While disinformation actors predominately focused on front line developments, with well-rehearsed claims that the West is provoking the war and undermining peace negotiations, the recent destruction of the Kerch bridge was largely ignored, despite the furore of Russian officials. Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s controversial ‘peace strategy’ tweets were lauded by pro-Kremlin voices, as they sought to ridicule his critics.
The following overview summarises developments in disinformation narratives monitored in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania throughout October 3 - 9, 2022, including new or shifting narratives and key cases. These development and insights primarily relate to narratives about the following themes:
Events of the Russian invasion to Ukraine
(Negative) Economic Consequences of Sanctions
Conditions of Russians and Russian-speaking Minorities
Military Threats to Eastern Europe/Risk of War Expanding Beyond Ukraine
Military Aid to Ukraine
The Nord Stream pipeline explosions were once again blamed on the West this week. Sources such as Douglas Macgregor were used to make unsubstantiated claims, including that the Biden administration ordered the sabotage to be carried out.
EKRE has engaged in fear-mongering tactics this week, claiming that the national song festival will be abolished as a far-right tradition or abandoned when the Estonian language is overtaken by foreign languages. A recent poll shows growing support for EKRE.
Far-right sources maintain the following series of claims about Ukrainian refugees: a) they are ethnic Russians; b) they are actually migrant workers, not refugees; c) they undermine Estonia’s stability and traditions by Russifying schools and forcing true Estonians to move abroad. Disinformation actors easily alternate between the contradictory claims that refugees seek conflicts with local Russians but also support Putin and Russia.
The energy crisis is also discussed in contradictory terms: the same publications have claimed that the crisis was caused by various political circumstances while also blaming it solely on Europe’s green policies.
A new narrative that Ukraine is preparing a nuclear attack was observed this week.
For comparison, the most interacted with individual Ukraine-related article across all Estonian media this week received 2,100 interactions.
This week, pro-Kremlin voices in Latvia primarily focused on discussing the situation on the frontlines. These were primarily continuing narratives claiming that i) the US is directly involved in the war; ii) Ukraine is a Nazi state; iii) Ukraine is preparing a nuclear attack. The attack on the Kerch bridge did not become a source of disinformation.
The economic messaging that was in focus over the previous several weeks was not observed during this monitoring period. However, this may constitute a sporadic fluctuation, rather than a long-term trend.
The process of creating a new government after the Parliamentary election of Latvia has begun. At the moment, it seems like the previous Prime minister of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš, will continue to occupy this role. This news has affected some of the disinformation content analyzed this week.
For comparison, the most interacted with individual Ukraine-related article across all Latvian media this week received 2,100 interactions.