Like all established publications, Propastop also posted their horoscope for 2018; the propaganda year of the yellow dog. Rather than looking at the phases of the moon and planets, we looked at the calendar and instead of the mystic knowledge of Mangi-Paukson; we trusted our own team’s experiences. What will we see on the propaganda front in 2018?
At the beginning of January, a public procurement process organized by the city of Tallinn, aimed at buying programs on the Russian propaganda channel PBK will commence, so that in the coming year interested people will be able to see Putin preparing for the presidential season all through Tallinn’s communal topics. City leaders have not seen any problem with Estonian taxpayer’s money being sent to the channel, through which the Russian main umbrella channel reflects negative propaganda about both Estonia and our allies on a regular basis. As this topic is under the direct attention of the public, we are predicting wider attention through out the first part of January. Then everything continues as before so let the dogs bark. It is likely that on the ETV+ topic, the state, the city, local private TV channels and cable operators will not be able to come together and the viewers will not appear anywhere. The issue will be raised again before the 2019 presidential elections.
The most important events in February concentrate around the anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. At the same when we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, we can discuss what is thought behind the border and our history in Soviet history textbooks as well as familiar tweets’ look at the way in which re-independent Estonia as well as the European Union as a whole is on a hell bent course and that we should learn more about our eastern neighbour’s prosperous governance model. Enemy propaganda channels are definitely awaiting the right-wing nationalists’ torchlight parade with great anticipation, which offers great opportunities for photos and video for the entire year and creates a favourable background for Russian TV viewers to see Estonia as a Nazi nation.
On March 18, the first round of Presidential elections in Russia will take place. If no „candidate“ achieves an absolute majority in the first round, a second round will be held three weeks later on April 8th. At the moment, there is no indication that Vladimir Putin who is campaigning for his official 4th term would allow any serious candidate to compete with him. As the elections are of great interest on this side of the border as well, it is a good opportunity to openly declare Russian propaganda messages in Estonia as well as promote a managed model of democratic government.
In April, the annual Security Police yearbook will be published for the public. This is an important publication, that once a year describes the Estonian counterintelligence organization’s workings and gives a deeper insight into every name and fact they mention in their report – whether the general public understands it or not. We greatly look forward to seeing the „stars“ of this year’s edition.
The propaganda front in May will be as it is traditionally; intense and nasty. The historical treatment of World War II is a religion advocated in Russia for many years, whose „Christmas and Ramadan“ on the 9th of May culminates in a pilgrimage to the Bronze Soldier monument at the Defence Forces cemetery. Propastop is following with interest the actions that are initiated by local politicians in Estonia on May 9th and will give an overview what was discussed in Tallinn City News as well as in other propaganda channels behind the border.
In May the Defence Force’s and Defence League’s large exercise Siil (Hedgehog) will create favourable situations for various provocations or allow Russia to overcome Estonia along with it’s supportive NATO by showing it as an evil Nazi nation on Russian central television channels. Just as the catch phrase of the exercise says, every spine (of the exercise Hedgehog) counts; our eastern neighbour will notice every mistake of the exercise. We bravely predict that overflights of drones will greatly increase in the mires and forests of southern Estonia in May.
In the beginning of the summer, topics connected with the 2019 federal elections will come more into focus. It can be predicted that the first of the political parties will start a more active campaign in the summer to prepare for the autumn-winter campaign period. In the summer months the first electoral platforms of the political parties are made public and it can be assumed that the programs of the more right-wing conservative parties will also strongly include Russia and issues related to the Russian community in Estonia – the issue of non-citizens, Russian language education and the Central party’s power structures. If we look at the last election and referendums in Europe and USA, then the question also arises: does our eastern neighbour still want to influence the Estonian elections as strongly as last time? We are awaiting with great interest in Estonia’s first serious hacking scandal.
You might think that Russian TV channels have already purchased bus tickets to cover the Sinimägede mälestustseremooniat (Blue Mountains’ memorial ceremony) in the last week of July. As of 1994 the 20. Estonian Waffen SS division veterans get together at the western peak of Grenadier mountain. This has for the last fifteen years been a genuine „sweet dish“ for Russian propaganda channels, which will help to alleviate the summer hangover season.
Another deadline for the EU’s economic sanctions, imposed by the member states on Russia because of the Invasion and occupation of Crimea and the Eastern Ukrainian War will commence in July. As a rule, we hear just before the decision to extend the sanctions on how the Russian economy has risen due to the sanctions and that the true loser is the European Union that will be immediately collapsing.
Estonian re-independence day always provides a favourable ground to question Estonia’s official treatment of history. 27 years is long enough for memories to fade and the new generation born after the singing revolution does not have a personal relationship with the years of occupation. Therefore, we hear more and more about the allegations on how happy were the childhood’s of people in Soviet Estonia, when everybody had work and bread and overall the grass was a lot greener.
The NATO allied forces in Estonia have not yet had a hard propaganda attack to date. If during the planning and actual exercise of SIIL both the Estonian Defence Forces and Allies are prepared for provocations then during the course of the year there definitely will be a force from the east who will want to test the effectiveness of such an information operation.
At the beginning of October the Latvian parliamentary elections will be held. It is likely that the heavy artillery of our Eastern Neighbour’s propaganda media will be directed to our south during this period. Propastop plans to keep an eye on our neighbours and report any enlightening examples on our blog.
Turbulent times in the internal politics of the USA can be expected to continue throughout 2018.
Investigations on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 US Presidential election will still be ongoing, full throttle and all those witch hunters as called by President Trump will be fired upon as if from a machine gun on twitter. Over the course of the year, we will get an answer to how tight is the noose around POTUS and how low will it wane in its popularity at a national level. For both problems through history, various propaganda techniques have been the solution – these have always been the means of uniting the population by finding a foreign enemy or having a small victorious war.
At the end of December the Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, General Riho Terras will complete his term of office and a new Commander of the Defence Forces will be named. Several of the leading strong candidates received their first military education and experience during the Soviet Union era. This gives an opportunity to compromise the candidates, to publically discredit them in Estonia and NATO, to undermine their chances – to show that the position will be filled by an „old school“ candidate. Propastop will be monitoring the developments with interest.
Therefore, generally speaking we can predict with confidence that the world will not end in 2018.
With that, we wish everyone good holidays and as well as a more propaganda free New Year!
Photo: frankieleon / Flickr / CC