“The Baltics - a lesson not learned” (1)
Archived Articles 31 May 2007 Estonian Central Council in CanadaEWR
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New Russian propaganda film

Moscow’s anti-Baltic campaign boasts a new propaganda vehicle. The contents are predictably the “same-old, same-old” but viewers claim the film reaches a new professional level.

The documentary was directed by veteran propaganda film-maker Vadim Gassanov. Its technical expert is well-known FSB (Russian security service) spokesman Aleksandr Zdanovitš.

An Estonian state intelligence spokesman states that history consists mainly of details; the choosing of some and the suppressing of others can give an authentic but twisted accounting of past reality. The treatment of crimes against humanity in the film is blatantly false – their justification in a European context is inconceivable.

The use of a young Latvian girl as narrator with emotional historical film footage forcefully challenges the position that the Baltic states were occupied by the Soviets. The film ends with scenes of a memorial at the site of Salaspils concentration camp in Latvia and the Bronze Soldier in Estonia.

The film could very well have been produced during Brezhnev’s era and signals the rehabilitation of Stalin and the promotion of neostalinism. However, the film does not deny the existence of the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact nor the mass deportations organized by the Soviets. It proposes logical vindication for them.

Intelligence analysts state that Russian propaganda has taken a different course since 2006, when appeals by two Estonian Second World War communist war criminals (recently convicted) were rejected by the European Court on Human Rights. That decision by the international court confirmed that Estonia was occupied from 1940-1991.

Russia thus has no more legal arguments to counter the facts of occupation. They are now exploiting emotions to negate the occupation and justify war crimes.

This last offering is of course not the first attempt to target the Baltic States with vitriolic propaganda films. “The Baltics – a lesson unlearned” follows in the steps of “They swore allegiance to Hitler” and “Estonia – on the crossroads of history”.

There is seems to be little difference between these propaganda vehicles and the day-to-day rhetoric of Russian news media.

The director of the Russian “problems of globalization” institute recently claimed that Moscow has acknowledged the friendly initiatives of Latvia (the recent signing and ratification of a Latvian-Russian border agreement) and compared this with the seemingly cold stance of Estonia. Estonia has the distinction of being the enemy of choice and the prime target of new propaganda campaigns.
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