Springstorm in propaganda spin


Russian news channel Rossija24 published a piece of news in May about Estonian annual military exercises. They put in four minutes’ multiple video clips and comments, which lead to a final old Russian propaganda point – Estonian inhabitants are strictly against NATO and the allied forces.

Propastop noticed this video because it was combined with truths, lies and themes, which had nothing to do with the initial story. And just as an icing on a cake, the story was commented by Dmitri Linter, who is known as the Bronze Night provoker.

We took some of the more robust statements and tried to verify them based on public sources.

The story was based on a farmer, who supposedly had to defend his property and land against the invading NATO soldiers.

There was an actual event, where a local farmer Ivo Loonik, who for some unknown reasons tried to win the attention of the soldiers, by shooting his shotgun in the air. He also gives a lengthy and thorough interview to Estonian daily Postimees, where he assures multiple times, that he has nothing against the exercise or the Estonian Defence Forces. He also finds the state defence to be necessary.

The Russian story has also included contorted comments from the Estonian Defence Forces. They cut a clip from the morning tv-show ETV+, where major Deniss Metsavas, seemingly denies the events. The denial did not take place, and the original story was more in-depth and longer.

One of the weirdest claims was made by Dmitri Linter, who said that two Russian diplomats, who were observing the exercise, were expelled from Estonia. There are many articles in Estonian, where they verify the expelling of the diplomats, but none of them says nothing about them being exercise observers. They say that the diplomats were bound up with the boulder saga.

The final result of the combination of this news was to assert, that Estonian inhabitants do not support allied forces and NATO. Their deployment is just creating tension in Estonia.

A marketing research in 2015 shows a different picture – more than two-thirds of the population support the deployment.

Propastop has created a propagandabingo to check how many propaganda narratives are present in a news story. Unsurprisingly, many of the narratives were present in the Rossija24 story.