How is the fate of popular posts on YouTube?

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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.

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