Epithets for the Elite

Framing the story about the Lithuanian political elite

Nausėda’s right-hand man warned the people of Lithuania – we need to tighten our belts and prepare for a long war

Kęstutis Budrys, the chief adviser to the state leader Gitanas Nausėda, who is always neatly combed, announced that the war in Ukraine will not end soon.

„I say that we need to tighten our belts, both literally and figuratively, and prepare for a long military conflict,“ informed K. Budrys while speaking on June 7 on the state broadcaster’s program “Dienos tema”. (Lithuanian for “Topic of the Day”)

According to the man, „this war will be long, because it is extremely important for us – it is our position.“

K. Budrys assumed the position of chief adviser immediately before Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine on February 24, i.e. from February 17.

Before that, he worked as the Deputy Director of the State Security Department (VSD). 

Previously, K. Budrys also worked as an adviser to the official state secret of the Russian Federation, president Dalia Grybauskaitė, in the National Security Group. 

“Nausėdos dešinioji ranka Lietuvos gyventojus perspėjo – reikia veržtis diržus ir ruoštis ilgam karui.” ekspertai.eu, 7 June 2022, https://ekspertai.eu/nausedos-desinioji-ranka-lietuvos-gyventojus-perspejo-reikia-verztis-dirzus-ir-ruostis-ilgam-karui/


This article published on the website ekspertai.eu focuses on the commentary on the Russo-Ukrainian war, given by the national security adviser to the president of Lithuania Kęstutis Budrys, which was aired on the national TV channel. The thing that concerns us the most is the rhetoric of the article and the information that is given to describe the persons mentioned in it. In the second paragraph Kęstutis Budrys, in addition to his occupation, is described as an “always neatly combed” man. In the fourth paragraph the readers are given the information that he assumed the office just before the war started. Later, the text claims that Mr Budrys worked for the State Security Department. At the end of the article Kęstutis Budrys is also mentioned as a former adviser to the former president of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, who is described as an “official state secret of the Russian Federation”. Taking into account the anti-government and anti-establishment stances of ekspertai.eu, we might assume what the authors want the readers to think.

Firstly, they want to mock the political elite by making a joke about the appearance of K. Budrys. This kind of argument is called Ad hominem, (1) a rhetorical strategy when an article attacks various attributes of a person, rather than focusing on their position. Secondly, since the article is about the possible longevity of the Russo-Ukrainian war, the authors might want to persuade the readers that by assuming the office just before the war Mr Budrys was very well informed about it before the war even began. And finally, that this is all legitimate since Kęstutis Budrys worked both in the State Security Department and for the president, who allegedly has ties to Russia. Since the authors try to imply that there is no connection between the given facts, there is no analysis and no well-founded arguments provided. The article is framed in the way to manipulate the readers to fill in the blanks and develop anti-establishment sentiments. Framing (2) is a process by which the media places the events and topics they report in a certain perspective or in certain “frames”. In other words, a story is put in such a way so that the readers would think what the medium wants them to think. 

More information about Ad Hominem: 

Mizrahi, Moti „How Ad Hominem Arguments Can Demolish Appeals to Authority“. Aeon, 10 July 2019,  https://aeon.co/ideas/how-ad-hominem-arguments-can-demolish-appeals-to-authority Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.


[1] “The Ad Hominem Fallacy | Idea Channel | Pbs Digital Studios.” YouTube, 22 Oct. 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVFK8sVdJNg. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022. 

[2] “Framing Bias Explanation- Cognitive Biases.” YouTube, 15 Oct. 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSQr9JhesKE. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022. .

about the source:

ekspertai.eu is a Lithuanian anti-government, anti-establishment and conspiracy theories news website that was established in 2007. Its name literally means “experts.eu” in Lithuanian. The portal calls itself the only dependent news outlet in the country. Its content usually includes very short articles (some of them being only a sentence long) which try to mock the Lithuanian political elite, political parties and other actors and, according to the State Security Department, spread pro-Russian propaganda (1). The portal also shares various videos produced by the Lithuanian anti-government actors and organizations. It is also known for its commentary section, which does not restrict ordinary users from spreading hate speech and lies. 

[1] Želnienė, Liepa. “Kiek Žmonių Lietuvoje Skaito Prorusišką Propagandą Platinančius Portalus?” 15min.Lt, 15min, 14 Sept. 2017, https://www.15min.lt/naujiena/aktualu/lietuva/kiek-zmoniu-lietuvoje-skaito-prorusiska-propaganda-platinancius-portalus-56-852744.


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