The VSD has informed that “because of the aggressive foreign policy of the Russian Federation and the principled stance that Lithuania has taken as concerns the armed conflict in Ukraine, Moscow has launched an extensive propaganda campaign. The activity of people and organisations that are fuelling ethnic hatred, social discontent and declare support for the Kremlin’s policies has increased.”
The statement also says that “the number of articles, reports and announcements defaming Lithuania, its domestic and foreign policy has increased in the Lithuanian media published in the Russian language and in the Russian media available in Lithuania. There are attempts, in particular, to justify and explain Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Attempts to convince the Lithuanian public that Russia’s duty is to “stabilise” the situation in eastern Ukraine, defend “legitimate interests of the rebels” and “save from persecution” the Russian-speaking population”.
The aforementioned publications try to prove that the European Union and the United States will not support Ukraine, but will instead advise to solve the crisis through multilateral negotiations and compromises. Some marginal websites and news outlets in the Lithuanian language, not to mention users on social networks, are also forming a public opinion favourable to Russia.
According to VSD, the aim of Russia’s propaganda campaign is to affect people of various ethnicities, social and age groups. It is thought that Russia aims to use Lithuanian ethnic minorities “as a pretext to divide Lithuania’s society and increase social exclusion among communities”.
The VSD has urged Lithuania’s ethnic communities “to remain vigilant, critical and not to give in to Russian propaganda, according to which the Lithuanian public is strongly against the government’s position as regards Ukraine, and that the Lithuanian government is violating the rights of ethnic minorities”. It is also noted that recently the pretext of “protection and defence” of ethnic minorities has been often mentioned by Russian politicians and strategists who are implementing aggressive policies that are obstructing the European security system which has been consolidated by international law.
It is however said that Russia has not managed to reach all the goals of its information war. “Information favourable to Russia does not reach Lithuanian media that has a wide audience or popular social websites.”