News Brief

Anti-Canada Propaganda Greets Troops in Latvia

As the first wave of Canadian troops leading large-scale NATO exercises in the Baltics arrived in Latvia, Russian-language media warned Latvians that the Canadian military is filled with homosexuals and that Canadians cannot be trusted, reports CBC.

“The Gay Battlegroup: NATO has dug into Latvia” read the headline of an article accompanied by a picture of men posing in bathing suits. The caption describes him as a commander of a major Canadian airbase, but fails to mention that Russel Williams, who did in fact run CFB Trenton, the country’s largest military airbase, has been in prison since 2010 serving two life sentences for multiple murder and rape charges.

Anti-Western propaganda, which often takes facts out of context to sprinkle them over fiction, has been on a rise in the Baltics. And while many of the Russian-langauge sites that spread it remain obscure, Rita Rudusa of the Baltic Centre for Media Excellence told CBC that they don’t just make “white noise” but get posted and shared widely.

NATO exercises, which are designed to “deter Russian aggression in the Baltics” have seen a spike in anti-Western stories, with Canadians being just the latest target. Some articles claimed that the Canadian soldiers are walking around with loaded guns and therefore pose a safety threat to Latvia. Others cited studies that they said showed that many Latvians opposed the NATO deployment, when in fact the article they were sourcing said that the mission is supported by the majority of Latvians.