Latvian populists change rhetoric amid country’s worst COVID outbreak / Article


Article titled “Latvian Populists Change Rhetoric Amid Country’s Worst COVID Outbreak” by Nika Aleksejeva describes how “populist opposition politicians who have already profited from the amplification of anti-vaccination narratives have changed their rhetoric, pushing more generic messages about the failure of the current government to act and prevent the epidemic. This shift in rhetoric shows how some populist politicians, as previously reported by the DFRLab, are using ever-changing messages to advance their political aspirations.

In short, these politicians feel that they do not need to stick to a particular position, even if they describe it as a matter of principle, and will readily switch to another position if the death toll or the public mood swings in another direction. They also do not hesitate to criticize both the low rates of voluntary vaccination while casting doubt on the safety or efficacy of vaccines and qualifying the vaccination program as compulsory. They also like to use genocide rhetoric or symbolism.

The statements of politicians Ainārs Šlesers and Aldis Gobzems are central to the analysis which can be read here.

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) studies disinformation by exposing lies and fake news, documenting human rights violations, and building digital resilience around the world.

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