On Sunday, November 25. Russian warships captured three Ukrainian ships in the Kertš straights. On Wednesday, November 28. the Estonian Foreign Ministry, summoned the Russian Ambassador in Estonia in connection with the incident.
The summoning of the Ambassador brought a stormy reaction in the Kremlin propaganda media. Initially the news was dominated by the summoning itself, then the ironic comments from the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zahharova ridiculing Estonian activities became the focus. Estonia has forgotten it has no access to the Black Sea. The Russian ambassador being summoned was Estonia panicking to be part of the world scene. These type of stories put Propamon’s monitoring robot in a „red alert“ status and 28. November became the most active day for Estonia stories in the Russian media this fall. The Estonian and Western press at the same time only reported a few lines on the summoning of the Ambassador.
The influencing Pervõi television channel reported opposition on its talk show „Time will tell“. The program looked for an answer to why Estonia felt it was necessary to react in this way. Characteristic of the propaganda show was that they had only one answer: Estonia is infected with Russophobia. The viewers were left with an impression that the capture of the ships were an Ukrainian provocation and that the USA, Germany and France are in a wait and see position while the Baltic nations and Poland are the only accusers of Russia.
The show clip is interesting viewing as a teaching video from the arsenal of demagogy clips. For example, one of these clips asks the show’s moderator, Artjom Šeinin, why has the Estonian foreign ministry not summoned the ambassadors of Turkey, Israel or Great Britain? These countries have had similar incidents, but Estonia has remained silent.
This demagogy clip can be described as a mixture of whataboutism and incomparable comparisons. Figuratively speaking, the focus is on the reporter of criminal act rather than on the criminal. Mixing events from different times, the story is side tracked from the main theme. In summation, it tries to make a point of Estonia having no moral right to express its opinion on this incident due to its past history.
No a single person associated with Estonia appears in the show, but they do have long talks from supporters of Kremlin talking points, whose monologues are applauded by spectators that have been brought into the studio. The stories of USA and Polish journalists are interrupted by the show’s commentator attacking and ridiculing their thoughts. Only viewers’ tweets supporting the shows commentator’s position appear on the screen.
In any case, it is apparent that the Ukrainian ships topic is very important for the Kremlin and guidelines have been issued to the press when dealing with this incident. The incident is constantly called the „provocation of Ukraine“ so they are trying to justify their actions with a media campaign, pointing the blame on Ukraine and avoiding Western sanctions. If, however if they were imposed, they could be blamed on the Russophobic Baltic states.
As commented by a guest on the „Time will tell“ show, Estonia has already achieved its goal: the activities of a small nation are being discussed thoroughly on a large Russian television channel. Indeed, if the goal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was raising media attention, then the summoning of the Ambassador could be regarded as a success story.
By the way, in previous similar media storms, Foreign Minister Sven Mikser has been prominent in propaganda stories. At this time, however, the Minister is in the background and the stories are centered on Estonia and the Foreign Ministry. All the comments of Estonian officials on the current events can be recalled here.
Pictures: snapshots of media coverage