Our acquaintances from the Information Policy portal have been publishing popular posts based on the results of monitoring Belarusian YouTube channels for a year now. These monitorings have been carried out by the Baltic Internet Policy Initiative research center over the past three years.
We asked them to find out how many views popular videos gather after the end of calendar, media months.
In other words – how long the hype lasts and/or if there are budgets for promotion.
Over 18,000 YouTube posts posted from August 1, 2022, to July 31, 2023, on Belarusian YouTube channels were aggregated. They were then sorted by the number of views these videos gathered during the months they were published.
Here are the first thirty posts:
|Title||Channel||Publication Date||Views in the Month of Publication||Views on 10/08/2023|
|1||⚡Exclusive⚡Soledar. PMC “Wagner” Fighter. Interview snippets. #shorts||Andrey Nikitin||14.01.2023||1,695,978||This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service|
|2||Ukrainian Armed Forces execute three Ukrainian soldiers||SB TV||06.12.2022||8,292,830||8,310,449|
|3||Lukashenko responded to BBC: This will be a full-on brawl!||BelTA News Agency||16.02.2023||6,300,921||7,767,025|
|4||Russian helicopter pilots go into battle for Angelina, who lost her parents on the Crimean bridge||SB TV||18.07.2023||4,350,994||5,058,207|
|5||UAF soldiers don’t believe in their counter-offensive – correspondence from an abandoned mobile phone||SB TV||10.04.2023||4,286,161||4,628,520|
|6||Wife and mother in tears of joy – Russian soldier unexpectedly drops by home from the front||SB TV||14.07.2023||3,678,344||4,671,265|
|7||Look what the Poles came up with, not everything is bad for them! How Lukashenko was treated with jellied meat and salo sausage||SB TV||12.07.2023||3,569,922||4,664,901|
|8||That’s why the Ukrainian army is losing – confession of a UAF soldier from Artemovsk||SB TV||03.04.2023||3,408,876||4,142,177|
|9||Russian decently responded to a Russophobe in chat roulette||SB TV||17.01.2023||2,837,888||8,048,975|
|10||⚡️ Lukashenko has reached an agreement with Prigozhin | PMC “Wagner” is returning to the camps | Latest news||CTVBY||24.06.2023||2,752,479||2,764,867|
|11||Volodya or a louse? Lukashenko answered how he and Putin relate to Zelensky||SB TV||15.06.2023||2,733,132||5,906,194|
|12||For two days, Ukrainian military did not realize that Russians had dug in nearby – a story of a captured UAF soldier||SB TV||14.11.2022||2,686,459||2,691,482|
|13||Lukashenko honestly answers journalists’ questions: I see old acquaintances here! // BIG INTERVIEW||BelTA News Agency||18.02.2023||2,683,936||4,980,431|
|14||Lukashenko: Zelensky – just a louse! I thought Ukraine needed peace! | Attack in Machulishchy||CTVBY||07.03.2023||2,632,096||2,749,995|
|15||Ukrainians left a terrible mess in a German’s apartment||SB TV||07.03.2023||2,575,167||2,690,372|
|16||NATO considers Belarus and Russia aggressors – West’s hypocrisy – Defense Minister Khrenin||SB TV||01.12.2022||2,393,532||4,369,204|
|17||Lukashenko: I’ve never eaten such a shashlik! // Firewood chopping championship||BelTA News Agency||07.11.2022||2,236,191||3,662,125|
|18||Lukashenko made a fuss at the motorcycle and bicycle factory||First Region||15.08.2022||2,192,202||2,365,250|
|19||MOBILIZATION IN RUSSIA: Who will go to the army? How do Russians react to conscription? Will they use nuclear weapons?||BelTA News Agency||22.09.2022||1,814,817||1,874,548|
|20||HORRIFIC CONSEQUENCES OF EARTHQUAKES IN TURKEY. Rescue operations continue. Panorama||ATN: Belarus and World News||08.02.2023||1,813,147||1,818,213|
|21||Fleeing Ukrainians are already being expelled from Poland for mobilization?||SB TV||14.04.2023||1,799,644||2,103,261|
|22||Lukashenko: Spot on question! // About mobilization, Putin, Poland, West // FULL VERSION||BelTA News Agency||25.09.2022||1,748,426||2,028,067|
