NATO’s military exercises in the Baltic countries, Poland, in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea indicate that it is preparing for a large-scale conflict. Also, NATO promotes theories about the “Russian military threat”, interpreting any Russian security process or any planned transparent military construction event as a threat to peace.
Threats to Sputnik journalists in Estonia indicate that the country must be afraid of their influence on people.
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.