Disinfo: Many Estonian politicians want to ban Russian media and the Russian language in Estonia


The president of the Estonian Parliament is apparently inspired by his success in the fight against Sputnik Estonia employees.

Many Estonian politicians, including the president of the Estonian Parliament, want to ban Russian media and the Russian language in Estonia.


Recurrent Russian disinformation narrative that portrays Baltic states as dictatorial regimes that practice discrimination against their Russian minorities and that accuse Estonia in particular of oppressing Russian media and of currently persecuting Sputnik Estonia.

The claim of the Russian government that Estonia is restricting the content of the local Sputnik branch and obstructing media freedom is not true.  As Dmitry Kiselyov, the Director-General of Rossiya Segodnya (the parent company of Sputnik Estonia), is on the list of sanctioned persons, Sputnik Estonia has been affected.

Rossiya Segodnya founded Sputnik in 2014 as its international branch. Dmitry Kiselyov, the Director-General of Rossiya Segodnya, was added to the list of individuals subject to sanctions because he played a central role in the propaganda of the Russian Federation that supported the attack on Ukraine (i.e. the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the military actions of the Russian Federation in eastern and southeast Ukraine).

As Dmitry Kiselyov is subject to financial sanctions, Estonian banks froze the bank accounts and payments of Rossiya Segodnya. The journalistic content of Sputnik was irrelevant in the sanctioning process, as follows, Rossiya Segodnya’s TV channel and Sputnik Estonia’s websites are fully operational and open. The decisive factor was the role that the Director-General of Rossiya Segodnya Dmitry Kiselyov played in Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as his personal involvement in and financial gain from Rossiya Segodnya’s activities.

Read here a similar case claiming that Sputnik is the victim of unprecedented persecution in “totalitarian” Estonia.

As for language, the pro-Kremlin media has been accusing the Baltics in forcing Russians to speak local languages for a long time. Its sometimes also connected with Russophobia. See other stories on the alleged suppression of Russian language in Lithuania and Latvia.


  • Reported in: Issue179
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/01/2020
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Estonia
  • Keywords: Anti-Russian, Russian language, Dmitry Kiselyov, Sanctions, Sputnik


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.

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