|23||Ukrainians massively blame the government – why is the war only about us?||SB TV||03.03.2023||1,743,441||1,994,855|
|24||MONTYAN: “They are, of course, in shock!” // Ukraine: what’s next? // Dollar from chat // Corrupt elites||BelTA News Agency||08.04.2023||1,721,311||1,779,183|
|25||MONTYAN: Poked a bear with a stick! // WHAT’S HAPPENING IN UKRAINE AND AT THE FRONT LINE?||BelTA News Agency||10.10.2022||1,689,439||2,240,406|
|26||Arrival of a train with servicemen and military equipment from Russia||VoenTV of Belarus||06.01.2023||1,689,439||2,240,406|
|27||Instructors of PMC “Wagner” are already in Belarus||VoenTV of Belarus||14.07.2023||1,663,124||1,786,348|
|28||Why is Russia moving equipment through Belarus? | We’ll explain now||Zerkalo||01.01.2023||1,619,172||1,999,546|
|29||Lukashenko’s statements! / About negotiations with Prigozhin, the future of PMC, Putin and monument | FULL VIDEO||BelTA News Agency||27.06.2023||1,616,261||2,426,079|
|30||Lukashenka to Biden: It’s close here from Poland, I’ll send a plane, “Boeing”! Accept! Even Putin will fly up!||SB TV||03.02.2023||1,612,383||2,503,814|
From the presented videos, two overlapping themes are evident:
- The war in Ukraine;
- Press conferences and visits to economic facilities by Al. Lukashenko.
The most toxic channel in terms of content containing disinformation, representing the Russian side of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine, is the SB TV channel (Official channel of the “Belarus Today” Publishing House). As known, this channel has 62% of subscribers from Russia and only 11% from Belarus. The most viewed videos of this channel are short videos. A similar tactic promoting Russian narratives is observed in Ukraine.
As we wrote before, Belarusian YouTube channels, controlled by the Belarusian government, continuously violate the sanctions regime imposed by most democratic countries in the world concerning content disseminating disinformation about the military invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine, propagating violence and cruelty towards the civilian population of Ukraine.
It should be noted that not all of the “witty” remarks promoted by Lukashenko’s press service, which on the one hand become memes, on the other hand, do not have a “long tail” of their views.
Since the YouTube channels currently controlled by the Belarusian government have a large portion of their subscribers from the Russian Federation, it can be safely assumed that the Russian audience is the main consumer and distributor of this content and makes the majority of views.
For Belarusian democratic forces, independent media, socio-political bloggers, whose resources are unjustly recognized as extremist, terrorist, it is unrealistic to gather the same number of views as the pro-government content, which is also exported to the Russian Federation.
For example, the most viewed video during the studied period on the “Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya” channel was:
Posted on October 14, 2022. This video collected 437,332 views in October of the previous year. As of today, it has 437,835 views, meaning it virtually lacks a “long tail.”
At the 45th spot in terms of video views of the Euroradio channel:
Posted on March 3, 2023. It gathered 1,407,156 views in March.
As seen in the latest publication Top 10 Belarusian videos by views in July 2023, the million-view threshold Belarusian independent media can surpass is only with Belarusian content related to the war in Ukraine.
In July, there was a video that gathered over a million views in the month it was published:
It should be specifically clarified that it is with Belarusian content because Belarusian channels Nexta Live, “That’s How” gather millions of views with their videos, but they, like pro-government channels, target a non-Belarusian audience.
This publication was prepared by the Baltic Internet Policy Initiative in collaboration with the analytical portal Information Policy.