Last week had a propaganda case, where a police message about the defacement of a monument in Võrumaa County grew via the Kremlin media machine into accusations at Estonia.
A chronology of the events as follows:
On Sunday, October 28, the police discovered that in the village of Litsmetsa, in the Antsla Municipality of Võrumaa County, a tombstone commemorating soldiers killed in World War II was spray-painted. It was announced in the registered police events section on the morning of Tuesday October 30th.
On Tuesday, the incident is written about in the Southern Estonia edition of Postimees and at 14:12, the Russian language edition of Postimees publishes the news. The attached picture shows that the memorial had been cleaned by Tuesday noon. There is no picture, circulated of the object when it was defaced.
On the same day, news spreads fast in our eastern neighbour’s media. It is not clear where the news is coming from because the stories have no dates or sources. TASS, RIA Novosti, TVZvezda, propaganda portal, Sputnik, RT, Rubaltic etc. report the incident. Propagandistic embellishment is being added:
-Instead of defacement, the monument incident is now named as defamation, adding to the emotionality of the event.
-Some stories suggest that the incident is in connection with a mass grave of „Soviet soldiers“ that perished in the „Great Patriotic War“. The original news mentions the fallen of World War II without specifying their origin or identities.
-Due to lack of picture material, images from other memorials are added. For example, a photo of the Jõelähtme monument circulates, which tries to link the incident with anti-Semitism.
-In the news, Litsmetsa is arbitrarily linked to the removal of other Soviet monuments in Poland and Bulgaria.
-Some articles refer to the memorial as if it was right at the Russian border. This is how to make the incident seem even closer to the reader. In reality, Litsmetsa is about the same distance from the border as Tartu, about 40-50 kilometers away.
On Thursday, November 1, escalation of the propaganda attack continues, when the Russian embassy in Estonia presents a formal note on the incident. This development is eagerly reflected by Sputnik. The propaganda channel finds an expert to comment on the incident by Saturday, who said that the plundering of monuments in Estonia is a new normality caused by anger against Russia. Officials allegedly arranged the defacers.
Propastop estimates that the attack on Litsmets in the media will not spread any further, as there are very few pictures as well as a lack of facts. However, with Russia’s propaganda, xenophobia and fellow compatriots’ conferences, the likelihood of new allegations against Estonia is currently high.