On Monday April 30. the Propamon Robot, which tracks Russia’s media channels revealed its half-year record winner in the number of news stories related to Estonia. An interview given by the Estonian Foreign Minister, Sven Mikser to the Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald brought an avalanche of criticizing articles from the Russian press.
In the English language news there is a sentence from Mixer that can be translated in Estonian as follows: „ When you talk to a leader like Putin, and of course we must talk to Russia, then you have to talk from a position of strength, uniformly and resolutely. „
The Russian media initially broadcast the entire interview, but then focused on individual words, as if Estonia would start interacting with its big neighbour from a position of strength. It seemed that Mixer’s speech was interpreted by our Eastern neighbour as belittling or offensive. The broadcasts received an extra boost when the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitri Rogozin tweeted ironically comparing, Estonia as a puppy beside a large mastiff. He also posted a „ fearless kitchen mixer“ picture. Both tweets were largely shared and broadcast. Aleksei Puškov, the Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the State Duma also laughed about Mixer’s speech in his tweets. You can find links to the stories on Propamon’s webpage by searching the news on April 30th.
Whether the Foreign Minister really wanted to emphasize the courage of Estonia or more generally wanted to refer to the West’s strategy of communicating with Russia, can be decided upon individually by reading the original article. The use of irony on Mikser’s words reminds us of an incident a couple of years ago when the Russian media deliberately misinterpreted the words of the then Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, translating „disdain“ into „intimidation“.
Pictures: screenshots of the tweets referred to in the story