Briefs

Lithuania - January 2016

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  • Nedraugiškos žiniasklaidos apžvalga. 2016 m. sausio mėn.  Šį straipsnį taip pat galite skaityti lietuvių kalba
False narratives: 

During January, the hostile media mainly focused on two main topics:
I. The history of Lithuania;
II. Lithuania’s membership of the EU in the context of country‘s economy and energy.

There are no false facts presented directly. Instead, name-calling and card stacking techniques as well as manipulation of the context of the event are rather employed to  mislead and distort the history.

I. The history of Lithuania

1.1. Narrative of the events of 13 January 1991. This year, Lithuania commemorates the 25th anniversary of the defence of freedom of Lithuania. It was on 13 January 1991 that the Soviet army attempted a coup against the proclaimed independence of Lithuania and was defeated. Also in January, the court opened hearings into the events of January 13th.

The False Narrative:  

The hostile media denied the USSR aggression of January 13th against Lithuania and forced the narrative that "Lithuanians shot at their own people"  , as well as contested the decision, taken in the Lithuanian legal system. The case of  January 13th was called a legal absurd , for which Vilnius had been preparing for a quarter of a century. This was the case against the USSR, although only one Russian reserve officer was put in the dock; it is also argued that accused Soviet soldiers had no connection with the massacre of January 13th

The Truth:

 While defending the Television and Radio tower and the Seimas (Parliament), the total of 14 people were killed and  700 people were injured as a result of the actions by the Soviet troops on 13 January 1991.

The case proceedings into the January 13th events were launched: the court has been presented with  700 volumes of testimony given by 500 victims, the court brought charges against 65 people, but all of them,  except two people, will be tried in absentia, as they live in the Russian Federation and Belarus. Both the countries have refused to cooperate with Lithuania in this case. 

1.2. Holocaust.  January 27th is the International Holocaust Remembrance day. The Kremlin propaganda targeted at the most painful period of Lithuania’s history, namely the Holocaust. The hostile media escalated the narrative that Lithuanians are Nazis and thugs with the purpose to create confrontation in society. That tone was strengthened by the presentation of the new book "Ours” („Mūsiškiai") (an allusion to the so-called Russian democratic anti-fascist movement "Nashi“ founded in 2005). The book tells of Lithuanians who participated in the mass executions of Jewish people. The interview with the author of the book was broadcasted by the National TV also published in the Lithuanian online news portal Delfi.lt.

Main messages:

 It is claimed the Lithuania denies that holocaust case. The Baltic people (pribalti) are fascists; having published the book they to the crime . The responsibility for the Jewish genocide is imposed on the people of Eastern and Central Europe, whereas the achievements of the Soviet Union and the Red Army in the fight against Nazism are aggrandised.

The Truth: 

During World War II, many Jews were killed in Lithuania.  Lithuanian people were involved in the killings, but at the same time, many Lithuanians rescued and sheltered Jews risking their own lives and the lives of their families.  There are 900 Lithuanians among the 25,500 Righteous Among the Nations  (the title granted to persons for their efforts saving Jews during WW II). This is a significant number, given the fact that the population in Lithuania accounted for 3 million. According to the number of the Righteous Among the Nations per 1 million inhabitants, Lithuania ranks the first among the Central and Eastern European countries, the second is Poland .

Analysis:

The purpose of the manipulative information model was to cast doubt on the history of the Lithuanian state, to promote nihilism in Lithuania, to incite ethnic hatred, to inhibit the integration of ethnic communities, to justify territorial claims, to hinder the development of Russian and Lithuanian historical and cultural community. Also, the aim was to distort the  image of Lithuania in front of the eyes of the target groups in Russia and the West. 

II. The EU membership of Lithuania in the context of country‘s economy and energy 

It is aimed to disdain the benefits of EU membership, by pointing out that after Lithuania's accession to the Eurozone the cost of living went up in Lithuania, as a result of which many Lithuanians live in poverty  and by reiterating that the average cost of one hour of labour in Lithuania is one of the lowest in the EU, etc.  

The Kremlin diminishes Lithuania‘s energy independence as it ends the Russian monopoly in the sector of energy supply to Lithuania. It stressed that the cost of electricity in the Baltic countries will rise; the Lithuanian Government is incompetent in the field of energy . The Kremlin also escalates the issue of building a nuclear power plant in Belarus, thus manipulating security matters both in Belarus and Lithuania. The nuclear power plant would become a potential target in the event of war . The Kremlin libels Lithuania’s actions in the area of energy including the construction of LNG terminal, which liberated Lithuania from the dependence on the Russian gas .

The Technique: 

name-calling; card stacking; manipulation of the context of the event.

Analysis:

Russia is trying to create the background "Lithuania has failed" narrative, thus undermining Lithuania's reputation in Russia and in the West.