Disinfo: Sputnik Estonia and its employees are being persecuted

Summary

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.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation campaign aimed at the Estonian authorities. There is no persecution against Sputnik in Estonia as clarified by a recent interview given by the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Estonia is on the 11th place of Reporters without Borders Press freedom index. It's important to note that Estonia has not blocked Sputnik Estonia's website, as 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 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. Banks in Estonia are not the only institutions to have taken action against Rossiya Segodnya for this reason. In 2015, Barclays bank closed the account used by the agency in the 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. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Russian media is being discriminated in the Baltic states and that Baltic states’ policies equal to Third Reich. Further information on Sputnik's operations can be read in our article circling-the-earth.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 178
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 26/12/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Estonia, Russia
  • Keywords: Dmitry Kiselyov, Sputnik
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Kaliningrad exclave is threatened by NATO

NATO is conducting non-stop activities of mobilization nature. And Russia is already presented as the main adversary. There are no direct threats to attack Russia. Nevertheless, different scenarios are being worked out. For example, to exclude options similar to the “annexation” of Crimea. The threat to Kaliningrad exclave has increased many times. One of the high-ranking NATO generals announced that a military operation against Kaliningrad region is possible. So, NATO exercises are a direct immediate threat to Russian borders.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Western attempts to encircle Russia, Western belligerence and Western aggression against Kaliningrad. The origins of this NATO scenario comes from a recent report by the American Jamestown Foundation entitled “How to Defend the Baltic States”, published in October 2019. The report mentions that “three Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - face powerful Russian forces” and therefore this report comes to “lay out the military units and force posture, along with changes to Alliance command and control, that would be needed to prevail in case Russia was to spark hostilities in the Baltic States” after it was proven that "Russian aggression in Chechnya, Georgia, Donbas, Crimea and Syria have proven that military force can be used successfully without eliciting a forceful response from the West". Russian media has extensively misquoted General Jeffrey Harrigian's statements given during a press briefing reported by the digital magazine Breaking Defence. During the press briefing, Gen. Harrigian outlined tactics the U.S. Air Force is developing in response to the ongoing threat of Russian anti-aircraft, anti-ship, and surface-to-surface missiles based in Kaliningrad. No U.S. or NATO plans to conquest or attack Kaliningrad were mentioned. Read full debunk by Polygraph here. In addition, during the Warsaw summit in July 2016, NATO has made it clear that "The Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia".

US does not provide satellite images to JIT on MH17 case

US satellites were supposed to “see” the moment of the crash of MH17, however, the information received was classified. And no one really recalls it now.

Disproof

No evidence given. This claim is a part of a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Flight MH17 and the Joint International Investigation. You can read similar cases as "Kremlin has nothing to do with an MH17 suspect", "JIT chose to ignore Russian evidence of the MH17 crash" and "MH17: JIT-investigation not interested in truth, Buk belonged to the Ukrainian army". The head of the Joint Investigative Team (JIT) Fred Westerbeke confirmed in an interview with the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, that the United States provided the investigation with highly classified satellite images from the time and place of the MH17 downing. "Yes, we have them. My officer, who has access to the intelligence materials marked "top secret" and "national secret", saw and analysed the United States' satellite data," Westerbeke said. U.S. intelligence also released part of the satellite images data and other evidence of a Russian connection to the downing of MH17 shortly after the incident took place. “It is time for Russia to cease its lies and account for its role in the shoot down,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert in a statement on May 24 2019. “Today’s announcement confirms and adds detail to what we have said from the earliest days of this tragedy: MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missile fired from territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia and Russia-led forces.” Read more on Polygraph.info.

Little has changed since Nazi Europe

This kind of people, like the former Polish ambassador to Nazi Germany, are now demolishing statues of Red Army soldiers and officers who liberated the countries of Europe and European peoples from Nazism. Those are their followers. In this sense, unfortunately, little has changed, and Russia must bear this in mind when strengthening its armed forces.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the omnipresence of Nazis in Europe. The Nazi ideology and the EU are based on opposite values ​​and principles.

Russian historical revisionism often targets Poland claiming that it is thanks to Russia that Poland exists as a country today and that Nazi Germany considered Poland its best ally.