485 cases of hostile or unfriendly information activity targeting Lithuania’s foreign policy, defence and foundations and protection of constitutional order were identified in July 2021, says the Lithuanian armed Forces Strategic Communication Department. It is significantly more, by 111 cases, compared with the same month last year.
The current issues in the public life of Lithuania are among the top topics for disinformation. For example, the active Lithuanian foreign policy – stance concerning the Russian and Belarusian regimes, support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and NATO membership – received additional attention in hostile and unfriendly information space. 35% of disinformation in July concerned the said topics. The central narrative driven in such disinformation is that our country interferes with other countries’ foreign affairs.
A negative image of Lithuania has been escalated in state-controlled Belarusian media since the tensions between Lithuania and Belarus have been strongly fueled by the Alexander Lukashenko regime-organized hybrid attack, a surge of illegal migrants, earlier in July.
Part of the channels in the hostile information space made purposeful efforts to show Lithuania as an undemocratic country that violates human rights. Such an activity may be related to a court verdict in a spying case earlier in July.
The theme of defence was also intensely escalated, even though a fracture less than in June. International and national exercises Sea Breeze, Agile Spirit, etc., were mentioned in the unfriendly information space. NATO exercises dominated the unfriendly information space throughout June – and such exercises are presented as a threat to the security of neighbors as a matter of routine.
Analytical experts of the Lithuanian Armed Forces note that the topic of next NATO Secretary General was quire exploited too. Several names of potential candidates, including President Dalia Grybauskaitė, were mentioned. Lithuania was blamed for Russophobia in most of the articles and speculations were made that its leadership would cause the future of the Alliance and its relations with Russia to deteriorate.
8 cases of disinformation were identified in the hostile and unfriendly information space concerning the funeral of Pranciškus Prūsaitis – Lapė, the last Lithuanian partisan executed by the Soviets.