Accusations of Apartheid in Kremlin media headlines


„Der Spiegel wrote: apartheid is a part of everyday life for Russians in Estonia and Latvia!“ This can be summarized by a series of articles that appeared in several Kremlin backed propaganda portals in the early part of the year. The word „apartheid“ was used in RT, Vzgljad, Baltnews, Rubaltic,, Rueconomics headlines.

A member of the Russian Federation Council, Aleksei Puškov referred to the concept of a racial separation policy in his tweets where he stated that if apartheid really exists in some EU countries as is written in the western media then Europe should impose sanctions on theses countries.

The main starting point for accusations of apartheid is the article by Keno Verseck about the life of stateless people in Estonia and Latvia. The story appeared in the German publication Der Spiegel on their website in October 3. moreover, it gives a dark picture of the situation of stateless individuals in Estonia and Latvia: they cannot vote, work at governmental jobs, they are harassed when collecting pensions or traveling abroad. Indeed, Verseck actually does refer to a racial separation policy in a sentence, wording it in an unclear comparison so that the afore mentioned restrictions „sound like apartheid“

There are several examples in Verseck’s story, which seem to be purposely worded to give a one-sided picture of the situation. For example, the claim that stateless people in Estonia cannot vote is incorrect. They had the right to vote in the recently held local government elections. Without concrete examples, the claims that stateless people are at a disadvantage when collecting pensions or traveling outside our borders seem dubious. Propastop did not find any confirmations of the sentence stating that the European Union had repeatedly warned Estonia about bullying non-citizens. Liberal use of concepts is indicated by the article ending with the statement that the editors have corrected several errors in the original text.

Does it sound like a Russian influenced article? Keno Verseck’s work up to this date does not indicate that, his earlier stories appear to be credible independent journalism. Perhaps, this story simply reflects the author’s worldview. Propastop believes that the word „apartheid“ was used to add colour and to gain clicks, which in this case was a success.

Propastop would not be giving much attention to this given case if it were not for the fact that the Kremlin propaganda channels are using every opportunity to give the impression that the European Union is overly concerned about the persecution of Russian-speaking residents of Estonia. We last spoke about this kind of propaganda in September although we have noticed the rise of this topic throughout the summer.

Association of the word „apartheid“ when referring to Russians living in Estonia has a very long propaganda trail. For example, one of the first Propastop posts in 2015 wrote about the Regnum portal, which wrote badly about the blueblackwhite flag. At that time, we looked into tracking the picture and got an interesting story about the spread of the image meme on the internet. In 2010, Russia attempted to launch a website on apartheid related topics. Look up the real meaning of apartheid in Wikipedia.

Photos: screen shots from referenced posted articles and tweets.