Disinfo: Lithuanian “Forest Brothers” were armed groups of nationalists that killed peaceful people


The “partisans” in Lithuania were armed groups of nationalists, who acted on the territory of the country in the 40s-50s and called themselves “Forest Brothers”. They participated in the killing of peaceful people during war and extermination of the Soviet party's workers and the supporters of Soviet authorities.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union Lithuanian authorities permanently persecute everyone who does not support the official version of Vilnius about “Soviet occupation” and ostensible “persecutions of Lithuanians” during Soviet times. Authorities of this Baltic country also implement the policy of Russophobia and public reprimand for people, who positively evaluate the Soviet past of Lithuania or contemporary Russia.


This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism.

Lithuania is not disputing the victory of the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany. However, the end of WWII was not liberation for Lithuania. The country was occupied together with the other Baltic States in the summer of 1940 by the Soviet Union. Modern Lithuania restored full independence only after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

At the end of WWII groups of people in Lithuania rose against the second Soviet occupation. According to the information of Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania:

In 1944–1945, about 30,000 armed men joined forces in the forests. Some of them joined the partisans to avoid serving in the occupation army, others to avoid possible reprisals or deportation. However, the majority chose armed struggle consciously and were committed to fighting until the restoration of an independent Lithuanian state.

The pro-Kremlin disinformation considers as civilian victims those, who, in the statute of the partisan military tribunal, was 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 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.

In 2017 NATO presented a short movie about the resistance of “Forest Brothers”. Kremlin reacted to this critically. Read more about the representation of Lithuanian freedom fighters in Russian propaganda / disinformation in the analysis of Delfi.lt.

Read similar cases claiming that Lithuania is fighting against the monuments of the Soviet army and re-writing the history of WWII or that Forest Brothers were Nazi collaborators, criminals and terrorists.


  • Reported in: Issue 236
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/03/2021
  • Article language(s) Lithuanian, Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Lithuania, USSR
  • Keywords: Russophobia, Historical revisionism, Forest Brothers, World War 2
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