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  Information war: sad memories and funny implications

Matas Jakaitis
2011 07 11

Several weeks ago Lithuania commemorated the painful events marking 70 years since the start of mass deportation to Siberia, therefore the reaction toward everything related to those events was overly sensitive. Some of the ideas expressed on Russian TV channel RTVi (broadcast “Grani nedeli”) about the deportation of citizens of Baltic States in 1941 shocked me and, I hope, many Lithuanians.

The above broadcast also dealt with the assassination of the colonel Yuri Budanov, the income of Boris Yeltsin’s family etc. Fourteen Russian public space actors (journalists, writers, economists, political scientists, philosophers etc.) of different political beliefs expressed their views on deportations in the Baltic States. The majority of them (not all) related the deportation of Baltic population to Stalin’s preparation for the war, to the withdrawal of a “potential fifth column” from western USSR borders etc. The views of the others can be best characterized by a historian and journalist N.Svanidze: “deportation was in the first place manifestation of a repressive nature of the soviet regime”.

Along with other diverse opinions the words of Maxim Shevchenko, the host ofSudite Sami (Judge for Yourself) broadcast of Russian 1st TV channel (ORT), were the most shocking. According to him, “not thousands but only 3,5-4 thousand citizens of Baltic States were deported by 22 June 1941 (…). Believe me, these numbers are small and the fate of these people was not as tragic as it is said (…). Their living conditions were quite good. I cannot say that they lived in paradise for these people have never lived in collective farms (they were pushed to collective farms), but in general the fate of other nations was more tragic than that of the Baltic States which were pampered by Soviet authorities”.

Soviet authorities pampered the Baltic deportees as infants! This was the most cynical lie ever! And these words were said by a well-known journalist, political scientist, ethno cultural and religious expert of the Russian Federation! Can citizens of the Baltic States stay calm when this “truth” is disseminated by one of the federal TV channels of Russia?!

It is said that anger is a bad adviser, so we have more joyful news about the information war against the neighbors escalated by Russia. Several weeks ago the 24th session of the Permanent Workshop of the Belarus-Russia Union State was held in Grodno (Belarus). The participants included: representatives of Russian and Belarusian parliaments, high officials from the Defense, Foreign Affairs and Interior ministries, Security services and other institutions of both countries. They discussed the issues of cooperation between Russia and Belarus in the sphere of radio electronic combat.

According to Gennady Davydko, a member of the Union State Parliamentary Assembly, “the talks about the third world war are hanging in the air, but this war is already under way, and this is an information war”. Although “information centers” of third countries and “power agents” were identified as enemies in this war, it is obvious that he had in mind “American imperialists” and “agents” of Western countries “fighting an information war”. The meeting approved the recommendations to governments of the Union State, including recommendation “to resist the powerful effects of purposeful and negative information of third countries and information expansion of foreign countries”.

The response of Belarus (member of the Union State) toward recommendations was immediate: Lukashenka accused Russian journalists of sowing panic about the economic situation in Belarus and warned that he will “make sure those media are no longer present on our territory”. Here we have a real “resistance against negative information impact”. Moscow in turn halved energy supplies to Belarus during the days of the 24th session in Grodno.

Isn’t this a funny story and an example of information war which is turning into real economic war? Or maybe this is a normal dialogue between the two states establishing (yet failing to establish) a union state?

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