Erna Trek, completing its 17th year of competitions has traditionally been repeatedly attacked in the Russian media throughout the years. Just as the competition has become a tradition so has the condemnation of the trek as a disseminator of Nazism. The year of 2017 is dramatically different from former times in that the reporting in the Russian media is much more active than previous years.
The Russian foreign Ministry joined the attack against Erna Trek this year as well when their representative, Maria Zahharova stated that it was a shameful action, which praises Nazism and defiles the memory of the victims of Fascism. She said: „ The Russian Foreign Ministry has constantly condemned similar activities, “adding that the support of the Estonian nation to this type of event can only be taken as popularization of Nazism and an attempt to re-write the history of World War Two.
In addition, the representative of the foreign Ministry has also packaged into her performance, criticism of the NATO produced film on the Brothers of the Forest as well as sharply denouncing the participation of British soldiers in Erna Trek this year. „ We have noticed with regret that NATO has not made necessary conclusions from the recent tragic past but just the opposite, inciting its Baltic underlings to engage in such dangerous and not far from children’s games, “said Zahharova.
This year the criticism of Erna Trek is one part of a larger wave against Estonia as promotors of fascism. At the end of the summer, the condemnations have been brought forth initiating sanctions against Estonian and Latvia as well as criticizing the NATO produced Forest Brothers media clip.
Also of note, several stories appearing in Russian media were using the texts of Russian propaganda network’s Sputnik or Baltnews from Estonia. Sputnik has contributed to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s attempts at discretization by distributing the criticism in three languages, not only in Russian but also in Estonian and English. As usual, Ria Novost has distributed large quantities of material. The media in Russia have attacked Erna Trek for years. The first large piece of criticism came in 2007, which due to the events surrounding the evening of the bronze soldier was a larger propaganda attack.
This year the Russian Foreign Ministry used an already traditional wording: „ national support in this type of venture can only be taken as an attempt at trying to popularize Nazism as well as a desire to re-write the history of the Second World War.“
The Russian foreign Ministry also attacked other participating countries in their 2007 criticism: „ It is surprising that countries that were part of the coalition against Hitler are sending their soldiers to take part in Erna Trek. Forgetting that they are morally supporting those that perceive the roll of the SS forces in a very strange and unusual way. “
Some of the most active years were 2010 and 2011, when they repeated the same wording of Nazi popularizing and the re-writing of the events of the Second World War. Andreas Breivik’s act of terror committed on the island of Utøya was used successfully as the background for pro-Nazi accusations relating to Erna Trek and the Blue mountains gathering.
During other years, the topic has been reported on a smaller scale. In those years, the Foreign Ministry has repeated the same statements but it has not been reported in a very big way. Following the 2017 trend, it can be assumed that the year will bring additional accusations of Nazism and fascism towards Estonia.
While piecing this article together, Propastop noticed that Russian propaganda channels, that accuse Erna Trek of Nazism, display a large number of Estonian local government election campaign advertisements. We especially noticed the IRL mayoral candidate’s advertisement that was right beside the article on Erna Trek. Propastop has put together a blacklist of Russian propaganda channels that should not be subsidized with advertisement monies as well as has referenced opportunities on how to avoid them.
We will continue to advise against the support of these channels.
Photos: screen out takes from vesti.ru and globalwarnews.ru websites.