The following analysis is based on the data obtained from the web page similarweb.com. We adopted the basis in May 2017, and we compared the numbers of propaganda channels with the number of users on other portals.
Number of visitors
The Estonian Sputnik had in May 252,000 and Baltnews.ee. 174,000 visits.
At the same time, the most popular Russian-language portal in Estonia rus.delfi.ee had 3.7 million and rus.postimees.ee 2.6 million visits.
The number of visits comparable to Sputnik and Baltnews in May was by vecherka.ee with 306 000 visits, rus.err.ee with 208 000 visits.
However, the remaining Russian-language media in Estonia, succumb to the propaganda channels. 109,000 visited the Dv.ee website, and 103,000 visited the North Coast portal in Russian-language. Respectively, Stolitsa.ee had 46,000, prospekt.ee 31,000 and moles.ee 8,000 visits. Stolitsa.ee accounted for 46,000, prospekt.ee 31,000 and moles.ee 8,000 visits.
For comparison, in May 11.9 million visited the Estonian media-portal Delfi in Estonia, and 12.4 million the Estonian daily Postimees online site.
45% of visits to the Estonian Sputnik portal come from Estonia, and 23% from Russia. For Baltnews.ee these numbers are respectively 43% and 28%.
The majority of the visitors find the propaganda portals via social media. 64% of Baltnews readers find it via social media, and respectively 30% believe Sputnik in that way. The majority of the visitors find their way through Facebook, as Vkontakte and Odnaklassniki effects are marginal.
Propaganda channels near the southern neighbours
The Latvian Sputnik page in May was visited by 193,000 and Baltnews.lv 165,000 times. Although the population of Latvia is larger, then both numbers are smaller than those in Estonia. However, 71% of Latvian Sputnik’s visits came from Latvia, which is much higher than in Estonia.
In Lithuania, the Sputnik page was viewed over 356,000 times, and there were 310,000 visits to the Baltnews.lt environment. Sputnik has 65%, and 67% of its visits come from Lithuania itself.
Estonian readers on Russian portals
For comparison, we also looked at some of Russia’s most popular news environments. For example, in May, 92 million visited rt.com and 73 million ria.ru.
The amount of traffic from Estonia was about 300,000 on rt.com’s website and 340,000 visits to ria.ru, which is comparable to the average Estonian news-sites in Russian.
In May, the small propaganda channels portals iarex.ru had 145,000, Vg-news.ru 50,000 visits. The primary source for the Mistral’s sale fake news, rurik-l.livejournal.ru, had 70 000 visits.
Propaganda portals Sputnik-news.ee and Baltnews.ee have in Estonian media landscape considerable influence. Neither of them reaches the level of Delfi and Postimees, but this is same to every other portal in the Russian language.
For Estonian readers these portals are marginal. But at the same time, when one looks at Sputnik in Russian and Estonian, then there are approximately 14 000 visits less in Russian, then in the Estonian language.
Sputnik’s homepage is in Estonian, and it may be assumed that 238,000 visits will be moving on from there to sections in Russian.
If it is thought that Sputnik is meant to catch the Estonian readers, then it is fair to suggest, that it has failed. (Sputnik has met a similar fate in Nordic countries, where the Russian minorities are not supporting the project.)
But it is important to point out that for Russian propaganda, the value of these portals does not lie on visits. These are pick-up sites, that helps to find propaganda articles and to make a fuzz about them. A good example of it is the are the interviews that some Estonian politicians gave to “marginal Sputnik” in May, which resulted in a political disturbance.
The author of photos, Propastop.