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Russian media have "moderate" effect on processes in Latvia

Russia's systemic propaganda poses threat to Latvia's national security in the long term, but last year Russian media's effect on the processes in Latvia was moderate, according to the Latvian Constitutional Protection Bureau's annual report submitted to the government yesterday, informs LETA.

The effectiveness of Russian propaganda in Latvia is due to the availability of Russian media in Latvia and the fact that large part of Latvia's society considers Russian media their main source of information. Russian TV channels rebroadcast in Latvia are all controlled by the Russian government, and information they disseminate fully complies with the Kremlin's position. 

During the past two years, Russia has been working hard to increase its media's presence in the neighbor countries, including in Latvia. This mostly concerns the RT television channel and the Sputnik project of the Russian media holding Rossia Segodna. 

Russia's information campaigns include propaganda aimed at various target audiences, disinformation, and events organized by Russia's special services. Russia's propaganda in Latvia last year mostly dealt with NATO policies and NATO forces' presence in the Baltic Sea region. While the media in Russia were portraying NATO as an aggressor and a force hostile to Russia, the Russian media in Latvia tried to discredit NATO policies and make their audiences question NATO's commitment to protect the Baltic countries. 

Internationally, Russian media continued their smear campaign against Latvia, traditionally based on allegations about falsification of history, rebirth of Nazism, violations of non-citizens and Russian-speakers' rights in Latvia.

 The report also says that under Russia's compatriot policy, which targets Latvia's Russian-speakers, several organizations and projects in Latvia receive financing from Russian funds. These organizations and projects are instrumental in the Kremlin's efforts to divide Latvia's society and discredit Latvia at the international arena on the basis of alleged violations of Russian-speakers' rights in Latvia, and to hamper ethnic minorities' integration in Latvia.