Propaganda in October


President Kaljulaid in the Russian media
President Kaljulaid gave an interview on the BBC Russian language program in October about the relationship between Russian and the West. She said that she did not consider Russia as a hostile country and stressed the need for good relations with Russia. Her comments immediately came to the forefront and headlines of the Russian media.

Finland is worried about Russian influence activities
In October; Delphi released a report from the Security Committee operating at the Finnish Ministry of Defence, expressing concern about Russia’s influence activities. The document outlines and describes the various threats to Finland.

Analysis of Russian information operations
The October issue of Diplomacy published an analysis of „The Influence of Russian Information Operations: Technical and Psychological Applications“, which explained the developments in Russia’s strategy on information and cyberspace activities, listing examples of operations in Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine.

Considering that the strategic culture of Russia provides for a combination of elements of warfare that justify preventative operations, the West may be willing to counter isolated cyber threats but since Russia uses cyber- elements as support in information operations we must be prepared for alternative scenarios.

The incidents described have shown that Russia is an integral part of cyberspace operations. Actually, Russia has switched from periodic attacks to continuous attacks and expanded its offensive area from Russian neighbouring areas to the entire world. In recent cases, there has been a desire to transform the strengths of the West into weaknesses by directly challenging the foundations of democracy and society.

Edward Lucas on Russo phobia
Edward Lucas writes in Postimees on how he reached the Russo phobic ranking chart prepared by RT and gives his thoughts on real life Russo phobia. He writes: „The wider problem is equating anti-Kremlin feelings with Russo phobia. This is a trick that is widely used in debates: the reduction of personal prejudices of an opponent’s views saves you the difficulty of dealing with their facts and arguments. However, if the goal were to target Russo phobia, then Russian rulers would appear to be the best prey. They are plundering their own country – more than a trillion dollars have been lost to foreign accounts since the Putin regime came into power. They are brutally silencing their critics and have not used the funds gained from high-energy prices to permanently modernize their infrastructure and institutions. They fear and despise their own people.“

Sirje Kiin on the Russian information war
Literary expert Sirje Kiin published an opinion paper in October in the Postimees and the Free Estonian Word in which she examines the influence of Russia and the channeling role of social media in it.

She writes: „ If we know and realize that it is in the interests of the enemy to break apart our society, we should take care that every day we make sure that with all our moves and words we keep our society united. We should try to direct different opinions, which of course exists in every democratic country, not with anger, but rather looking for, finding and creating more ideal middle roads. Compromise with honour!

Use our ancestors’ words of wisdom: Do not believe the wolf at your door. Doubt, think, control.“

Russia is taking steps to restrict freedom of the internet
A new law came into effect on November 1 in Russia, which restricts the use of virtual private networks or VPNs and prohibits the use of network trace eraser website, Tor. Access providers of VPN services must in the future restrict access to the blacklist pages of Russian National Media Supervision Agency, Roskomnadzor. The law greatly reduces freedom of expression and provides for the possibility of restricting the release of any critical material relating to the upcoming Presidential election.

 „Resilience league“ autumn school
The Reporter released a news story in October about the „Resilience League“ autumn school organized by the International Center for Defence Studies, where Latvians, Ukrainians, Estonians and Lithuanians exchange experiences and knowledge about information warfare.

Russia Today’s advertising campaign in London
In October, Russia’s state owned media channel RT, launched a hugely provocative advertising campaign in the London metro stations. The messages used in the campaign are: „Look at us to find out who we hack next“, „ Miss your train?, Miss voting? Blame us!“ etc. The question of the suitability of the campaign has been brought to the attention of the British broadcasting regulatory board Ofcam as well as the London transportation authority who have responded that the four week campaign is in line with their advertising terms and conditions.