May 27 – June 2, 2024
The ruling elite

Information War 2024: Adjustment of Coordinates

The situation has not changed
Information War 2024: Adjustment of Coordinates

Lukashenka is attempting to adjust the activity of the media vertical. His goal is to expand the consumer base for the regime’s ideology. The politician has demanded that pro-government journalists “soften” the language of propaganda and the anti-Ukraine stance. This is likely to lead to personnel changes in state media.

Lukashenka gathered the media vertical, ideologues, and propagandists at the Belarusian media community forum. The politician outlined the framework for the activity of the state media vertical and the principles of the “information war” a year before the presidential elections.

Lukashenka emphasized the importance of maintenance of the media’s propagandistic function to promote the strategic and current interests of the ruling class.

The politician outlined the scope for propagandists—recent popularity should not be very high (according to Lukashenka’s personal feelings). This may indicate a certain redistribution of resources and positions within the media vertical. Most likely, the influence of one of the most odious propagandists, Grigory Azaronok, may decrease. As a result of the criticism, it’s likely that there will also be a softening of hate speech on state media channels.

The ruling class has consolidated the state apparatus, security forces, and the public sector. As a result, Lukashenka now demands from the propagandists softer methods of influencing the audience. Most likely, the regime aims to expand support for state institutions and soften societal divisions ahead of the 2025 presidential elections.

It is worth noting that the ruling class often criticizes the harsh approaches, rhetoric, and views of the regime’s most odious propagandists.

Lukashenka has also demanded to soften the rhetoric towards Ukraine. Most likely, the target audience of this rhetoric is foreign capitals. The dictator is trying to influence the strained relations with official Kyiv and, in the long term, hopes to restore Belarusian-European contacts.

Thus, it is unlikely that the ruling class will ease repression in the coming months. However, most likely, propagandists will adjust their rhetoric in attempts to broaden trust from a “neutral” audience.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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