This is the persecution, the real persecution, which is now being conducted against not only the Sputnik Estonia, but specifically, every employee who goes to work. Sputnik Estonia’s reporters did not violate the laws of the country and professional ethics.
The Estonian laws only foresee asset freezing for people and companies mentioned in the EU sanctions list. This means that Rossija Segodnya can only be sanctioned if it is proven that Dmitri Kiselyov owns or controls the assets of the organization. It’s a fact that Kiselyov does not own the money nor resources of Rossiya Segodnya, it’s all [Russian] state property.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative portraying Western governments as hostile toward "alternative voices" in the media, particularly Russian ones.
Estonia is on the 11th place of Reporters without Borders Press freedom index. Estonia has not blocked Sputnik Estonia's website, it is accessible and operational. 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, who is 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.
Furthermore, claims that the Estonian laws only foresees asset freezing for people on an EU personal sanctions list is incorrect. "This means that if Rossiya Segodnya, which is controlled by Dmitry Kiselyov, against whom sanctions have been imposed, has assets in Estonia, they must be frozen and access must not be given to funds or economic resources, that is provide services that would enable Rossiya Segodnya to do business. When it comes to Estonia, this prohibition applies to people operating in the territory of Estonia," head of anti-money laundering authority the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Madis Reimand said.
Sputnik was created by a Presidential decree with the aim to “report on the state policy of Russia abroad”. Numerous reports have described how top managers from all the large government-controlled outlets and some influential private media attend the weekly meetings where "media managers receive guidelines that “help” them not to overstep the Kremlin’s so-called “double white lines”".