Antifake / Factcheck

31 January

Top-5 Fake News. Germany rewriting World War II history & Ukraine spent over one billion dollars on fake news about its Armed Forces' success

Further: Belarus is among the most technologically advanced countries, as well in the top 5 countries engaged in COVID-19 vaccine development; & Hi-tech park resident companies increased in Belarus. Top-5 Fake News spotted by the Weekly Top Fake team.

Fake #1 Belarus is among the most technologically advanced countries

Fake appearance date: 19.01.2024

Belarus has achieved outstanding technological advancement thanks to the leadership of Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarusian pro-government political scientist Alexei Dzermant said.

Here is what he in particular claimed on the air of the program “Azarenok. Napryamuyu” on January 19:

“Things go forward and moving here. We think about how to advance everything we have and even more. To be honest, I don’t even know examples of such countries. Maybe once upon a time the Koreans, Singapore, Japan and China did all this. And we are an example of modernization. Technological”.

Over the past 10 years, Belarus' ranking in the Global Innovation Index has decreased. The country was ranked 77th in 2013, then 53rd in 2015, but dropped to 80th in 2023.

While South Korea's ranking rose from 18th place to 10th, Japan’s — from 22nd to 13th, China’s — from 35th to 12th, and Singapore’s — from 8th to 5th over the same period.

With the economy growing rapidly between 1968 and 1990, Singapore increased its GDP tenfold. Over the same time, South Korea increased its GDP 16 times. For the last 30 years, Belarus has only doubled its GDP.

Fake #2 Germany rewriting the World War II history

Fake appearance date: 17.01.2024

Kirill Kazakov, editor-in-chief of the Belarus state-run newspaper Minsk Courier, accused the German authorities of suppressing the truth about World War II.

“In Dresden, the memorial plaque in honor of the hundreds of thousands dead Dresden residents, who died from the bombing of Britain and the USA in the spring of 1945, was removed. Thus, honestly speaking, this event also needs to be forgotten, no one has bombed the Germans,” he said on the air of Radio Minsk on January 17.

About 25 thousand people died in the bombing of Dresden. The memorial plaque dedicated to this fact of history was not just removed but was replaced in another location.

Before, there was a bench engraved with a dedication to the victims of the bombing. But the city authorities decided that it was not a proper place, because people had often found themselves with their backs to the message. Thus, a commemorative inscription was finally placed on a stele installed not far from this place.

Fake #3 Belarus increased Hi-Tech Park resident companies

Fake appearance date: 23.01.2024

Hi-Tech Park in Belarus continues to develop successfully, according to Aleksey Belyaev, dean of the Faculty of Journalism at Belarussian State University.

«The Belarusian state went to great lengths to create favorable tax conditions and, simply,  living conditions. Some of these so-called IT specialists and the IT public did not appreciate all the delights that being in Belarus as a resident provided them with. We see that someone has relocated, someone has left the country.<...> And generally, we still continue… Hi-Tech Park is growing, and the number of its residents is increasing,” he claimed on the air of the Radio Alfa on January 23. 

According to data published on the Hi-Tech Park website, in 2023 the number of its residents decreased by 47 companies — from 1065 to 1018.

In Belarus' GDP, the share of the information and communications sector lowered — from 7.4% in 2021 to 4.5% in 2023.

Fake #4 Ukraine spent $1.2 billion on fake news about the success of the Ukrainian Armed Forces

Fake appearance date: 12.01.2024

The Ukrainian authorities spent $1.2 billion on the services of British PR specialists, as comes from a video marked with the BBC logo, which was published by the Telegram channel BelVestnik on January 12. 

Here's what the mentioned above post reported:

“During 2023, the leading Britain PR companies were creating fake news about the victories of the Ukrainian army at the front. But finally, [Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy] Ermak refused to renew the contract for 2024 with the British since their activities “in no way contributed to increasing the attractiveness of mobilization in Ukraine”. Thus, the money was wasted (or stolen according to the old Ukrainian tradition).”

There is no such video on the BBC website or its social networks. The very video was made from sequences that have nothing to do with what is being told in the fake story.

For example, a photograph of Ukrainian military IT specialists sitting at laptops was taken in 2018 during NATO and partner country exercises. A video interview with Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins was shot for Deutsche Welle in 2022. He talked about the Russian media disinformation regarding the Bellingcat activities. The footage of Ukrainian soldiers lined up originated from a music video by singer Lusya Kava.

Fake #5 Belarus is among the top five countries producing vaccines against COVID-19

Fake appearance date: 19.01.2024

In the world, only four countries produce COVID-19 vaccines similar to those registered in Belarus on December 27, 2023. Both TV presenter Vadim Elfimov and deputy Sergei Dik came to a conclusion during the conversation on the air of Radio Minsk on January 19.

“Belarus’s own pharmaceutical industry can, and today it has proven it, repel any epidemic. Moreover, it will be cheap, effective and fast. And today we can even boast. Why not? The Belarusian vaccine against COVID-19 is already a reality,” the host said.

“How many highly developed countries can boast of their vaccine? I think not much. Enough fingers of my hands, to list them,” the deputy added. 

“Whatever, let’s call a spade a spade. This is the USA — there was, let's say, a crappy vaccine, — this is France, this is China and Russia. And today it is also Belarus,” Elfimov said.

The Belarusian vaccine began to be developed in January 2021. It was created three years later. It goes through clinical trials now. The World Health Organization is aware of 400 vaccines against COVID-19 from around the world that are undergoing clinical and preclinical trials. 

China, Russia, the USA, Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, India, Israel, Turkey, Cuba, Australia, Iran, Taiwan, Canada, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other countries have developed their own vaccines against coronavirus.

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