Currently, in the territory of Lithuania a pre-trial criminal investigation into the defamation of a human rights defender Olga Karach in the article of Nasha Niva is conducted. Nasha Niva journalist is facing up to 2 years of imprisonment in Lithuania.
Nasha Niva has deliberately spreading fake news and falsely accused Olga Karach of committing aggravated criminal offences in its publications:
- 1. Direct accusation of elimination of her competition, i.e. of murder. In the article of march 13, 2021, exuberantly titled “Who is Olga Karach who wants to steal the seat of Tsikhanouskaya?” (In its article, Nasha Niva does not prove in anyway even this thesis from the title) Nasha Niva is describing the “personality of Olga Karach” and is writing that allegedly the main rival of Olga Karach, who allegedly she was an enemy with, mysteriously disappeared in the 90s, and nobody has ever known where he is. There is a direct hint that Olga Karach somehow eliminated her rival, or, to put it in simple words, murdered him.
Quote from Nasha Niva: “The relation of Karach and Korban was not very good. Yury was always standing on Belarusian patriotic position, while around Karach the Russian-speaking youth was united. Yury Korban mysteriously disappeared in the early 2000s, till now nothing is clear about what happened to him.”
- 2. Hint about kidnapping a child. Nasha Niva allows itself to blatantly comment on personal life of the woman human rights defender, distorting the facts and making references to anonymous opinions.
Quote from Nasha Niva: “The couple has two children: Sviataslau and Maryia. The son was born in 2014 in Ukraine during the EuroMaidan. People who know Olga very well, say they do not remember her being pregnant for a day (the article “Who is Olga Karach who wants to steal the seat of Tsikhanouskaya?)
- 3. Direct accusation that Olga Karach is allegedly working for Russian special services and is involved in the provocation against the political scientist Aliaksandr Fiaduta and the lawyer Youras Ziankovich and their arrest in Moscow (article “Makar quarreled with Karach saying that Ziankovich flew to Moscow under the security guarantees given by her”).
Accusation of working for the Russian special services and helping them to arrest people is a serious crime.
In spite of the testimony of Mr. Fiaduta and Mr. Ziankovich in court disproving the accusation of involvement of Olga Karach in their arrest (they said that an enforcer by surname Zhurausky from Belarus was involved in their arrest), Nasha Niva, till now, has not apologized to Olga Karach for spreading that misinformation and has never published any retraction, which shows that the aim of the publication was not to find the truth, but make an attempt to discredit the human rights defender.
- 4. Direct accusation that Olga Karach ordered assassination of Andrej Stryzhak, the founder of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s affiliated BYSOL Foundation (article of Nasha Niva of May 29, 2022 “Ihar Makar: Pavel Kulazhanka offered to blackmail or to poison Andrej Stryzhak”).
In that article in Nasha Niva, former Belarusian enforcer Ihar Makar, who had been granted political asylum in Lithuania, accused Olga Karach that on December 28, 2020, she allegedly ordered to murder Andrej Stryzhak, the head of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s affiliated structures BYSOL and BYHELP.
In three years, there has never been any fact of attempted murder of Andrej Stryzhak neither by Olga Karach, nor by Pavel Kulazhanka.
The article appeared several days after the Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment had publicly accused Andrej Stryzhak of corruption and demonstrated 8 helmets they had received from Andrej Stryzhak. At the moment, Pavel Kulazhanka was on of the most famous fighters of Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment.
In two years, that passed between the alleged conspiracy to commit the crime of murder and the publication of the article in Nasha Niva, Ihar Makar never turned neither to the police nor to any other authority on that issue, and has made no attempt to warn Andrej Stryzhak about the supposed crime allegedly planned against him.
The following fake news are also spread in the article of Nasha Niva “Who is Olga Karach who wants to steal the seat of Tsikhanouskaya?”:
- 1. A fake from Nasha Niva: Olga Karach is a teacher of the Russian language and Russian literature for ideological reasons.
The truth: According to the university diploma, Olga Karach is a teacher of the Russian language and Russian literature and the Belarusian language and the Belarusian literature. However, she was forcefully assigned, as a victim of modern slavery, to work at a school as a teacher of the English language.
Why did Nasha Niva distort the information about Olga Karach’s education?
Nasha Niva failed to mention the fact that Olga Karach is a teacher of the Belarusian language and Belarusian literature according to her diploma, as well that she worked as an English language teacher according to the forceful assignment, because Nasha Niva tried to create a consistent image of Olga Karach as of a pro-Putin Russian-world teacher among its readers.
