The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Lithuania has reacted to the latest riots that unfolded outside Parliament. The minister noted that in the context of the developments around illegal migrants, this is a pre-planned anti-government act. An obvious question arises: Who is behind it?
Of course, the protests erupted immediately after Lithuania introduced tough measures to prevent the breakthrough of illegal migrants from the territory of Belarus. These measures were presented in media with the embedded narrative “Lithuania is a fascist state.” Naturally, the protests were not a spontaneous manifestation of indignation of the country’s tolerant stratum. Moreover, in the context of these protests, completely unexpected narratives emerged and got woven into the general line.
For example, the protests, timed with the extraordinary session of the Seimas, where the issues were supposed to be considered of expanding the army’s powers in non-war conditions (including to fight off illegal migration flows), were presented as popular discontent over restrictive measures targeting unvaccinated citizens.
But, what’s most interesting, those who came to the rally in order to express their disagreement with the attitude of the authorities towards the unvaccinated, were presented as those protesting against their country’s migration policy.
First of all, that’s the kind of coverage that was seen across Russian media, whose information potential is difficult to underestimate, and secondly in Belarus, targeting domestic information consumers.
But, most importantly, within the framework of these protests, certain groups of young athletic males started clashes with law enforcement, which also received wide coverage, primarily in the Russian media. So what was that about anyway?
After Lithuania initially fell under “migrant attack” from Belarus in June 2021, being subjected to pressure by Minsk authorities, the country’s government drew certain conclusions to prevent this “migration terrorism.” First of all, this was done after evidence emerged that Belarus border had in fact contributed to trafficking migrants across their own border to Lithuania, not only bringing them to the border line, but even dismantling barbed wire barriers at certain border sections!
However, it is worth noting that Belarus would never have undertaken such an effort without getting a “green light” from Russia, main supplier of illegal migrants from Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. to Belarus. It is Russia that is the main supplier of the latest mass of illegal migrants, which Belarus is already using to put pressure on the Baltic states, again, in full accord with Russia.
When Lithuania cut off this flow and, moreover, started returning migrants back to the country of arrival, Belarus, a multilevel hybrid scenario was applied to compromise Lithuania.
First of all, within the framework of this hybrid scenario, the following message was relayed: Lithuania is an intolerant state expelling “migrants in hardship” from its territory. This was done clearly to discredit Lithuania in the eyes of its European partners, whose migration tolerance has been hypertrophied to the limit — something Russia has been exploiting for decades to help its agents of influence Europe.
Secondly, this is a reason to accuse yet another EU country of some sort of Nazism, fascism, or whatever it’s called, aiming to reach out domestic audiences — that is, in Russia and Belarus.
But, much more important for the assessment is the third nuance about the effort. After all, it actually reveals all the facets of the threat that is now ripening at the Baltic borders.
First of all, we must assess the situation in advance, namely, the upcoming Zapad (West) 2021 exercises, which, in fact, have already kicked off and within which a Russian military component is being deployed on the territory of Belarus. In addition, in anticipation of the deployment of this force, an effort to destabilize an adversary, a NATO Ally, is being made, using operational capabilities of Russia’s GRU military intelligence and the defense ministry’s psy-ops units.
In the context of the so-called protests, I’d like to remind you that practically in any EU country there is a Russian diaspora, a Kremlin’s human asset network, as well as Russian militant groups often using sports and fight clubs as front organizations.
Let me also remind you of my 2020 article Radical Refugees at Kremlin’s Service in Europe and Around the World, where I mentioned the publication in Germany’s Bild of an excerpt from the book entitled Putin’s Secret War, authored by Boris Reitschuster, a German journalist and recognized expert on Russian influence in Germany and Europe.
Those pieces said the Kremlin’s elite military spec op forces have long been deployed in the EU countries and are ready at any time to resurface and comply with practical orders from Moscow.
Boris Reitschuster, who thoroughly studied the topic of fight clubs in Europe, noted that the overwhelming majority of members of the popular Russian martial arts network Sistema, including those founded by emigrants from Russia, while being just ordinary enthusiasts, have been actively used by Russian intelligence services to recruit agents from the most radical strata. According to the author, there are somewhere from 250 to 300 militants under direct control of Russian special services in Germany alone.
Similar clubs exist throughout Europe, so wherever organized groups of young fit men appear at protest actions within larger crowds, acting in a well-coordinated manner compared to other protesters, the question rises about the true purpose of their involvement.
In Lithuania, we saw it just the other day, and these were not some Minsk-controlled agents of influence, these were precisely Moscow’s guys as Russia is now using Belarus as the nearest front of pressure on the EU states. And when anywhere in the media reports suggest that some European country is being destabilized by the Lukashenko regime and that certain measures should be taken against him, it should be immediately noted that these measures should be taken against Russia as well. This is the country that is now pulling the strings of the Lukashenko regime.