Disinfo: The Baltic countries had well-developed economy during the Soviet era

Summary

The Baltic countries, influenced by Russophobic propaganda initiated in the West, are increasing their defense budgets and regularly procuring weapons and military equipment from NATO partners (mainly from the United States and Britain).

Thirty years ago – before making the abrupt transition to the camp of “Russia’s adversaries” – the Baltic countries (as well as Ukraine) had a well-developed economy, largely oriented towards Russia, while now they have been virtually destroyed.

Incidentally, just like withdrawing from NATO, making the transition to the category of neutral countries would free up the budgetary funds that are so necessary for these countries today, and that they now spend on weapons to counter the so-called “threat from Russia”, which continues to be just the fruit yielded by Russophobic propaganda by the United States and Great Britain.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation consistent with disinformation narratives about socio-economic degradation in the Baltic States as opposed to their alleged well-being under the USSR. Estonia’s GDP per capita in 1993 was 5749 dollars, while in 2019 it had increased to 38,811 dollars.

The economic situation of all three Baltic states is rather positive, as demonstrated by the economic growth indicators in the EU. The dynamics within the last years can be seen here.

These trends have been supported by the World Economic Forum data.

By claiming that 30 years ago Baltic countries had a well-developed economy oriented towards Russia, the author knowingly ignores the human price of turning the Baltic economies from the West to East. The Soviet repressions and occupation lasted for 50 years and the estimated war and occupation deaths are at 90,000 in Estonia, 180,000 in Latvia, and 250,000 in Lithuania. Furthermore, it has been estimated that between 1946 and 1953 deportations and violent deaths reached 95,000 in Estonia, 125,000 in Latvia, and 310,000 in Lithuania.

NATO’s concern about Russia’s security challenges to the alliance is genuine and not a pretext for stationing more NATO military resources near Russia’s borders. Ever since the 2014 Ukraine crisis, NATO and Western governments have been genuinely concerned about Russia’s increasingly aggressive foreign and military policies and about the challenges posed by Russia to Transatlantic security.

Moreover, in the past six years European governments and security services have been increasingly concerned about Russian hostile influence activities aimed at weakening the EU and NATO, fermenting divisions in societies and discrediting and destabilising liberal democracies. Such activities – often described as “hybrid threats” – include cyber-attacks, disinformation campaigns, interference in political processes, energy pressures, intelligence operations, the strategic use of corruption and the deployment of unmarked military personnel.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 220
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/11/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Latvia, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania
  • Keywords: economy, security threat, Occupation, War in Ukraine

Disclaimer

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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