We’d like to draw your attention to the fact, that it is after having read the fakes in that article of Nasha Niva, distorting the information about the education of Olga Karach, the Lithuanian politician Imantas Melianas made his far-reaching conclusion that she is pro-Putin (and he wrote about that in his article on the media resource Alfa).
- 2. A fake from Nasha Niva: “Actually, at that moment, at the end of the 90s, there were two centers of active youth life in Vitebsk: the “Seventh Side” and the Center for Youth Initiatives Kontur, headed by Yury Korban. The relation of Karach and Korban was not very good. Yury was always standing on Belarusian patriotic position, while around Karach the Russian-speaking youth was united.
The truth: there weren’t any two warring youth centers in Vitebsk, there could not be. It was the late 90s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and coming to power and strengthening of the young dictatorship of Lukashenka. There was no distinct civil society at all, it just started to form, and was forming, of course, on the basis of the existing opposition center, which at the moment was the Belarusian Popular Front and its affiliated structures of resource centers (similar to Lietuvos Sąjūdis in Lithuania). Even the parties had just started to form at that moment. The resource centers made part of the Belarusian Association of the Resource Centers, which was headed by Aliaksandr Milinkevich from Grodno, who later became a single candidate from the opposition at the presidential election of 2006. There was only one resource center in Vitebsk, the Leu Sapega Foundation. On the basis of the foundation the Coordination Council (Rada) of the Democratic Forces (CRDF) of the Vitebsk region was created, in which Olga Karach was the secretary, and as the secretary she represented the CRDF in Vitebsk region in the National CRDF. Kontur and the Sevent Side were small youth clubs from at least 20-30 similar youth clubs, to which the Resource Center was providing premises.
Why did Nasha Niva distort the information about Olga Karach’s education?
That way, Nasha Niva tried to create among its readers the impression, that there was the “right” Korban and his patriotic pro-Belarusian organization Kontur, and the “wrong” “Russian-world” Olga Karach and her pro-Russian organization The Seventh Side, and also made a hint that the “wrong” Olga Karach dealt away with the rival, and he disappeared. That discrediting scheme of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s affiliated media was very convenient to further include also the article about the supposed “contract murder” of Stryzhak.
- 3. A fake from Nasha Niva: for over a decade Karach has lived in Vilnius.
The truth: Olga Karach entered the territory of Lithuania on March 15, 2020, and has been living in Vilnius since.
Why did Nasha Niva lie about the “decade of living in Vilnius” of Olga Karach?
Nasha Niva tried to create an impression that Olga Karach had long retired and had not been involved in the public life Belarus at all, and does not understand anything in politics.
- 4. Fake from Nasha Niva (quote): “Olga Karach has never concealed her pro-Russian views. For example, she refused to participate in the elections 2015, because the candidate from Our House was not supported by Moscow”.
The truth: (direct quote of Olga in the interview given to Radio Svoboda): “Currently (in 2015) the situation develops in such a way, that only one candidate can win in Belarus, and it’s not Aliaksandr Lukashenka. It’s the candidate who will be supported by Vladimir Putin. I personally consider that situation unbelievable, since I do not see the logics according to which Vladimir Putin should support Our House. Because we have moral values, and they are directly opposite to the interests of Russia. Therefore, I do not consider it logical that Russia would support us.”
Why did Nasha Niva misquote Olga Karach completely changing the meaning of what she had said?
Nasha Niva is stubbornly trying to create the image of Olga Karach as of an agent of Putin and the Kremlin among its readers. In order to do that, she radically and drastically changed the meaning of Olga Karach’s quote, in which the human rights defender directly says that her moral values are directly opposite to Putin’s interests.
- 5. Fake from Nasha Niva (quote): “in autumn huge sums of money were invested into the YouTube channel of Karach; she started her own promotion”.
The truth: no money was spent on promotion of Olga Karach’s YouTube channel at all. Our House had had two consequent small projects for Western partner, which paid only for the studio, for Olga’s makeup and hairdressing, and for the work of one technical employee. Our House has not paid a cent for the promotion of its YouTube channel.
Why did Nasha Niva lie about “huge money for the promotion” of Olga Karach?
Nasha Niva is trying to create a picture among its readers, that the Kremlin is standing behind Olga Karach, investing huge money to promote her in order to “steal the seat from Tsikhanouskaya”.
