If you look at how present-day Lithuania lives, you will be surprised to see how big a place Russia has in its life. Much has been said about post-Maidan Ukraine, where Russian President Vladimir Putin is the “evil god,” responsible for all bad things happening in that country. “The whole world is the Kremlin and the people in it are its agents!” This is what they in Ukraine say. But almost the same is taking place in Lithuania.
Today Ukraine and Lithuania are best friends: they keep exchanging official visits, military experience and... anti-Russian propaganda. Recently BaltNews (one of the few mass media in Lithuania that still dare to have independent views) analyzed the content of the local press and found out that most of reports by Lithuanian mass media are about the Russian president, his statements, visits, meetings and actions. They in Lithuania mention Putin more often than their own President Dalia Grybauskaite, let alone Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Francois Hollande and David Cameron.
As a result, we are witnessing a paradox. By constantly talking about the “Kremlin propaganda,” Lithuanian mass media are propagandizing the personality of Putin and the real role he plays in Russia and the world. Of course, they write only bad things – there is an informal ban on any good news about Russia and its leaders. Their task is to wash the brains of their readers. But even some of their own leaders are already affected. We all know Grybauskaite’s statement about a “terrorist state”: true, here we can’t say what the real motive of this former Communist is – true hatred for Russia or wish to win America’s favor. But how can one react on the last statement by Algirdas Butkevicius? The Lithuanian prime minister said that the recent strike of Lithuanian teachers was organized by “the Kremlin’s agents.” Does he really mean that it is Putin’s fault that Lithuanian teachers get the lowest wages in the EU?
In neighboring Latvia and Estonia, mass media are not so anti-Russian. They are also unkind and sneering but they are tactful in what they say. One of the reasons why in Lithuania mass media are so biting is that in that country the Russian community is small (just 5.8% of the population), so, nobody is afraid of it. In Latvia and Estonia, Russians have much bigger communities, so, their mass media prefer using subtler methods.
In Lithuania, Russophobia is used as a way to distract people from their own problems: growing depopulation and all-time high alcohol use and suicide rates. What they in the Lithuanian press want to say is, “Just compare your life to the life of a Russian and you will see that it is not as bad as you think it is!”
Just a couple of headlines: “How the Russians are surviving the crisis,” “Europe has put up with a new feudal system in Russia,” “Russia’s Finance Ministry expects no improvement,” “Pentagon and CIA doubt that Russia will observe the ceasefire in Syria,” “Putin knew who killed Nemtsov three days after the killing,” “Unknown men attacked those commemorating Nemtsov in Voronezh,” “The Russian authorities have prohibited their people to buy imported clothes,” etc. And now a couple of charges by one of the top politicians in Lithuania, Vytautas Landsbergis. The “father of Lithuanian independence” blames the Russians for applying in Ukraine the experience they acquired during the war in Georgia and for being ready not to eat imported food just to show their anti-American patriotism: “They are trying to convince their people that they can punish their enemy by refusing to eat. And all those doubting this are traitors! This is real Nazism!”
Lithuania has always refused to admit that the war in South Ossetia in 2008 was caused by Georgia’s attack on civilians and Russian peacekeepers and now it is actively supporting the anti-constitutional regime in Kiev.
Recently, one of the most popular Lithuanian internet portals, Delfi, published an article by press photographer Arturas Morozovas and Russian pro-western analyst Vladislav Moiseyev. Those two say that their goal is to show what is actually going on in Russia. For this purpose, they have visited the north of the country. And this is what they have written in their article: “total desolation,” “depression,” “monotonous landscapes,” “TV zombies.” The photos they have attached are meant to cause disgust in their readers’ hearts. One of their sub-titles is “Russian Death.” It tells the readers about the Kremlin’s “colonialist policy” with respect to the people living in the north of Russia (it is strange to hear such charges from mass media of a country it is a national policy to assimilate and suppress local Polish and Russian communities – edit.) So, you see that you will find no good article about Russia in Lithuanian press.
A band of moral cripples
From time to time, they in Lithuania organize symposiums for the people they call “Russian opposition.” In reality, these are outcasts for whom Russophobia is just a way to earn their living. One such conference, “Forum of Free Russia,” took place in Trakai on Mar 8. Among the guests were Garry Kasparov, Andrey Illarionov, Lev Ponomarev, Alfred Kokh, Maria Alyokhina. Russian TV journalists tried to talk to some of them but were dismissed. Kasparov even called journalist Alexey Kazakov a “rogue.” “Thank God we are not in Moscow! He is a KGB provocateur! Call the police!” he said. Later Lithuanian mass media called this incident a provocation by “hostile” TV journalists.
One of the key actors of the forum was notorious Bozhena Rynska. She also insulted the Russian journalists and even boasted of having seized an iPhone from one of them. “We all know what to do with them. To catch them, to remove all illegal data from their phones and to deny them entry into the country. Those people must never be let into Lithuania again. And Russian Latvians (by saying this, the “oppositionist” humiliated the “young democracies” by showing that she can’t tell Lithuania from Latvia – edit.) must keep away from the criminal regime. I am going to speak against bellyachers. There are forces of evil – a band of fags. All of them must be denied entry into Europe. And those having a European passport but working for Russia 24 and slating the opposition must be sent to jail as a high traitor. Lithuanian Ambassador Petras Vaitekunas was right when saying that this is a war declared against western civilization. And shit eaters that sell this civilization to a band of fags cooperating with Russian television must not enjoy its benefits,” Rynska said.
This is how well-known Russian historian Alexannder Dyukov commented on this: “You have just listened to one of the speakers at the ‘Forum of Free Russia.’ This is all we should know about democracy, freedom of speech and civil rights. Just for connoisseurs - at that forum Ms. Rynska is moderating the section ‘If Russian Society Has Any Chance for Recovery’ and is to make a report on crisis of culture and ways to overcome it.”
The scandal in Trakai has shown the real face of the so-called opposition and the state that has given it a venue for such a conference. Today Lithuania’s anti-Russian activities are so mean and clumsy that they in Moscow have no grounds for anxiety.