Disinfo: Estonia pressures anyone with points of view diverging from the official one

Summary

Estonian intelligence exerts a variety of methods to pressure the opposition and independent politicians, public figures, human rights activists and journalists who represent a point of view inconsistent with the country’s domestic and foreign policies, as well as defenders of the rights of Russian-speaking communities.

“Sputnik – Estonia” news agency is under severe pressure from the authorities, which have increased greatly and amounted to repression and administrative restrictions since the fall of 2019 with the clear aim of liquidating the agency.

There are British coordinators involved in the practices of the Estonian authorities.

Disproof

This claim tries to show sanctions against Russia, due to its illegal actions in Ukraine, as unfair persecution against Sputnik and its employees, and against media freedom in general.

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. Thus, Estonia is by no means a regime that pressures opposition or those who represent a point of view inconsistent with the country's domestic and foreign policies.

Regarding censorship, Estonia has not blocked Sputnik Estonia's website and it is accessible. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu has emphasized that Estonia has not taken any measures against the portal's media content: "They are financial sanctions aimed at economic activity. I believe it to be justified. We have notified the European Commission's Legal Service. European agencies have said in the Commission that steps taken by Estonia in exercising sanctions policy are warranted."

The Article 2 of the Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine foresees freezing the assets of Dmitry Kiselyov, the Director-General of Rossija Segodnya. According to the articles of association of the company, the Director-General has the right to decide upon opening bank accounts and carry out invoicing. This corresponds to the condition "having the right to use all or part of the assets of a legal person or entity" in the EU Best Practices for the effective implementation of restrictive measures.

As for the participation of Brits in the Estonian decision, this conspiracy theory is based on the concept that countries or organisations are not independent but under the control of other countries or organisations. Examples of such disinformation narratives include NATO's Eastern European members are under Washington’s political and military control or The Economist is a mouthpiece of the Rothschilds and Europe is a puppet of Washington.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 185
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/02/2020
  • Outlet language(s)
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Estonia
  • Keywords: Censorship, Freedom of speech, Sputnik
see more

European Union is merely a market, aimed to destroy nation-states and abandon European values

Ever since the 1990s Europeans see the EU merely as a great market. The EU is based on neo-liberal theories that posit the primacy of economics over politics, and the domination of financial capital. As a result, we have built an EU which is only a market and that aims to destroy nation-states. The EU has thus abandoned genuine European values and has elevated the Euro to be its only value.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that seeks to discredit the EU, claiming that the EU has abandoned genuine European values and traditions and is built on the worship of money and of free-markets. This narrative is consistent with the pro-Kremlin propaganda theme about decadent values and moral decay in contemporary Western societies.

The article also repeats the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that claims the EU seeks to rob European nations of their sovereignty and identity.

President Duda and President Zelensky promote propaganda

Polish President Andrzej Duda is involved in propaganda, whereby he uses history to undermines Russia’s current position. And he’s not the only one, president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has also joined him.

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism – it accuses Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states of “falsification and re-writing” of their history. According to this policy, the Russian official historiography is the only “true” way of interpretation of historical events for the countries of Eastern and Central Europe.

The recent statements of President Duda and President Zelenskyy regarding WWII history are based on historical facts, shared by the majority of historians. First of all, it is a historical fact that both Nazi Germany and the Stalinist USSR were harsh totalitarian regimes, which directly caused the deaths of tens of millions of people. Secondly, these two regimes are mutually responsible for the outbreak of WWII. It is also a historical fact that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact contained the Secret Supplementary Protocol, which assumed the division of Poland and other Eastern European countries between the USSR and Germany. Thus, the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact enabled the German and Soviet military aggression against Poland in September 1939, which resulted in the occupation of this country by Germany and USSR, triggering the beginning of WWII.

Poland is largely responsible for WWII

The pre-war period is much more complex and ambiguous than presented by Russia’s opponents. The responsibility of Poland and many other European countries for the outbreak of WWII is large. Russia puts this responsibility on the pre-war political elite of Poland. It was the first to sign the non-aggression pact with Hitler in 1934, it tried to impose its friendship with Germany at all cost, it took part in the partition of Czechoslovakia and it enjoyed territorial gains thanks to the Munich Agreement.

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to erode the disastrous role of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by the statements that the USSR was forced to sign this pact; that other European countries signed various international agreements with Adolf Hitler, the Munich Agreement triggered WWII and various historical conspiracies saying that Western democracies wanted to inspire a war between Nazism and Communism.

The Munich Agreement (September 30, 1938), indeed, permitted German annexation of the Sudetenland in Western Czechoslovakia. The policy of appeasement towards Adolf Hitler was heavily criticised in Europe and proved to be a disastrous move. World War II began in Europe one year later, on 1 September 1939, when Germany invaded Poland.