Kremlin has attempted to launch its regional globalization project, the political and economic interests of which are formed in the shape of the Eurasian Economic Union and idealistic values – as Russian Orthodox-coloured Russian world. This makes Russia a virtually ideal multi-dimensional fortress, the walls of which are built in the hearts and minds of people, as concluded in Eastern European Policy Research Centre’s compilation of articles ‘Fortress Russia: political, economic and security situation in Russia after the annexation of Crimea and its effect on Baltic States’.
Nerijus Maliukevičius, researcher of Vilnius University’s International Relations and Political Science Institute, and Simons Spurgs, political and international matters expert, have mentioned in their study that media plays a major role in the construction process of Russia’s fortress.
The cynicism with which Russian media spread propaganda and disinformation is unparalleled, the researchers believe. They note that cultivation of fear and constant lies is an everyday thing for Russian media. «They have to lie about Russia being a fortress surrounded by enemies because that way people will unite around the nation’s leaders,» – researchers say.
They also emphasize that the cultivation of the idea of a surrounded fortress in Russian media leads to so-called self-fulfilling prophesies – Russian residents, fearing the allegedly evil outside world, support Russian President’s aggressive foreign policy, which results in the free world turning against Putin’s regime and all of Russia.
Putin’s ability to make Russia an attractive regional power is limited. This is why the goals of the Russian president are realized in a virtual – propaganda-filled world. This works like narcotics – giving temporary relief and creating much worse problems in a long-term perspective.
«Unfortunately, regional domination is paid for using real money of Russia’s budget and the lives of neighbouring countries,» – explains publicist and regional political matters expert Dmitry Oreshkin. He warns that Putin’s ideology and policy pushes Russia closer to cataclysms that may prove dangerous to neighbouring countries as well.
AAPC Executive Director and editor Andis Kudors notes that a person is like a small screw in a large machine, with no personal choice and responsibilities, is good for Putin’s centralized system, where the elite have no need for an active civil society, but rather a submissive herd of sheep.
Kudors also reminds that Baltic States have tried realizing a pragmatic policy with Russia. Russia’s realized media policy, on the other hand, is aimed at fracturing society in Baltic States. The response of Baltic States should be aimed at their inside – unification of their respective societies under national symbols and democratic values – in order to delay Russia’s destructive influence.
Western countries should also understand that the wish of Baltic States to strengthen national identity is a powerful defence tool against the authoritarian regime in Russia, whose goal is not to encourage democracy in neighbouring countries, but rather to use the openness of Baltic States for its own regional dominance.
Kudors also emphasized that during the next NATO summit member states should discuss or decide on deploying additional troops in Baltic States. «Putin’s aggressive regime should be fenced around with help from methods employed in the Cold War,» – he explained.