Disinfo: By praising the Forest Brothers, NATO equated itself to the Nazi regime


In the attempt to equate the role played by the Soviet Union and the Third Reich in World War II, some end up equalling themselves to the Nazi regime. For example, when in 2017 NATO made a video praising the Forest Brothers, an anti-Soviet armed group in the Baltics, obfuscating the fact that they collaborated with the Nazi regime and its extermination machinery.


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 trend of historical revisionism. For background on earlier disinformation attempts see our article here.

The Forest Brothers were Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian partisans who fought against Soviet rule during the Soviet invasion and occupation during and after World War II. It is for this reason that NATO released a tribute video to this group in 2017. Read our reporting here.

The Kremlin's propaganda media aim to portray the partisans as Nazi collaborators who actively participated in the extermination of the Jewish population, and to depict the entire partisan movement as criminal as a justification for the 1940 and the 1944 Soviet occupations of Lithuania. As the logic goes, if the resistance is proven to be criminal, the occupation would seem justified.

In Lithuania, just as in other European countries, the Holocaust was planned and organised by the Nazi regime. Some Lithuanians collaborated with the Nazis in their effort to eradicate Jews.  Other Lithuanians saved local Jewish people: the list of the Righteous Among the Nations includes nearly 900 Lithuanians. Read more on Delfi.lt

See other examples of Russian disinformation narratives on WWII in our database, such as bogus claims that Western countries revise history to avoid responsibility for allowing Hitler to attack the USSR; that the Soviet Union tried to create an anti-Nazi alliance but the West didn’t respond; that the USSR had no role in the outbreak of the war; that Western democracies are primarily responsible for this conflict; or that by defeating Nazism, Stalin atoned for crimes against his own people.

[Note: This disinformation message appeared in the same video clip as the claims that Western media try to minimise Soviet victory in WWII” and that "Historical revisionism on WWII is used to justify geopolitical measures against Russia".]


  • Reported in: Issue 199
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Latvia, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania
  • Keywords: Forest Brothers, USSR, Nazi/Fascist
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