There's a new informational diversion against the Baltic States in Russia
This is not just a haphazard last-minute exhibition with some stands, photos and copies of documents. It is not just another harmless episode in the rhetoric of a country hostile to Latvia. This kind of propaganda is part of Russia's compatriot policy, and it must be remembered that it was with the compatriot policy that Russia justified its invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. The international community, including Latvia, has been and still is outraged, condemns and maintains sanctions, but this does not change the substance of the matter, because Russia is still sitting in Crimea. And there are bad signs that such a scenario is being allowed for the Baltic States as well.
There will not be many spectators for the exhibition in person. It was opened by a bunch of court historians on Tuesday and will be closed on Friday. However, in the Kremlin's propaganda media and their derivatives on the Internet, the event was widely covered and the messages multiplied. The exhibition was formally organized by a non-commercial public organization Historical Memory. Actually, it is a non-governmental organization operated by the Russian government, and similar ones were launched before the invasion of Ukraine. As the Center for Eastern European Policy Studies explains, "such NGOs and foundations give the appearance of a public initiative, but in reality it is a power-controlled process". It is not for nothing that the director of this fund, Alexander Dyukov, also serves on the International Relations Conflict Monitoring Commission of the Council of the President of the Russian Federation.
He also just recently dared to harshly criticize the Russian Embassy in Latvia for allowing the Red Army General Yakunin to be exhumed in Madona, and also reprimanded his Foreign Ministry for what had happened. That's how influential is this "public foundation."
So what is the latest message from the Russian authorities about the Baltic states? In principle, it is already included in the title of the exhibition: “30 лет независимости Прибалтики. Политзаключенные. Цензура. Неонацизм”. The compatriots in the Baltics are suffering, and Russia must not stand aside without doing anything. The Baltic's efforts to present its thirty years of independence as a success story are a lie. Actually, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania cannot be considered successful democracies. The regime systematically persecutes political opponents, the media is censored, independent media are banned, and neo-Nazi sentiment prevails in society, which is supported at the governmental level. But their governments hide all this carefully. The many lies told by this foundation are further multiplied and dramatized, and are again referred to by other sources and robots.
You might just choke on the Baltics
One Eurasian news issue reports that apartheid prevails in the Baltic States, and our independence is called inhuman and without conscience. Publication Argumenti has published a "study" entitled "Nazism in the Baltics: Figures and Facts". Of course, the propaganda channel Sputnik also reveals the "dark side of the Baltics". It is significant that this time the Belarusian propaganda machinery has also been involved in the information operation, and the Belarusians are also being told about an unprecedented regime of ethnic segregation in Europe - especially in Estonia and Latvia. The point of these primitive lies is to tune the Russian and Belarusian audiences in favor of the Kremlin's policy in the Baltic States. Thanks to similar propaganda about the Nazi resurrection in Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea was widely supported in Russian society. Compatriots are in danger! Most likely, they would not blink if the Kremlin decided to take a bite of the Baltics. But unlike in Ukraine - Putin might choke on the Baltic countries. Due to the presence of NATO.
Comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia:
"The exhibition of this so-called historical society cannot be considered as something new or unprecedented. This is a small part of the information campaign against the Baltic States, which has been systematically and purposefully developed for many years. Often such or similar provocative actions and events are attributed to Latvia and the other Baltic States in memory of important events. Our observations show that in Russian society, the impact of this association's activities is minimal - Russia's official television is developing the dissemination of its already known messages, but these events do not reach wider media attention. In addition, very few people attend the exhibitions, and this exhibition will be open for only three days. In our opinion, it is not useful to get involved in such a controversy, because it would give resonance and popularity to the lies of this propaganda organization."