This paper aims to find out the rhetoric of Lithuanian presidential candidates during the 2009, 2014 and 2019 election campaigns with respect to Russia and its threat to Lithuania’s national security, as well as how candidates’ rhetoric changed when comparing these three election campaigns. The 2009, 2014 and 2019 elections as the research object were chosen because the 2009 and 2014 elections were held just a few months after the beginning of the Russo-Georgian War in 2008 and the annexation of Crimea and the beginning of the war in Donbas in 2014, while the 2019 Lithuanian presidential election took place amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. In order to answer the research question, an analysis of candidates’ election programs and speeches during televised debates broadcasted by the Lithuanian National Broadcaster before all three elections, was performed. Comparative analysis of the election campaigns has shown that there was a significant shift in candidates’ rhetoric regarding Russia, Lithuania’s bilateral relations with Russia, and the assessment of the threat posed by Russia to Lithuania’s national security when comparing the 2009, 2014 and 2019 presidential elections. In 2014 and 2019, unlike in 2009, the majority of candidates began to refer to Russia as an aggressor country that posed a security threat to Lithuania.
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