DISINFO: Forest Brothers were Nazi collaborators, criminals and terrorists.
  • Outlet: Pervyi Kanal (archived)*
  • Date of publication: January 14, 2019
  • Outlet language(s): Russian
  • Reported in: Issue 132
  • Countries / regions discussed: UK, US, Lithuania, Estonia, Baltic states, Latvia
Red Army WWII Terrorism Nazi/Fascist

DISINFO: Forest Brothers were Nazi collaborators, criminals and terrorists.


Forest brothers were Nazi collaborators. In Lithuania they exterminated 25 thousand people. In modern terminology they would be called terrorists. They started fighting the Red Army for the sake of the Third Reich and continued after the war, except their master changed, it was Great Britain and the USA. We are told stories about bloody Stalin’s regime, but how come we see these healthy old people if the regime supposedly exterminated everyone? That means the regime was not bloody and was very humane to those, whom we can call terrorists. In Lithuania they are trying to find heroes for the young people. And it is either military heroes who fought fascism in the Red Army, or those who fought with fascism against the Red Army. There are no other heroes. Since the main ideology in the Baltic States is Russophobia, they take fascists for heroes. The West is pretending that they are some abstract fighters for abstract freedom. They are criminals, terrorists and killers. /// The doctrine that Lithuania is the victim of Russian aggression and Russian occupation spreads in academic, public and political levels. This is how killers become heroes. Lithuanian schoolchildren have trouble remembering national history and are proud of the exploits of so-called “partisans”. But no Lithuanian textbook now contains information about the bloody terror and civil war. How partisans killed civilians, not excluding women and children. They were not partisans, they were bandits. In Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia tens of thousands of people died at the hands of forest brothers. In Latvia forest brothers are also heroes and chekists are evil. No one remembers that soviet soldiers arrived because the bandits terrorised villagers.


Prominent pro-Kremlin narrative about the Forest Brothers and armed anti-soviet resistance in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to discredit the independence struggle of the Baltic States and whitewash the history of Soviet occupation and Stalin's crimes - a growing disinformation trend of historical revisionism. For background on earlier attempts to disinform see our article here. Forest Brothers were Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian partisans who fought against Soviet rule during the Soviet invasion and occupation during and after the World War II. In the early 1950's, the Soviet forces had eradicated most of the partisan resistance in the Baltic States.

The pro-Kremlin disinformation considers as civilian victims those, who, in the statute of the partisan military tribunal, were defined as the representatives of the Soviet administration. It is widely believed that during the guerrilla war in Lithuania, around 12 thousand Soviet collaborators and soldiers died. During the Soviet times, these numbers were artificially inflated. Often KGB agents raided local communities while dressed as partisans to sow distrust towards the freedom fighters in the countryside. Today, it is known that the Soviet security services also counted the victims of unrelated criminal activity as victims of the partisans. Read more on Delfi.lt The Soviets used the most brutal methods of fight against the guerillas: persecuted their families’ members and destroyed farmsteads of their supporters by setting them on fire. The Soviets used their agents to infiltrate the partisan movement. Partisans who were killed could not rest in peace: the Soviets would brutally disfigure the bodies of the guerrillas and dump them in public squares in towns and villages as a way to intimidate people. Over 20,000 Lithuanian partisans were killed holding weapons in their hands or were tortured to death by the Soviet invaders.

Further reading on the Forest Brothers: Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania; Estonica; Estonian Institute of Historical Memory; Edward Lucas on Unpacking the history of the Baltic "Forest Brothers".


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Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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