The State Security Department (VSD) prepared a presentation about threats to information security related to the funding of Russian propaganda in Lithuania. It was presented to the Committee on National Security and Defence by deputy director of the VSD Kęstutis Budrys.
"The VSD presented to us the entire infrastructure of broadcasting Russian propaganda in Lithuania, institutions that were created and used in various ways by Russians to disseminate their propaganda. Schemes were shown how these information channels are funded, how offshore companies and illegal payments are used. An entire system exists which, I would say, is being funded in violation of the law. They also explained to us how our citizens get recruited to work in those media outlets, especially young people in schools - their interest to choose career in journalism is encouraged, they are sent to Russia to study journalism and work here upon return," Paulauskas told reporters.
According to the MP, VSD representatives said that law enforcement agencies had been alerted about possibly illegal actions.
Paulauskas says various institutions are operating and at the moment Russians are looking to establish or acquire a radio station, but have not been successful so far. "They are doing their targeted work with the help of the press, television, online channels and we were shown how the schemes work and who is responsible for what," said MP Paulauskas.
The MP said that Russian-language media disseminating Russian propaganda was "receiving instructions directly from Moscow, the Embassy and all other sources". Paulauskas refused to name concrete sums of money these media outlets receive.
According to the chairman of the Committee on National Security and Defence, alternatives must be created to counter such propaganda. "We discussed that alternatives are needed and that some channels or newspapers are selling themselves out in order to survive. Three factors were explained clearly - we must develop resistance capabilities of our citizens, create alternatives and, third, consider the issue of responsibility," said Paulauskas.
The MP added that better coordination is needed in Lithuania, greater funding and clearer strategy. These factors will be included in the Committee's findings.
Paulauskas claimed that although Russian propaganda was spread through a wide range of media, including the press, websites, radio and TV, it was nonetheless facing difficulties.
"Even in other countries, such as Latvia, those activities are much more successful. In Lithuania the audience is small," said Paulauskas.