In a testy Twitter exchange this week, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that Russia is currently dealing with “Nazi remnants” in Europe after NATO created an official video glorifying the actions of anti-Soviet partisans in the Baltics.

The video in question is a NATO mini-documentary highlighting a guerrilla campaign waged by citizens of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania before, during, and after the Second World War. The partisans were known as the “Forest Brothers,” a reference to how the fighters would disappear, re-consolidate, and reorganize to fight from the forests of the Baltic States against the Soviet occupiers.

But as is typical for the Russian fake news effort to undermine NATO and the west, Rogozin is attempting to cast the legacy of the Forest Brothers as a Nazi underground resistance. This is a reference to how the German army created divisions of Estonian and Latvian conscripts to serve in the Waffen SS. These divisions were designed to combat Soviet partisans in the Baltics, and to eventually slow the Russian re-occupation towards the end of the war.

The fact that men from these countries nominally ‘served’ in the SS is misleading, their participation was more of a reality of being sandwiched between two world powers. Before the Nazi occupation, tens of thousands of men from the Baltic nations were conscripted into the Soviet army as well.

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The Forest Brothers waged an effective guerrilla campaign that troubled the Soviets for years after the war. Active fighting occurred well into the 1950s.

With recent aggressive actions by Russia in Ukraine and Syria, the Baltic states have all indicated genuine fear of another Russian invasion. Being small countries with relatively small military forces as well, the Baltic states are preparing for the possibility of waging unconventional warfare against the Russians should an invasion occur.

NATO’s mini-documentary includes a showcase of modern Lithuanian Special Forces discussing their spiritual forebears in the Forest Brothers, undoubtedly a clear message to the Russians that another well-organized guerrilla movement will greet them should they choose to invade again.

Watch the NATO documentary here:

Featured image courtesy of the NATO Channel