- 6. Fake from Nasha Niva (quote): “Karach does not mind using Russian troll factory in her work. Most of such trolls do not cover themselves up a lot, and are writing in plain text “Byelorussia”
The truth: Olga Karach and Our House have never used any Russian troll factory. Quite on the contrary, Our House had to create and mobilize its own group of volunteers to clean the comments of the YouTube channel of the Russian trolls.
Why did Nasha Niva lie about the supposed usage of the “Russian troll factory” by Olga Karach?
Again and again, Nasha Niva is trying to create a picture among its readers, that the Kremlin is standing behind Olga Karach, investing huge money to promote her, and in order to do that, has even given her a whole “troll factory”.
Fake from Nasha Niva (quote): “Karach is connected by old friendship to the Lithuanian businesswoman of Belarusian origin, Natalia Kolegova. It is exactly that woman, who came to the attention of the security forces for allegedly fraudulent schemes of placement of migrants in Lithuania. Knowledgeable people say that Kolegova has built her name on dubious schemes of issue of resident permits to the citizens of Belarus in Lithuania through pseudo-entrepreneurial structures which she has been registering in huge quantities.”
The truth: the Lithuanian law enforcement had no issues with Natalia Kolegova neither in 2021, nor in 2022, and have not have issues with her in 2023. Lithuanian state authorities have never accused and are not accusing Natalia Kolegova of “false entrepreneurship” All that are fantasies of Nasha Niva, based on a publication of the blogger Indrė Makaraitytė, who is also a journalist of LRT, ordered by Andrej Stryzhak and his assistant Sandra Golbreikh, to which both Stryzhak and Golbreikh directly admit in an audio recording.
Why did Nasha Niva lie and invent “fraudulent schemes”?
Nasha Niva is trying to create an impression among its readers that Olga Karach is allegedly surrounded by fraudsters and scammers, making a hint, that Olga Karach is friends with fraudsters.
Fake from Nasha Niva (quote): “Kolegova at once reacted with hostility to the new political entities that found refuge in Vilnius. The thing is, they practically put an end to her business.”
The truth: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and her headquarters have never dealt with and are not dealing with renting of apartments in Vilnius, so they cannot be competition to Natalia Kolegova in that sphere, therefore, they could not “put an end to the business of Kolegova”.
At the same time, separately from her business, practically without interfering with it, from the very first day of the protests 2020, Natalia Kolegova started organizing numerous solidarity actions to support Belarusians. It is thanks to her effort, that the Memorial dedicated to the Belarusians killed in the protests was created near the Belarusian embassy, where every evening candles are lit to commemorate those who perished. The Memorial has been renewed for already 700 days.
In these two years, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has visited the Memorial only twice.
Even on August 9, 2022, on the second anniversary of the beginning of the protests, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya did not visit the Memorial dedicated to the killed Belarusians. However, Dapamoga, Our House and other Belarusian organizations not related to the headquarters of Tsikhanouskaya, on August 9, 2022, held a Requiem Action there in the memory of the people who perished.
The Memorial has been particularly attacked by Lithuanian far-right men with pro-Kremlin views. Currently, the Lithuanian blogger Laurynas Ragelskis is on trial for desecration of the Memorial and for incitement to hatred and enmity against Belarusians in Lithuania.
Neither Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya nor her headquarters have not organized even one action of solidarity with Belarusians in Lithuania. Not even one application to hold a street action to support Belarusians in Vilnius has been submitted by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya or her headquarters. The main organizer of all the actions is Dapamoga, headed by Natalia Kolegova (and sometimes by Our House).
Today, Dapamoga of Natalia Kolegova is the biggest organization helping Belarusian refugees, Our House is the second biggest organization providing such help.
Neither Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya nor the headquarters of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya have not been involved in providing help to Belarusian refugees in Lithuania. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s affiliated foundations BYSOL and BYHELP do not help refugees in Lithuania as well.
Also, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya or the headquarters of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya do not provide help to Ukrainian refugees in Lithuania.
Our House and Dapamoga are the two biggest Belarusian organizations in Lithuania, providing help to Ukrainian refugees.
Why did Nasha Niva lie that presence of Tsikhanouskaya in Vilnius “put an end to the business” of Kolegova?
Fake from Nasha Niva (quote): “after Kolegova got under the investigation of Lithuanian law enforcement and journalists, she reduced her activity.”
The truth: Natalia Kolegova has never been under any investigation of the Lithuanian law enforcement.
Moreover, there is an audio recording of a conversation of Stryzhak and his assistant Sandra Golbreikh, in which they directly admit that they “ordered” four articles from LRT against Natalia Kolegova to the blogger Indrė Makaraitytė. Besides the LRT journalist Stryzhak and Golbreikh are talking about, who continues to attack Dapamoga and Our House, not even one other journalist has ever written about investigation held against Kolegova.
Natalia Kolegova has not “reduced her activity”, quite the contrary, in spite of all the attacks of Nasha Niva and Indrė Makaraitytė, she continues to actively help Belarusians, organize actions and events, is actively cooperating with the Lithuanian public authorities.
Why did Nasha Niva lie and invent the “investigation by Lithuanian law enforcement”?
Nasha Niva is trying to create the impression among its readers that Natalia Kolegova very soon will go to jail for “fraudulent schemes” of some kind, that some sort of a serious investigation by some law enforcement structures is being held against her in order to defame the head of the biggest organization helping Belarusian refugees.
Fake from Nasha Niva (quote): “At first, anyone could come to the headquarters of Tsikhanouskaya to get acquainted and start cooperation: Latushka, Prakopyeu and others, but Karach has never been there, although she is also in Vilnius.”
The truth: access to the Headquarters of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and meetings with her have always been strongly limited by the Lithuanian human rights defender, Vytis Jurkonis, the director of the Lithuanian brunch of Freedom House.
However, Olga Karach and Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya met in October, 2020, at Akropolis shopping center and brought their children to play there together. They talked for over two hours. The shopping center Akropolis was chosen as a meeting place for security reasons and by initiative of a number of employees of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s headquarters. After that, during that autumn, Olga Karach visited Tsikhanouskaya’s headquarters at least once that autumn. Olga Karach did not want to become a part of Tsikhanouskaya’s headquarters, because she is a human rights defender and did not want to become a part of a political structure.
Why did Nasha Niva write that?
Nasha Niva is trying to create an impression that Olga Karach secretly got to Vilnius and hid there with bad intentions.
Our House has been registered in Lithuania since 2014 in the framework of the project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, and since then and up to 2020 we were a reliable partner of the MFI, before Vytis Jurkonis started discrediting Our House.
Also, starting from July, 2020, the YouTube channel of Our House showed a great number of almost everyday videos, in which Olga Karach was publicly calling on people to support Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, and one day before the three headquarters united, she had appealed to them to unite, supported that union and publicly supported Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya as a candidate for presidency 2020.
Fake from Nasha Niva (quote): “the attitude of Karach to the Telegram channel “Onoshko Headquarters” which was bombing Stryzhak and the company, is curious. It was Kolegova who gave refuge to that former journalist of Sovetskaya Belorussiya and the secretary of Stryzhak, Sviatlana Haluza, who tried to show compromising evidence on BYSOL.”
The truth: The journalist Sviatlana Haluza has never worked in the biggest propaganda newspaper Sovetskaya Belorussiya. She worked under compulsion, as a victim of modern slavery, at the newspaper Selskaya Gazeta (from 2018 to 2019), and from 2019 to 2020, also under compulsion, as a victim of modern slavery, she worked at the Internet projects department as a news feed editor of sb.by. It is not the propagandist newspaper Sovetskaya Belorussiya / Belarus Today. She has never written any propagandist articles and has never written about the Belarusian opposition.
Facts about the corruption of BYSOL were later confirmed by the Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment in Ukraine (they made two official statements about the corruption of BYSOL), by the biggest strike committee of Belarus “Belaruskali”, and by other structures.
Nasha Niva did not explain how the curious attitude of Olga Karach was manifested, and then once again remembered Natalia Kolegova.
“Onoshko Headquarters” is not a propaganda channel, it is a group of 5 young women, who worked in different headquarters during the elections, campaigning for Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, but encountered in Vilnius facts of corruption and misuse of funds by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s affiliated foundation BYSOL. First, the “Onoshko” girls turned to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and talked to her hoping that she would have a decisive reaction to the whole situation and correct it. However, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya kept silent and started actively covering up BYSOL, refusing to put an end to the corruption.
Due to the lack of desire of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to react to the problem of corruption, to deal with the situation and the attempt to silence those who were trying to speak up that something wrong was going on, those young women united into the Telegram channel “Onoshko Headquarters”. A number of Belarusian diasporas that had also encountered the facts of corruption of the BYSOL Foundation and the strong reluctance of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to deal with those facts, joined them.
Olga Karach has never financed the activity of the “Onoshko Headquarters”, contrary to what Ksenia Lebedeva from the propagandist TV channel ONT and Nasha Niva are saying. “Onoshko Headquarters” is a completely independent information resource, not controlled by anyone.
