mira Milosevich, an expert in Russia and Eastern Europe, who explains that Lukashenko’s objective is “the destabilization of the EU through one of its most vulnerable: the politics of immigration and political asylum”.
To this end, Belarus “takes advantage of Europe’s vulnerability” to “deepen social polarization” and uses the strategy of showing “with half-truths” that the EU “is not in solidarity” with the populations of the countries where it has intervened (Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria…) nor with all the member partners of the Union equally.

The accusations that Poland violates the community legislation on immigration and political asylum, disseminated both in the media and social networks as well as through statements by diplomats and high-ranking Belarusian and Russian officials, thus form part of this “provocation” strategy to demonstrate that the EU is not really as supportive as it claims to be, stresses Milosevic.
This expert also sees in this crisis a second level of misinformation: that of publications that propagate the idea that immigration raises the risk of criminal acts, in order to “increase panic” in European populations that already react with prejudice to the Muslim immigrants.
Milosevich does not believe, however, that the Minsk government directs disinformation strategies to the migrants themselves, but rather “a message of hope” and “empty promises” that the Belarusians “more or less” are fulfilling: “They promise them transportation, a visa to enter the country, which is issued very quickly, and that they will open the border with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia”.
In any case, the migrants are victims of deception by those who profit from these transfers promoted by Belarusians: Iraqi Kurds who landed in Minsk with a tourist visa reported in July to the Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT) that they had been driven in a van to the Lithuanian border with the false promise that a vehicle was waiting for them on the other side and instead they were arrested.

Hostages of the political game and instruments of pressure

Apart from deceptions of this type, the waves coming from the Middle East are the consequence of publicity campaigns in which Belarus appears as a transit country towards the EU and, although the Lukashenko government denies it, it is the Belarusian regime that organizes this continuous flow of immigrants.
This was explained by the Belarusian lawyer Aliona Chejovich, an immigration expert, who specified that tourist agencies and tour operators dependent on the Belarusian Presidential Administration participate and benefit from this campaign, in which migrants pay up to 15,000 dollars in exchange for a tourist visa. , accommodation in Minsk and some transfer to the border.
Finally, they end up detained by the Poles, who return them to Belarus by force and sometimes even after bribing Belarusian border guards, says Chejovich.
In short, migrants are used as an instrument of pressure against the EU and hostages of a Belarusian political game, with the support of Russia, in which, according to the East StratCom working group of the European External Action Service, media from the regime of Lukashenko or related to the Kremlin use disinformation to blame the crisis on the European Union and tarnish its external image.

Previous articleAlternative accommodation, a growing trend to spend the summer holidays
Next articleElisabetta Belloni, curriculum and private life of the new director of Dis (in place of Contiano Vecchione)