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NATO "Think Tanks" Fighting for Hearts and Minds

05.11.2015 16:50

George Levchenko

Earlier this year, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Denmark and Estonia called on the European Commission to develop a plan of action against Russian propaganda. It was proposed to establish a Russian-language TV channel, which would broadcast news and entertainment programs for Russian-speaking audiences in Europe and beyond.

After consideration of the idea by the EU Council for Foreign Affairs the head of European diplomacy Federica Mogherini reported that the ministers are discussing what other tools may be useful to counter Russia on the information field.

Moscow has already responded to this project, stating that the creation of a television channel, which will be deliberately misleading the Russian-speaking population of Eastern European countries goes "contrary to the principles of freedom of speech in the EU."

At the same time it should be noted that a few years ago, NATO opened the so-called "Center for Strategic Communication" in Riga, which is a sort of a "think tank." More than 20 similar centers were opened in the countries of the alliance in recent years, three of them in the Baltic States: Estonia is engaged in cyber security, Lithuania - energy security, Latvia - in NATO "strategic communications."

The mission of the center, according to representatives of the Baltic states, lies in researching and developing recommendations on several areas: information and psychological operations, public relations, propaganda.

In October, the topic has received a new spin: EU External Actions Service experts on countering Russian propaganda arrived in Ukraine. Their duties include communication and promotion of EU policies in the "Eastern Partnership" framework, strengthening of media and media independence, increasing EU's potential in the field of forecasting and responding to "misinformation". Recently, it was determined that Jakub Kalensky (Czech) will lead the Ukrainian direction of EU propaganda structure.

In simple terms, NATO sent it's experts on information warfare to Ukraine, that have previously received training in the Baltic States. They will assist Kiev politicians leading the war against their own citizens. Later, Ukrainian President  Petro Poroshenko said that Kiev, together with its European partners will create a special counter-propaganda channel.

By creating such "think tanks" the alliance is trying to take control of the hearts and minds of Russian-speaking population in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe. According to foreign experts, NATO took uch policy because it's  lagging behind Russia in the information war. The impetus for this buildup was the return of Crimea to Russia, as well as Kremlin's informational and humanitarian support towards population of the southeast of Ukraine. A compliment from Pentagon: in both cases Russia  perfectly complies with it's  selected course without interfering openly.