Information warfare and the new advent of the Cold War dominated the topics in March. The case of the Skirpal poisoning and Cambridge Analytica revelations on the use of Facebook data laid a considerable foundation for the month.
The issue of non-citizens from the Baltic States on the Al Jazeera USA Channel
March brought a talk show about the situation of Russian-speaking residents and non-citizens of the Baltic nations on the Al Jazeera United States channel, where Aleksandr Zukerman and Yana Toom spoke as representatives of Estonia. They painted an inaccurate picture of the situation with very dark tones. The number of non-citizens in Estonia, the number of Russian citizens as well as the percentage of Russian speaking people among Estonian residents were inflated.
English media regulator after RT
In light of the Skripal incident, a fresh debate has begun in England with regard to permitting or denying the transmission of Russian propaganda channels. The British Communication Office of Ofcam has made a statement announcing the initiation of an investigation into RT’s activities in England. Namely RT has previously released anti-British stories but the poisoning incident at the beginning of March has brought a wave of such stories and this has restarted the motion to ban channels.
Raul Rebane talks about information threats and the Estonian language as a defensive shield.
Vikerraadio had two opinion pieces from Raul Rebane on its daily commentary show in March. The first pondered the results of an Euro barometer survey on media and information threats, according to which Estonians believe that fake news is less of a problem than the residents of other countries participating in the study.
In the second daily commentary, Rebane analyzes the Estonian language as a defensive shield in information warfare. He writes: „ A decade ago after the bronze soldier evening, a great friend of Estonia, Professor Georgi Potseptsov asked, „Do Estonians really still understand how large a defensive shield our language truly is?“ Georgi is a guru of contemporary psychological warfare theory, whose main reason for being in Estonia so frequently is the city of Haapsalu, where he looks for and finds inner peace.
„ You understand everybody but nobody understands you!“ was one of his thoughts and it has a great competitive advantage, especially now.““
The thoughts of General Riho Terras on cyber-and information warfare
The Commander of the Defence Forces, General Riho Terras gave a lengthy interview to the magazine „Soldier“, in which among other things he speaks of cyber and information warfare. He says: „In terms of a broad-based defence, we need to approach the cyber-threats and economic threats as well as the threat of information warfare. I believe that in a propaganda war positions need to be established and to properly combat it we need tools that are specifically designed for the task. This is shown by the significant enlargement of funds for Strategic Communication in the current federal budget. We have proven in our exercises that the topic is necessary and we must continue addressing the subject, some capabilities have already been created in our Defence Forces and it is now a part of our battle makeup.“
Edward Lucas on the new Russian Cold War
The Postimees published an opinion piece in March on Edward Lucas’s account of Russia’s global situation and the results of its current propaganda activity. He writes: „ The chemical attack on Great Britain has proven to be successful in every way, revealing disagreements and weaknesses in the West and offering the election campaign, in its last days a welcome shining international intrigue. It masks all the troubles- economic policy vacuum, endemic corruption or lack of a single serious competitor’s campaign sign.
Instead, the election campaign has been characterized by an encouraging propaganda campaign: foreigners once again treat Russia unfairly, accusing and imposing sanctions based on insufficient evidence and from a position of moral weakness.“
The emergence of the Gerassimov doctrine
The March issue of Foreign Policy published an article by Russian expert Mark Galeotti in which he writes about the term „Gerassimov doctrine“. He describes how, in 2013 the speech published by General Valerie Gerassimov has gained a notorious meaning, giving substance to the term „Gerassimov doctrine“.
DFRLab: the uncovering of trolls by Russian journalists
The Atlantic Research Digital Research Laboratory (DFRLab) published an article in March that explains the emergence of the terms troll and troll farm and links them to investigative journalists in Russia. Namely, Russian journalists were the first ones to write about trolls operating in their country in 2013.
Johan Bäckman is being tried for harassment of Jesikka Aro
Postimees posted news in March stating that the Kremlin puppet, Johan Bäckman has been called to the Helsinki District Court and is facing accusations of harassing Jessikka Aro, a well-known person to Propastop readers. According to the prosecutors, he committed offences during 2014-2016 whose purpose was to influence the work of a journalist.
„Välisilm“ did an overview of songs glorifying Putin
ETV’s foreign political show „Välisilm“ did an overview of songs about the President of Russia. Commenting on the topic, David Vseviov said the songs are exciting in that it shows how propaganda works. Unfortunately, it is also very sad in they are songs that are presented by their children. The little children with bright eyes that are full of joy because for them life is beautiful and wondrous, full of flowers and butterflies and now there is also Vladimir Vladimirovitš Putin. They create an image of the world and when we listen to these songs, it directly outlines who are their enemies and which under the leadership of Vladimir Vladimirovitš can all be put in order. Unfortunately, in this case the truth is that what we learn as children generally stays with us throughout our lives.