Disinfo: Russian media and language under pressure in the Baltics


Some countries are carrying out a campaign against the Russian language. Pressure is mounting on Russian media in the Baltic states. Aggressive attempts are aimed against everything related to Russia. But this policy is doomed to fail.


This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin media, claiming that Europe, especially the Baltic states, follow a blatant anti-Russian policy and are attempting to stifle Russian media in the area. In reality, the European Union’s efforts are aimed against Russia’s aggressive policies and manipulation, not against the Russian language, ethnic Russians or Russian-speaking people living in the EU.

No-one questions Russia’s significant contribution to world civilisation with its prominent writers, scientists and artists, but when it comes to pro-Kremlin media and bloggers, the West’s position is clear.

Latvia and Lithuania took Russian broadcaster RT off the air last year, calling its channels “propaganda” and citing its ties to one of Russia’s top propagandists, Dmitry Kiselyov, who is currently under EU sanctions.

Baltic states provide a broad choice of sources of information for its inhabitants, including information in the Russian language. I.e., Latvian Public Service Media offer a full-time radio programme as well as TV productions including daily news and analytics in Russian. The multimedia news platform has an editorially independent Russian language section rus.lsm.lv.

Out of approximately 385 television programmes registered by the Latvian media regulator 50 are available in Latvian, more than 200 – in Russian, approximately 200 – in English, 21 – in Ukrainian, 2 – in Belarusian etc. (the exact numbers change all the time). All of the top 5 most visited Latvian internet news platforms have Russian versions. There are 44 commercial and non-commercial radio programmes registered in Latvia, 17 of those broadcast in Russian.

In the “Freedom of the press 2020” ranking (by Reporters Without Borders) Estonia is on 14th place, Latvia on 22nd place, Lithuania on 28th place. The region is not monolithic. Estonia belongs to the group of states where the situation is evaluated as “good”, the situation in Latvia and Lithuania is “fairly good”. Russia holds in this ranking 149th position, the situation of media freedom in the country described as “bad”.

In the “Freedom in the World” ranking (by Freedom House) Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were evaluated as free countries. Russia belongs to the group of non-free countries.

Read more disinformation narratives alleging that the West is fostering Russophobia.


  • Reported in: Issue 248
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/06/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia, EU, Lithuania, Latvia, EU
  • Keywords: Russophobia, Russian language, Russia Today (RT)
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A recurrent disinformation narrative about Western sanctions against Russia, falsely portraying them as unwarranted and prejudiced.

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The article’s claim is consistent with the broad pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming the US or other Western countries support and finance terrorism.

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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to blame the deterioration in relations between Russia and the West exclusively on Ukraine, ignoring the reasons which led to the deterioration of these relations and the implementation of sanctions.

The West and specifically the EU has imposed restrictive measures, including sectoral sanctions, due to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Russia's destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine.