Three Russian propaganda myths directed against Latvia


A co-author at the European Policy Studies Center (CEPA), Mārtiņš Kaprāns analyzed Russian propaganda messages about Latvia and outlined the three most commonly used ones.

According to the author, since the 1990’s, Russia has circulated three major propaganda narratives about Latvia:

  • The State systematically discriminates against Russian-speaking Latvians;
  • Fascism is on the rise in Latvia and
  • Latvia is a failed nation

According to the author, these statements about Latvia are used on a daily basis in the Russian media, although their impact on the population is still unclear.

In his analysis, Kaprāns rejects these narratives with the support of an opinion poll conducted in Latvia, which shows that Russian – speaking residents of Latvia do not see any danger to their language or cultures due to any governmental activities. More than half of the respondents believed there is no such threat at all in Latvia.

International relations, according to the survey graded 88% of the population as feeling good or satisfactory about the nation, as well as confirming that for example a conspiracy theory put out by the Latvian Kremlin minded radicals, that the country had built concentration camps for Russian-speaking Latvians was believed by less than 2% of the population.

The accusation of the growth of fascism is based on the Soviet era myth about the Latvian Legionnaires, who were considered to be the lapdogs of the German Army during this period, therefore their commemoration and recognition by the state is the considered to be the worship of Nazism and the justification of Nazi crimes. According to the survey neither Latvian nor Russian speaking residents find such a link and under 11% of Russian speaking residents believe that Fascists run the nation.

As regards to the narrative of the failed nation, the author points out the rising Latvian economy, increased incomes and overall satisfaction of Latvia which clearly comes out in the results of the poll.  The survey shows that pessimism of the nation has significantly decreased and only 3.6% of the population agrees with the narrative of a failed nation.

Propastop has previously published a comparison of Kremlin narratives on the three Baltic nations. Mārtiņš Kaprāns, in the main elements has brought out narratives, with very small differences being used in all three Baltic nations.

Graphics: author Mārtiņš Kaprāns, source: