On Sunday, the propaganda channel RT German language version telecast a long video story, which was dedicated to the Russian speaking community in Estonia. Reporter Maria Janssen, who spoke German with a Russian accent had come to Tallinn to overlook the situation. The author stated that she is looking for proof for her preconceptions that Russians are being discriminated against in Estonia.
To confirm the reporter’s point of view two known activists, NGO Russian School in Estonia representatives, Alisa Blintsova and Mstislav Russakov were able to talk on the video, the latter is also associated with NGO Kitež. According to both texts, the Russians are in a very serious situation, false and biased information were presented. For example, Russakov states that Russians receive poorer grades in higher education institutions due to having Russian surnames. Blintsova argues that Estonian citizenship can only be bought for large sums of money.
The story quickly becomes one of instigating anti-NATO sentiment, which seems to be one of the goals of the story. Blitsova proposes support for hungry children rather than spending money on the Defence Forces, (she constantly exaggerates the children aspect). Russakov complains that NATO bases are purposely being built on Russian owned land. A youth interviewed on the street, knows that NATO is only in Estonia for the money and Russia will definitely never invade Estonia.
After a couple of replies on the street, a person with opposing views was no longer allowed to talk on the video, instead they cut in with interviews from governmental officials. Foreign Minister Sven Mikser and President Kersti Kaljulaid are joyfully quoted out of context and used in a propaganda way on the video.
Why did such a video appear at this given time?
Looking over the previous stories of the German language website portion of RT in the last while, having such a long reportage filmed outside their borders was unique and surprising. The channel has contributed significantly to its production compared to its usual content. A few weeks ago, a critical story about the situation of the Russian minority in the Baltic States appeared in the German magazine Spiegel. Maybe RT got their inspiration from that article and wanted to keep the topic current? Propastop has noticed that the Kremlin propaganda team has been talking about minorities in the Baltics throughout the entire summer, mixing Western media and institutions with the subject. The RT story fits this pattern very well.
RT Deutsch has been operating since 2014, being the largest German-language Russian media channel. Christian Mihr of Reporters without Borders says that the role of the channel in Germany is that it is a Kremlin propaganda tool that uses media freedom to discredit independent journalism and to intensify media coverage on given subjects.
Hanno Gundert, the head of the network for N-Ost journalists, says that RT’s goal is to implement the Kremlin’s strategy of splitting the European landscape under the guise of journalism. Die Zeit analyzed RT’s working methods and found that everything is not pure lies just generally unheard of what is being served in the press. RT’s tactics are to look for topics that call into question the Western democratic system, says political scientist Stefan Meister of the German Foreign Policy Institute. Lea Frings, a former associate at RT confirmed that RT Deutsch deliberately brings out the views of right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists.
In conclusion, it can be said that in general the image of Estonia in the German media is very positive. For example, ZDF, Deutschlandfunk, Frankfurter Allgemeine and Süddeutsche Zeitung have recently written about Estonia as a European digital miracle.
Pictures are screen shots from the discussed video