Further: The cheapest public transport in Europe; The eco agenda is at the top in Belarus, and Stalin is mentioned in the constitutions of China and Korea. Top-5 Fake News spotted by the Weekly Top Fake team.

Fake #1 Lukashenko defended MAZ from investors

Fake appearance date: 29.11.2023

Thanks to its withdrawal from cooperation with foreign investors, the Belarusian authorities saved the Minsk Automobile Plant. The  Belarusian state-run news agency BelTA reported this on November 29.

“May industrial giants be in Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko has been saying.  The very enterprises had been supporting the entire Belarusian economy during tough times. The government managed to save them and take them to a completely new level. <…>

Thanks to cooperation with the German automobile industry,  manufacturers MAN and Neoplan, the Minsk Automobile Plant stayed afloat in the 90s. But the Belarusian enterprise never caught the bait of European companies. Therefore, the partnership was short-lived. As time has shown, Belarus has gotten only benefits from this,” the propagandists said in their fake news.

The financial condition data of MAZ indicates the opposite. The company was unprofitable from 2014 to 2018. Then in 2019, a plant with over 15 thousand employees got a net profit of BYN 33 thousand. In 2021, the plant’s profit increased to BYN 364 thousand.

However, the company’s debts amounted to BYN 454.86 million, and the uncovered loss on the balance sheet was BYN 441 million.

Data for 2022 is not publicly available, but according to Lukashenko’s statements, the financial situation of MAZ is difficult so far.

“About MAZ. The enterprise was driven into a swamp, there is no money, it is unable to operate, they came to the budget,” he stated at a meeting with the leadership of the Council of Ministers on February 14, 2023.

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Fake #2 Ecology is a highlighted issue in Belarus

Fake appearance date: 30.11.2023

On December 1, Alexander Lukashenko took part in the COP28 World Climate Action Summit in Dubai.

In his speech, Lukashenko said that Minsk has been fulfilling its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while Western countries have spent money on wars rather than solving climate problems.

The day before, Vadim Gigin, political scientist and historian from the state propaganda side, reported on Alfa Radio that The topic of ecology was given great importance in Belarus, unlike in the United States.

“Right now there’s nothing even close to being on the American agenda, neither in the background, nor at third, nor at fifth place. This topic does not generally exist. But this does not mean that the topic is not important, and this is the very importance of this summit. <…> Let’s turn our faces to the truly pressing agenda, that determines the fate of humanity. It’s not the war that determines fate,” he said.

Six months earlier, Gigin called this topic “rubbish”.

«The so-called green agenda is manipulative things aimed at distracting public opinion from the real problems that concern the United States; it is part of this oligarchic system, one of the methods designed to control public opinion. The United States faces real challenges, including economic ones. <…> All this rubbish is designed to distract attention,” he said on the state-run TV STV on May 7.

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Fake #3 Chulpan Khamatova was kicked out of a restaurant in Riga for speaking Russian

Fake appearance date: 24.11.2023

Russian actress Chulpan Khamatova, who has relocated to Latvia because of the war, was kicked out of a restaurant in Riga for speaking Russian. This fake news was reported by Kirill Kazakov, editor-in-chief of the state-run newspaper “Minsk Courier” on the air of  “Radio Minsk” on November 24.

“Chulpan Khamatova was kicked out of a Riga restaurant for speaking Russian. This is called the law of karma. The person fled from Russia, and as a result came to Riga, where she lives, tried to learn the language, and performed in the theater in this language, she spoke Russian, her native language, and was kicked out of the restaurant. What a blow!” he said

This incident was reported by the Russian press.

There was mentioned restaurant “Čemodāns” in those articles. The restaurant officially denied the fake news on its Facebook page.

«Dear friends, following the recent circumstances of the false information reported in the media, we inform you that our restaurant “Čemodāns” is tolerant of every person. We do not discriminate against anyone and do not condemn anyone for their moral and ethical values!

Our staff speaks different languages ​​and treats every client with respect,” the “Čemodāns” team said in their post on November 26th.

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Fake #4 Stalin is mentioned in the constitutions of many countries around the world

Fake appearance date: 28.11.2023

Belarusians must stop criticizing the repressions of the Soviet Union and start to treat Stalin's legacy with honor. Such a suggestion was expressed by top propagandist of the Belarusian regime Grigory Azarenok on the air of the programm “Azarenok. Napryamuyu" on  November 28:

“Kurapaty, Kurapaty... Crazy people are running around: oh, repression, repression, repression… Not realizing that with these cries and this madness, we are spitting in the faces of hundreds of millions of people, peoples whose constitutions include Stalin. In the constitutions of China, Korea, Latin American countries, Vietnam... Stalin, Lenin, and so on, and so on.”

There is nothing mentioned of Joseph Stalin in the basic laws of the countries which Azarenok told about. The Chinese constitution says about Marxism-Leninism, the ideas of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Xi Jinping. In Vietnam — Marxism-Leninism and the ideas of Ho Chi Minh. In North Korea — Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. And there is only mention of Simon Bolivar In the Venezuelan constitution.

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Fake #5 Belarus has the cheapest public transport in Europe

Fake appearance date: 28.11.2023

Belarus is the only European country in which the government subsidizes the transportation of passengers by public transport. Such a statement was made by Sergei Klishevich, a House of Representatives member, on the air of Radio Minsk on November 28.

“80% is paid for by citizens, 20% is subsidized [by the state], no one earns a penny; public transport is subsidized by 20% of the budget. It's not the case in any European country today. Everywhere, a citizen also pays a margin, a profit to the owner of this business in addition to the cost. In Belarus it is a state enterprise,” he claimed

Several European countries provide free travel on public transport, for example,  Luxembourg and Malta. Spain introdused temporary free travel on regional trains. There is free public transport in Tallinn. And there is no charge for public transport in more than 40 cities in France.

In Berlin, public transport is 50% subsidized by the government. They plan to introduce a monthly ticket for all types of transport within the city next year.

It will cost €29. In Minsk, a similar pass costs about 50 rubles (about €15), 2 times cheaper than for Berliners. Meanwhile, Minsk residents earn on average 4 times less than Berliners.

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