Briefs

Lithuania - 8-14 February 2016

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  • Monitoringa ziņojums (8.–14. februāris 2016)  Šį straipsnį taip pat galite skaityti lietuvių kalba
False narratives:

During the period under review, the hostile online media continued the disinformation campaign against the history of Lithuania and NATO and Lithuania‘s membership in NATO

1. The history of Lithuania.

The case proceedings of the January 13th events.  Media argues that many lawyers in Russia doubt of the legitimacy of the case proceedings, e.g.  the Russian Lawyers association chairman Alexei Elajev (Алексей Елаев) pointed out that the case proceedings of the January 13th trial were not sufficiently substantiated by the law.  

The Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholicism in the history of Lithuania. The issue is raised in order to further "the Russian world" narrative (Ru. нарратив русского мира), that Lithuania and Russia are very close culturally and historically; the narrative East vs West; to point to the sensitive aspects of Lithuanian-Polish relations.

The meeting of Roman Pope Francis and Moscow and All Russia Patriarch Cyril in Cuba was used as an excuse to review the history of Lithuania during the 11th - 18th centuries, pointing out that initially, i.e. during the 11th – 15th centuries Lithuania belonged to the Orthodox (Eastern) Christianity, many Lithuanian dukes and their families were orthodox; during that period there were many churches, monasteries built becoming culture and science centres of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Orthodox Christianity formed the Lithuania’s identity. Poland, unable to seize Lithuania, introduced to Lithuania the Roman (Western) Christianity. After the victorious Grunwald battle against the Teutonic knights thanks to the Slavic troops, the Roman Christianity had been established and the influence of the Polish nobility in Lithuania grew, the Orthodox Church was discriminated until the collapse of the Republic of Two Nations. The history “confirms” that Lithuania belongs the so called “Russian world”.   

The period under review (January – February) witnesses significant increase of disinformation attacks against the history of Lithuania (when to compare to 2015).


2. NATO and Lithuania‘s membership in NATO

The hostile online media focused on the NATO defence ministers meeting in Brussels. The search system news.yandex.ru gives a set of articles where NATO is accused of its intention to build up its presence in the eastern part of the Alliance with a clear message (threat) to Russia, „NATO starts Cold War-2“

Main message: 

NATO violates the agreement signed with Russia in 1997 according to which the parties are not to deploy a large number of troops on the territory new NATO member countries ; the infrastructure for the fully-fledged NATO deployment is prepared in the Baltic region ; Russia will respond ; NATO expansion to the East is in the interests of the USA .  It is claimed that the EU Strategic Communications Department (StratCom East Strategic Communications Task Force) was planned as tuning in with NATO in creating a new, efficient and effective "weapon" to win „minds“of opponents.  The narrative against the Baltic States' membership in NATO started just after the events in Ukraine.

The Truth:

NATO is and has always been a defensive alliance.  NATO will meet its commitments for collective defence and implement the deterrence policy. 

The case proceedings into the January 13th events are in process. It’s too early to give any comments. 

The history of Lithuania and the role of Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania, later Two Nations Republic had always been a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-confessions state. Lithuania adopted the Roman Christianity with a clear political purpose – to strengthen the state of Lithuania internationally.

The Technique: 

Name-calling, card stacking, manipulation of the context of events, testimonial, - quotation of experts. 

The Target/ Audience: 

the Russian speaking population of the Baltic States, also those who know the Russian language; who do not support the state policy of Lithuania or are dissatisfied with the standards of their living.

Analysis:
 
NATO in the Baltic States is presented by Russia as a threat to its security. It is attempted to spread fear of war among the population of the Baltic States and Russia. What is more, Russia “justifies“the increase of its military forces in Kaliningrad and on its Western borders; signalling (warning) to the West and NATO that Russia will respond.

Disinformation and distortion of the history of Lithuania is aimed at sowing the seeds of doubt about the history of Lithuania, to weaken the loyalty to the state, to diminish Lithuania’s reputation.