It has been a year since the biggest anti-Estonian propaganda attack, based on the theme of Child protection occurred. However, the differences in the concepts of child protection in the West and Russia has been a subject of interest for a long time and it has become one of the largest areas of propaganda attacks against Finland thus far. A detailed report about it appeared in EuvsDisinfo in August.
The case in Estonia in the summer of 2017 centered on 9-year-old Isabella. The incident involved a child living in unacceptable living conditions who was placed into a care facility to better her situation. The case ended for Estonia in the autumn when Isabella left with her mother for Russia. The topic found a lively response in Russian propaganda, as the parents were both Russian citizens. The Russian Embassy in Estonia and the Russian Children’s Ombudsman also played their part in the propaganda attack.
In cases where due to poor living conditions or in the interest of the child’s safety, a minor has been separated from their family has also appeared in Finland in recent years. Russian propaganda media has successfully morphed these incidents into national issues. The last major attack took place in November 2017 when a 12 year old girl whose mother was a Russian citizen and father had Finnish citizenship was placed in a care facility. The main agitator speaking on this incident was the so-called „human rights activist“ Johan Bäckman, an individual well known to Propastop readers.
The largest propaganda attack on child protection in Finland was in 2012, when Russian propaganda media published a list of 35 families, of which Finnish officials allegedly had abducted a child. This „campaign“ against Finland in the Russian media was the largest that our northern neighbour had experienced since the collapse of the Soviet Union, which is why the Finnish media also intervened in stopping it. For example, Ilta-Sanomat tried to contact all of the families on the list and was able to identify at least 13 families who were on the list yet had absolutely nothing to do with the accusations.
Similar Russian propaganda media attacks have occurred against Norway and France. The article speaking about the Finnish incident stated that it was an attempt to spilt the Russian speaking population in the country, sow distrust against State officials and undermine the country’s credibility among the Russian population.
These goals appear to be in effect in all countries affected by this issue, which are confirmed by the headlines in the Russian media: „Scandinavians take children from Russian families to stop the decline of the population“, „ according to Finnish authorities they can even take children from tourists“, „ a new terror against minors in Finland“„ children are taken away from their families in Finland because of striking the child a single time?“ A new concentration camp: 200,000 children have been illegally taken from their parents“. etc.
According to experts, Scandinavian statistics do not support the fact that mostly minors from Russian citizens have been taken from their parents. This are purely emotionally charged propaganda lies. At the same time, the fact that social welfare officials do not comment publicly on the media makes the topic easy to use in a propaganda campaign, because there is no one to refute their fake news.
The professionalism of Estonian child protection officials has grown over the years, which is likely to bring similar cases more to the media and increase the chance of becoming a target of Russian propaganda.
Photo: Sergio Maistrello/Flickr/CC