DISINFO: The EU practises censorship and war propaganda against Russia
  • Outlet: Sputnik Germany (archived)*
  • Date of publication: February 06, 2020
  • Outlet language(s): German
  • Reported in: Issue 184
  • Countries / regions discussed: Estonia, Russia
Defender Europe 2020 Propaganda European Union Censorship Dmitry Kiselyov Sputnik Russophobia

DISINFO: The EU practises censorship and war propaganda against Russia


The EU practises censorship and war propaganda against Russia.

There is “censorship” and “war propaganda” in the EU and it is suspected that a “scheme” behind it is to be tested first in Estonia. (…) What’s going on right now is real censorship. But censorship is prohibited in Estonia by the constitution. (…) In January, the biggest NATO manoeuvre since the end of the Cold War began, Defender Europe 2020. This too is justified by the danger from the East. “This is war propaganda. We (Sputnik Estonia) do propaganda too, but in a way that we propagate good neighbourly relations between Russia and Estonia.”


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the undemocratic EU and European values. It also contains recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about the West's deliberate anti-Russian activities, double standards and about Russophobia in the Baltic states. 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 ranks 11th in the Reporters without Borders Press freedom index. Estonia has not blocked Sputnik Estonia's website. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Urmas Reinsalu has emphasised 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."

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 Rossiya Segodnya. As a result, Estonian banks froze accounts of Rossiya Segodnya and the Financial Intelligence Unit informed persons employed or contracted by Rossiya Segodnya that knowingly working for or providing services to a sanctioned person was forbidden.

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 weekly meetings where "media managers receive guidelines that 'help' them not to overstep the Kremlin’s so-called 'double white lines'." The EU vs Disinfo team has found 49 different Sputnik websites from all over the world and 31 of them are represented in the Disinformation cases database.

Moreover, there is no "war propaganda" against Russia in Western media; Exercise Defender-Europe 2020 poses no threat to Russia. Western media represent a wide range of opinions and do not follow a single editorial policy on any given topic. The freest countries in terms of press freedom are predominantly European countries, including Norway, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Estonia, Portugal, Germany.

See similar cases alleging that suspension of Sputnik Estonia is censorship and that the West wages information war against Russia.


Related disinfo cases


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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