German soldiers raped a five year old girl from the orphanage — email this message was received in mid-February, the speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas and journalists. A tragedy as it was told, occurred in Jonava, which is 12 kilometers from the base of the Alliance forces.
The letter contained many details of the incident and cited the testimony of eyewitnesses. It looked quite authentic, so a few small Lithuanian portals have decided to publish the news. Major version and the German media was waiting for confirmation from the police, as this story reminded them a 13-year-old Lisa in Germany.
Then it was said that the daughter of Russian immigrants was the victim of a gang rape, and the criminals were described as immigrants from the Middle East. The Russian media gave the case a resonance that the Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov demanded to investigate and punish the perpetrators. Thousands of Russians took to the streets, criticizing the police because she was allegedly trying to hush up the case. In the end, the German police proved that Lisa was never kidnapped or raped. It quickly became clear that in Jonava, too, nothing happened, and address that sent the email is already deleted.
Vigilance first of all
The programme for the strengthening of the Eastern flank of NATO in Lithuania has deployed 500 soldiers of the Bundeswehr. The Germans also command units of the Dutch, Belgians and Norwegians, who will send to Lithuania another 500 soldiers.
“To attack Lithuania Russia will need only 24 hours, this limits the ability of NATO’s response,” warned in April the Lithuanian intelligence service, stressing that Moscow has increased its presence in the Kaliningrad region. Intelligence agencies also say about the so-called Suwalki isthmus portion of the Polish-Lithuanian border, the capture of which, they believe, will cut the NATO military help. In addition, intelligence indicates the spread of disinformation, which aims to “discredit stationed in Lithuania NATO soldiers”. Caught a false allegation of rape in Jonava was not the only case of manipulating public opinion.
March 28, on the eve of the anniversary of Lithuania’s accession to NATO, Lithuanians learned that the commander of the battalion to NATO Christoph Huber (Christoph Huber) — a Russian spy. So claimed the anonymous author of news, which cited a blog post where pictures of Colonel. He was depicted, in particular, on red square. A quick check has allowed to establish that it was a photomontage, but the Internet has raged, news spread rapidly in social networks.
Who was the author of the news about the Huber (and reports of rape in Jonava), find out so far failed. The Lithuanian side, however, no doubt who stood behind these actions. “This is undoubtedly the case of the Russian special services. The principle is simple: people, as I hope the Russians will decide that even in the most absurd story must be a true element,” explains the employee of the Department of strategic communications of the Ministry of defence of Lithuania Aurimas Glaveckas (Aurimas Kleveckas).
The invisible enemy
Lithuanian scouting is not the first year watching what Russian media writes about Lithuania in the West, and how they portrayed their country in Russia. “Moscow puts a lot of effort to paint us in a negative light. In the West and in Russia, we depict fascists and nationalists, accused of Russophobia, expose unreliable economic partner, lists Glaveckas. — Lithuanians, in turn, reported more: NATO can not guarantee your safety, it will only give Russia because you are close to Russian culture”.
“We were expecting the fake news as the message of rape in Jonava, says captain Glaveckas. — Russia tried to paint a negative image of NATO and its military before they arrived. For example, before the arrival of the soldiers of the Bundeswehr, Russian television showed the material about the invasion of the Third Reich in Lithuania, depicting the Germans in the first place, the Nazis and the occupants,” he explains.
Russian media in Lithuania are very popular. 61% of ethnic minority groups — mainly poles and Russian — watch there Russian channels. Pro-Kremlin media regularly try to tarnish the history of independent Lithuania, in particular, portraying in a distorted light, like the Lithuanians fought for their sovereignty. In response to this Commission of the Lithuanian radio and television blocks Russian TV channels. This prohibition, however, easy to circumvent: just use satellite, many do.
“I understand those who call this tool ineffective, but it is at least some method. We show that our government is willing to fight. We do not have propaganda, we have only the truth, — said the Ambassador for special assignments of the Ministry of foreign Affairs Eitvydas Bajarunas (Eitvydas Bajarūnas), which deals with the Agency problems of a hybrid war. If someone distorts our history, we have to respond to leave this unanswered, adds the diplomat. — In Soviet times there was only the TASS news Agency, but now a propaganda tool there may be media, social networking, conferences, games, cultural events, think tanks, even political leaders and public figures,” — he draws attention.
After disintegration of the USSR the influence of the Russian culture in Lithuania is not weakened. The most popular radio station in the country is a “Russian Radio”, which broadcasts only in Russian. In 2007, one of the most popular Lithuanian channels LNK, aired 78 hours of Russian programs and movies in a week, now they take about 200 hours of airtime. A Comedy series of the Russian production are shown without dubbing with subtitles.
“For example, in Lithuania, a very popular cartoon “Masha and the Bear”, while the ideas which he translates, quite clear. For example, it shows that it’s good to be a Russian soldier. On the basis of this tale in Vilnius organize performances, it is also an instrument of influence”, — said Sarunas. The animated film tells about the friendship of a girl and a bear living in the Siberian forest. In several episodes Masha on the head appears hat with five-pointed star.
More difficult than in Afghanistan
The task of NATO troops located in Lithuania, is to contain Russia. In case of an attack they will have to withstand the onslaught of the enemy until, until reinforcements. “In fact, every day there is the participation in a specific war — information — says one of the German military. — This is not something that combat mission. Our job is to protect Lithuania, to establish good relations with the locals, but we constantly hear that each of the encountered people might be a puppet of Russia.”
Any information about them, which will appear in the Internet can use against them, and any innocent encounter, can be recorded on video, said the military before leaving. Convinced of this, for example, residing in Latvia, the British: their quarrel in the bar, someone recorded and posted on the Internet. The video immediately became popular. Many commentators, especially in the Internet, emphasized that NATO soldiers is drunkards and hooligans. The Germans of such errors not want to repeat.