Russia’s Information Policy Changes and Projects against Lithuania
In 2016, another Rossiya segodnya associated and Russia’s financed propaganda media outlet baltnews.lt has continued its intensive activity in
Lithuania. The website conducted information attacks against Lithuania exploiting society-sensitive topics: holocaust, refugees, terrorism, fuelled ethnic confrontation
Protection of the Constitutional Order
Russia’s Compatriot Policy
It is not accidental that high ranking Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s officials tend to publicly highlight that in Lithuania not only the rights of Russian, but also Polish community are being violated. In fact, the aim of Russia is to integrate into compatriots’ political schedule constantly set requirements to grant the Polish community of Vilnius region exclusive rights. Granting of exclusive rights to the Polish community gives background for Russia and its groups of influence to demand for the same rights and eventually a special status to Russian community in all the Baltic States. These Russia’s attempts have also been illustrated by Vilnius based Russian embassy’s coordinated compatriots’ political cooperation with persons representing Polish community of Vilnius region. One of the ways to escalate ethnic tensions in the Baltic States is constantly and unfairly blame them for violating the rights of ethnic communities. Russia’s financed defenders of compatriot rights operating in Lithuania tend to take part in various international organizations’ (UN, ESCO) human rights forums and along with Russian diplomats blame Lithuania for violating the rights of ethnic communities.
Compatriot policy goals and measures
Russia’s compatriot policy goal in the Baltic States is to create a favorable environment for spreading Russian influence and thus diminish social integrity of these states by inciting ethnic conflicts. It is easier to conduct such activity in a closed ethnic community, therefore Russia and its groups of influence in the Baltic States seek to discredit any attempts to implement reforms on ethnic communities’ education (e. g. enhanced learning of national language) that promote integration. Such kind of reforms are being downgraded referring them to attempts to assimilate ethnic communities. This deliberate replacement of a positive concept of integration into a negative concept of assimilation is a typical example of Russia’s employed methods of propaganda.
Radical Ideologies and Political Extremism in Lithuania
Differently to some other European States the extreme right-wing ideologies upholding organizations and groups in Lithuania could not manage to increase popularity of their political attitudes in society. Such situation was determined by the absence of topics suitable for escalation, such as strong ethnic tension or large-scale external immigration as well as fragmentation and internal conflicts of radicals themselves.
In 2016, an autonomous nationalism ideology supporting group was established in Kaunas. In Lithuania it is a new phenomenon, whereas in Europe similar movements have already been active since 2003. In their rhetoric the autonomous nationalists combine the extreme nationalism and xenophobia with anti-capitalist views. The supporters of this ideology oriented towards rebellious youth took over from their political opponents left-wing radicals the major part of activity and methods of spreading propaganda, also the particular symbolism and outfit elements. It has to be noted that the persons associated with autonomous nationalist group acting in Lithuania during the observed period communicated with “National Action” right-wing radicals’ organization in United Kingdom which in December 2016 was banned on the grounds of legal acts on terrorism prevention.
In 2016, there were no extremist groups supporting Russian military aggression and conducting anti-constitutional activity identified in Lithuania; however, there are certain indications that such kind of groups may appear in the future.
Document data: 2017. https://www.vsd.lt/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/AKATSKT_DRAFT-3-31-EN-HQ.pdf