Disinformation on the rise, targets Russian travel restrictions – Lithuanian army

  • 2022-09-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian army analysts have noted a growing flow of disinformation, with Lithuania's proposal to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens and decisions EU defense ministers being one of the main topics of such reports, the Lithuanian army said on Monday.

A total of 505 unique cases of negative information activity were identified in August, compared to 463 in July.

Army analysts say the propaganda spread by hostile sources in August focused exclusively on Lithuanian-Russian relations, with Lithuania's alleged anti-Russian sentiment and hostile actions towards Russia dominating the flow.

The flow of hostile information was mostly influenced by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry's proposal to suspend the issuance of Schengen tourist visas to Russian citizens, the docking of the USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) in Klaipeda and the informal meeting of EU defense ministers in Prague, army analysts said.

In response to Lithuania's proposals on tourist visas, propaganda sources claimed that Lithuania was allegedly going against the EU's founding values, restricting human rights and segregating tourists on national and civic grounds.

In August, the Kremlin's propaganda also responded to the process of dismantling Soviet ideological monuments in Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian municipalities, the army pointed out. On August 18, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a separate statement saying that Russia viewed the Baltic authorities' action as a "neo-Nazi spree", desecration of the memory of fallen heroes and an attempt to settle historical scores with Russia.

The "Kaliningrad blockade" issue was further developed as well last month.

NATO and other defense topics also received hostile publicity as intense activity against the Alliance was recorded, aimed at portraying it as a global aggressor. Messages about NATO's aggressiveness were spread by to-level Russian officials, and the Alliance was accused of creating a "crisis" in the European Union. NATO's "aggressive policy" was said to have forced Russia to defend itself, which was precisely why the Alliance was responsible for the crisis in Europe, and that was why it was a threat to the global order and security in general.

The narrative about NATO's "unprecedented aggressiveness" also made episodic use of the death of Darya Dugina, the daughter of influential nationalist Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin.

The topic of NATO's involvement in the war in Ukraine was also touched upon in August as it was claimed that the Alliance was recruiting foreign mercenaries for Ukraine.

In the second half of August, a tendency was noted to openly accuse NATO of being involved in military action, with a narrative being spread that the Alliance was fighting a proxy war and was fully involved in the war, both in terms of equipment and troops.