The Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė was angered and signed a decree which establishes sanctions against Mongolia. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis followed up by loudly declaring a “victory against the Horde”. Such fake news have been spreading through suspicious sources online for a few days and keenly discussed by Mongolians.
Amusing some, angering others, as most other fake news began its spread across information sources as a rumour.
On January 15, just two days after January 13 which is of great importance to Lithuania, an oddly written Russian message appeared in the internet portal Livejournal which is popular in Russia. It was to supposedly be given weight by the notion that it is based on the Litovskij Kurjer portal based in Lithuania.
Sanctions announced against Mongolia
The message states that D. Grybauskaitė apparently directed the government to limit trade relations with Mongolia. The Lithuanian president apparently signed an order which initiates sanctions against Mongolia due to a statement by the country’s president Khaltmaagiin Battulga about “the Baltic States’ liberation by Soviet troops.”
Such a statement was apparently made by Kh. Battulga, former wrestler and businessman who won the presidential elections last July, at the third largest city in Mongolia, Darkhan, at a memorial to Soviet troops.
The message also explains that based on Lithuanian law, the soviet era is described as occupation and denying it is punished by law. As such after brief doubts, Vilnius apparently made the decision to ban Mongolian goods imports and prevent Lithuanian businessmen from exporting their goods to Mongolia.
Furthermore after such an action by the president, S. Skvernelis apparently also “loudly stated about a victory against the Horde and that the Mongolians’ actions will not be left unanswered.”
“We are not distancing ourselves from you, but you must understand that such things are unacceptable and insulting to us. We are always prepared to renew dialogue with Ulan Ude, if they wish,” S. Skvernelis is supposedly quoted, with emphasis that he also made a massive mistake in “moving” the Mongolian capital from Ulan Bator to Ulan Ude which is in Russia. Furthermore the Lithuanian PM is also attributed the statement that he supposedly recommended the company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai to relinquish plans to create the route Vilnius – Ulan Bator, which would link Klaipėda seaport to China.
Almost the entire content is made up
The message itself began spreading in sources of dubious reliability, such as the popular leisure portal Japlakal, whose content is created by anonymous posters, often without any sources.
This way the message appeared and began spreading on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The news how “Lithuania has established sanctions against Mongolia” has been shared by Mongolians who have thousands of followers. Bother angry and mocking comments poured forth, criticising and jeering at “Lithuania’s decision.”
Nevertheless not just silence from more trustworthy and official sources, but also a brief search leaves no doubt that the message that “Lithuania established sanctions against Mongolia” is fake.
Litvovskij Kurjer which the original post’s author bases his writing on also does not contain such a message. Neither can the statement by Mongolian President Kh. Battulga next to the memorial to Soviet soldiers. As of recently Kh. Battulga has not even visited Darkhan. Furthermore the city does not even have a memorial to Soviet troops. There is a massive monument to the Morin khuur, the Mongolian national musical instrument, but nothing for Soviet troops.
Finally even if such a statement had been made, based on Lithuanian law, prosecution for denial of Soviet or Nazi crimes would not apply to a foreign head of state. And the president would not even really be able to apply strict sanctions to a state over such a claim. For example Russia which does not formally recognise the occupation of Lithuania has not had any sanctions applied for it.
The Presidential Palace has not released any statement about such sanctions. The last time the Presidential Palace mentioned Mongolia was last July when D. Grybauskaitė congratulated Kh. Battulga with being elected.
Prime minister left amused
Meanwhile the Lithuanian prime minister (named Skverlianis in the message) finds mentions of him and the fake statements to be a misunderstanding. That said S. Skvernelis name was last mentioned in Asia last week during meetings with the Japanese prime minister. S. Skvernelis himself found the message amusing.
“From my side I could only quip that the quality of this fake news or more accurately the lack of quality shows that the financing of the hostile forces is either drastically reduced or being directed to the wrong ones. As for seriously, the creation of such “news” shows that the principled position of Lithuania annoys some,” S. Skvernelis commented.