Disinfo: Estonia is afraid of Sputnik’s influence

Summary

Threats to Sputnik journalists in Estonia indicate that the country must be afraid of their influence on people.

Disproof

There is no persecution against Sputnik in Estonia. The agency has been forced to move out of its office in Tallinn because of its inability to pay the rent due to sanctions. In October 2019, Estonia-based branches of the foreign banks that operated the accounts of Rossiya Segodnya, the mother company of Sputnik, froze all its transfers, while other banks in Estonia refused to operate with the firm. This is the result of the sanctions imposed by the European Union on Dmitry Kiselyov, the director general of Rossiya Segodnya, following the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis.

Banks in Estonia are not the only institutions to have taken action against Rossiya Segodnya for this reason. In 2015, Barclay’s bank closed the account used by the agency in UK. In 2016 Latvia's domain registry shut the website of Sputnik Latvia after receiving a letter of concern from the Latvian Foreign Ministry, which drew attention to Sputnik's coverage of Ukraine and routine denial of the embattled nation's territorial integrity. In July 2019, Latvian authorities blocked access to the online portal baltnews.lv, owned by Rossiya Segodnya, because of the EU sanctions. In mid-2019 a court in Vilnius ruled on blocking Sputnik Lithuania over copyright issues.

Estonia is ranked as the 11th freest country in the world for press by Reporters Without Borders. Estonia is considered a consolidated democracy by Freedom House and a Flawed Democracy by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index, similar to countries like the US, Japan, France, Portugal or Belgium. Thus, Estonia is by no means a totalitarian regime.

This is part of a recurrent Russian disinformation narrative to portray Baltic states as dictatorial and Kremlin-linked media as sources of alternative views and Russia as a global champion of press freedom. You can see other examples in our database, such as the claims of Russophobia at a state level in the Baltic countries (which leads to discrimination against their non-citizens), contrary to the allegedly brave efforts of Sputnik against intolerance in Lithuania, or the stories on how nice is to be a journalist in Russia, unlike in Europe.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 178
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/12/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Estonia
  • Keywords: Sputnik
  • Outlet: Sputnik International
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US Embassy controls decisions taken in Ukraine

Where did you get the idea that right now, the decisions are not being made at the same embassy [US]? The only difference is that other people make them.

Disproof

No evidence is given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine, which is often claimed to be under external control from the US or the EU.

Ukraine is a sovereign state. The US does not control Ukraine. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by most of the free world, confirmed by the resolutions of the United Nations, but violated by Russia.

We can’t say whether humans are the cause of global warming

The Paris Agreement calls to avoid a 1.5 degree rise in temperature. Will we be able to do that or not? This is beyond our control. We do not know the real reasons behind climate change. We know times in history when the world was going through cold, and other periods characterised by high temperatures. The cause might be in cosmic processes, such as the difference in the Earth’s rotational axis, or a difference in the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Therefore, it is not possible to determine definitively if humans are the cause of global warming.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that climate change might not have been caused by human activity. It is not true that science does not possess evidence of human impact on climate change. On the contrary, there is a strong consensus among publishing climate scientists that humans are responsible for climate change. The greater the climate expertise among surveyed scientists, the higher the consensus on human-caused global warming.

Humans are increasingly influencing the climate and the earth's temperature by burning fossil fuels, cutting down rain-forests and farming livestock. This adds enormous amounts of greenhouse gases to those naturally occurring in the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and global warming. Preventing dangerous consequences of climate change is the key priority for the EU.

US is supporting and moving ISIS to Afghanistan

There is ample evidence of America’s involvement in supporting ISIS and the transfer of its forces to Afghanistan. The latest statistics indicate that there are 2,500 to 4,000 ISIS members in Afghanistan.

 

Disproof

No evidence is provided to support the claim. Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US supporting ISIS; examples can be found here and here. This message is part of a broader conspiracy theory alleging that the United States has established many terrorist organizations and controls global terrorism.

Both Russia and Iran are interested in portraying jihadist groups such as ISIS/Daesh as supported by the US. In reality, the US and NATO forces have been fighting ISIS, not helping them.