Briefs

Lithuania - 24 April-1 May 2016

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Object of manipulation: www.ekspertai.eu
    
Date: 29 April 2016


Source of manipulation: An interview Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov granted the Swedish magazine Dagens Nyheter.


Date: 28 April 2016

Author: Michael Winiarski


The false fact or narrative: On 29 April, Lithuania’s pro-Kremlin news website ekspertai.eu published excerpts of an interview with Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov with the Swedish magazine Dagens Nyheter, who called Lithuania “the most Russo-phobic country in the world.” 

The truth: Lithuania’s foreign minister, Linas Linkevicius, said “Kremlin-phobic” is the right word to describe his country’s position, since Lithuania separates Russia from its current government’s policy. Lithuania respects Russian culture and hosts various events, which are attended by Russian intellectuals, journalists, writers and political scientists. In line with its new doctrine of national security, however, Russia has built up its “NATO is an aggressor” narrative.  On 28 April 28, the influential weekly Der Spiegel reported that Germany will take the lead in deploying a NATO battalion in the east, and that this will be discussed at the NATO defense ministers’ meeting in June; a final decision will be made in July at the NATO summit in Warsaw. U.S. and German troops are currently training in Lithuania, and more than 600 German soldiers, along with military equipment, have been deployed in Lithuania on a rotating basis. 

Technique: A testimonial (a very high-ranking official speaks, so it should be true); misleading and false interpretation of facts; one-sided presentation of the case, meaning the other side’s position is absent, as it objective analysis.

Audience: Lithuania’s Russian-speaking minority, as well as Russian speakers in other Baltic states, Europe and Russia itself.

Analysis: The narrative, that NATO is the “aggressor” and “Russia’s enemy,” is developed further, while aiming to diminish the reputation of the Baltic states. Russia perpetuates the myth that it is surrounded by aggressive NATO military bases while its propaganda machine manipulates and prepares Russian society for a conflict with the West. This distracts the peoples’ attention from other issues like Russia’s dire economic situation and governance; military expenditures are therefore justified, to defend Russia from the United States and its NATO allies. The goal is to spread fear and tension among Russian-speaking people in the Baltics and the West.