Why did Nasha Niva lie about the place of work of the journalist Sviatlana Haluza?
Nasha Niva is trying to create a negative impression among its readers that Olga Karach has a “curious attitude” (meaning “supports), and Natalia Kolegova gives refuge to propagandists of the Belarusian regime, who are spreading disinformation and fakes about opposition leaders.
The same fake news that the journalist Sviatlana Haluza allegedly worked in the major propagandist newspaper Sovetskaya Belorussiya is also spread by the letter of Vytis Jurkonis that he sent to the Lithuanian MFA (the correct title of the newspaper, by the way, is Belarus Today).
Fake from Nasha Niva (quote): “Fore a long time, a fraud journalist, Denis Lavnikevich, was hovering about Olga Karach. Lavnikevich was asking Olga Karach for comments in his almost every article for the Russian mass media; fake experts invented by the journalist, were also featured in the article.”
The truth: The article about the supposed investigation of Nasha Niva against the journalist Denis Lavnikevich appeared immediately after Denis Lavnikevich had suspected corruption and started collecting information about the activity of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s affiliated BYSOL Foundation in Ukraine.
Accusations about “fake experts” have no grounds, since no expert that gave comments to the Belarusian journalist Denis Lavnikevich has never publicly questioned his or her authorship and has never publicly denied giving comments to Denis Lavnikevich. Also, no expert has ever filed a complaint with the law enforcement bodies about using his or her name by the journalist Denis Lavnikevich without his or her consent.
Since a lot of criminal cases are opened today in Belarus for critical comments in the mass media, unfortunately, no expert can publicly confirm giving his or her comments without avoiding criminal charges or reprisals.
Nasha Niva called one of the experts, a woman who was in a critical condition at the moment after having suffered a stroke and under the influence of potent drugs.
Besides that, Nasha Niva called her exactly at the moment when mass-scale arrests of people for critical comments on social and mass media were going on. So, of course, the woman denied everything since she did not know who was calling her and with what intentions, and she did not want to get to prison in that poor state of health. We would also deny everything in her situation.
As of today, Denis Lavnikevich is one of the few Belarusian journalists who is in Ukraine, under shelling, and is actively covering the situation in Ukraine, he has been verified by the Security Service of Ukraine and other Ukrainian state bodies.
For his journalist activity in Ukraine, Denis Lavnikevich became a target of the attempted murder: he was tortured, he got to the intensity care unit and spent a lot of time there in a coma.
Why did Nasha Niva write about the so-called “fraudulent” journalist Denis Lavnikevich?
Nasha Niva tried to create an impression that Olga Karach is surrounded by fraudsters and scammers, therefore, she herself is a fraudster and a scammer.
Once again, Nasha Niva is manipulating the public opinion at the end of the article, spreading fakes about Olga Karach through epithets of some anonymous experts: “adventuress” (twice), “willful destruction of unity”, “destruction of authority”, “concentrate all sources of financing on herself”.
Nasha Niva is deliberately forming an opinion about Olga Karach as of a Russian-world agent, actively promoted by the Kremlin, who is “investing enormous money” in her, as well as of a fraudster and adventuress, consciously distorting Olga Karach’s quotes.
There is no even one fact in the article that would prove that, the article is full of false stories, fantasies and distorted information.
No name, no expert is indicated in the article, that Nasha Niva is making reference to there. The article itself is written by an anonymous person.
- Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s affiliated media are used by her and her team to discredit and fight everyone Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya considers to be her competition or those who might become her competition. They use fake news, disinformation, manipulation of facts, false accusations of committing aggravated criminal offences, as well as attempts to manipulate readers’ opinions and create negative image of everyone except Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and her structures.
- Discrediting campaign of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s affiliated media structures, such as Nasha Niva, against the human rights defender Olga Karach is not the only one. Similar bogus stories, fake news and disinformation are used again any alternative structure and alternative democratic leader, from Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment to the politician Zianon Pazniak.
- Nasha Niva is not the only Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s affiliated structure involved in discrediting leaders and structures of the civil society, that are not controlled by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya or refused to join her team. However, it is a vivid example of such.
- All Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s affiliated media structures disguise themselves as independent mass media, but their affiliation and dependency are easily proved by facts. Nasha Niva is not an independent mass media. Even the last publication of Nasha Niva regarding the former “Minister of Finance” of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the financial fraudster Tatsiana Zaretskaya was published only after Tatsiana Zaretskaya had already left Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s structures after a huge scandal.