Disinfo: Estonia oppresses Russian media as part of the new global wave of anti-Russian sanctions


Russian journalists and media outlets are regularly attacked and oppressed by Baltic states’ authorities. Websites of Sputnik Lithuania and Sputnik Latvia were blocked for some time, recently Estonian authorities made Sputnik Estonia payments problematic claiming that the money is terroristic. Given that no Media Law exists in Estonia, there is no such thing as official accreditation, hence who will be considered a propagandist depends on what will be on the mind of a certain bureaucrat. It looks like a consecutive sanction wave against Russia is coming. WADA statement to ban Russia from the Olympics, events around Sputnik offices in the Baltic countries, and Zelenskyy’s visit to the Baltics are all parts of one chain.


This publication misrepresents the reasons behind occasional Baltic states' legal actions against Sputnik and puts forward a conspiracy of West's concerted anti-Russian actions.

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.

Although there is no specific law on the press in Estonia, the media space is regulated by the Estonian journalists code of ethics and various pieces of legislation. Freedom of speech in Estonia is guaranteed by the Constitution, laws and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Estonia is ranked as the 11th freest country in the world for press by Reporters Without Borders and belongs to Freedom House's Freedom of the Press top countries.

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. In mid-2019 a court in Vilnius ruled on blocking Sputnik Lithuania over copyright issues.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Estonia and Lithuania are totalitarian, that Russian media is being discriminated in the Baltic states, and that Baltic states’ policies equal to Third Reich.


  • Reported in: Issue 177
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/11/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Latvia, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania
  • Keywords: Anti-Russian, Sanctions, Sputnik, Baltic states


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

see more

The US is Poland’s master

Poland is trying to serve two masters at the same time, not only relying on European Union funds, but also trying to bow to the United States of America. Perhaps it will become a base for Washington in the old world or will receive a large grant to defend American interests.


A common pro-Kremlin narrative on the “lost sovereignty”  of Poland, which is often presented as a “puppet-state” of the United States. The statement that Poland is submissive to the will of the United States is a conspiracy theory. Poland is a sovereign state, which shapes its own foreign and domestic policies.

Read similar cases alleging that Polish policy towards the US is shaped by the Americans and that the US keeps Poland on an anti-Russian leash.

Ukraine’s Russian speakers revolted against nationalist coup in Kyiv

In 2014, pro-Western ultra-nationalists led a coup d’etat in Kyiv, which precipitated a revolt by Russian-speaking provinces in the country’s east and south.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative painting the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests as a coup d'etat, Russia's armed aggression in the Donbas as an internal Ukrainian conflict, and the war as a result of the alleged discrimination which Russian speakers are facing in Ukraine.

The Euromaidan was not a coup but a nationwide popular uprising stemming from the government's last-minute decision not to sign the EU Association Agreement. See the full debunk here. Regarding the protests led by ultra-nationalists - the latter had a very limited presence throughout the Euromaidan and have consistently failed to win any parliamentary mandates since 2014.

Neo-Banderas’ Ukraine is under the US and NATO control

Verbal “fights” between neo-Banderas’ Ukraine and Russia are usual. The Banderas crossed all lines of decency. So, Ukraine continues to play the role of “Russia’s irritant”. This role was assigned to Ukraine by its masters, the US leaders and NATO commanders.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative, challenging Ukrainian statehood, painting Ukraine as a geopolitical hostage of the United States, claiming that the United States and NATO control Ukraine’s foreign and domestic policies.

Ukraine is a sovereign state. Neither the US nor NATO controls Ukraine. The United States recognised Ukraine as an independent state on December 25, 1991. Since then, Washington has been working closely with Ukraine, directing its assistance to support the development of a safe, democratic and free Ukraine, fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community. The European Union also supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. Ukraine is a priority partner for the EU. In June 2014, the EU and Ukraine signed an Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, which promotes deeper political ties, stronger economic links and the respect for common values.