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Researcher: last chance for EU to understand the danger behind Russian propaganda

Anne Applebaum.
«Threatening the security of Baltic States has been the goal of Russia’s foreign policy for a long time,» – believes famous journalist and researcher Anne Applebaum. She has been researching matters of Russian propaganda, and warns that now is the last chance for Europe to wake up and understand just how dangerous it is.

Applebaum is currently working with countries that wish to return to being democratic after abandoning communism. After looking at the situation in Ukraine, she said in an interview to Latvijas Radio that it is clear as day – Russia’s goal is long-term destabilization and fanning the flames of riots there.

«The European Union has to stand up to Russian propaganda, because it is not only the former USSR territories in Central and Eastern Europe that are under fire nowadays, Western Europe is in danger as well,» – says the researcher.

«Europe’s story about democracy, economic reforms and growth is under fire by Russian reports about the failure of the transition period and the damage done by Western decadence. And we have yet to actually think about all this. Nevertheless, there are multiple solutions to it: support of existing media like Radio Free Europe or BBC Russia, or even by having a more active diplomatic dialogue in Eastern Europe and other locations. Discussions on this topic have only begun, which is rather unusual. All of this should have started if not years, then months ago. But more importantly is that people now admit such a problem exists, not just in Eastern Europe, but in the rest of it as well,» – says the researcher.

Applebaum believes the reaction to Russian propaganda should be unified on the level of the entire European Union: «I believe there should be a unified approach to it, because Russia’s propaganda is aimed against the entire European Union. It is not aimed just against Finland or Austria. One of Russia’s most important foreign policy goals is to ruin and break up the European Union. Russia does this by financing political parties of Euro-scepticts, such as Marine Le Pen’s party in France and by spreading rumours about the failure of Europe and the inability of Eastern European countries to adapt. EU should finally wake up and understand that there will otherwise be problems not just with Estonians or Ukrainians, but the French, Dutch and everyone else as well.»

When asked about the situation in the Baltics and whether or not Latvia has reasons for concerns, especially considering the development of the situation in Ukraine and Russia’s aggression, Applebaum said it is important to seriously consider the threats coming from Russia: «Destabilizing the safety and security of Baltic States has been a long-term goal of Russia’s foreign policy. The situation in Ukraine has shown that Russia is prepared to employ a new military dimension for the first time since the Cold War. And if this does not serve as a clear sign to just the Baltic States, it is one for NATO.»
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