A member of the Defence Forces was turned into a propaganda scandal in Sillamäe


Just as every year we have Christmas and Midsummer’s night, the beginning of May brings laughable and harmful messages about the military exercise „Spring Storm“.

The large exercise had not even properly started when the local propaganda channel Sputnik found a small something that along with the Estonian Russian channels were able to embarrass the military and bring it to everyone’s attention.

On the afternoon of June 6th, the Estonian section of Sputnik published a picture and news, how a soldier had climbed with a grenade launcher to the top of a memorial monument for cover in Sillamäe. The channel stated that the monument is a memorial to Soviet soldiers who fell in Sillamäe during the Great Patriotic War. It has also been called simply a Red Army memorial.

Sputnik supported the information that Oleg Kultajev, Deputy Chairman of Sillamäe City Council and coordinator of the „immortal regiment“ march had made public. He was named in the KAPO (Estonian Security Police) yearbook as an anti-Estonian activist, who has organized the „fight against the tarnishing of the reputation of the Soviet past“ by Russian Communist sympathizing historians, using discussions, round tables talks and conferences.

The incident was reported by the majority of the Russian media channels as well as a large amount of news criticizing Estonia and NATO was also shown by the Russian media analysis tool Propamon.

In various stories, one of the propaganda products had packaged expressions such as NATO vandalism, disgrace of a monument, indignant locals, NATO provocation, etc.

The stories point out that this was a NATO soldier, which is a detail of notice. Namely, in previous stories, Estonian soldiers have been named as such, as if they were not a NATO member.

Prior to Sputnik’s story the newspaper Vzglad, had written a critical story of NATO soldiers.

The story „ inhabitants of the Baltic’s rejoice at the cruelties of NATO soldiers“, published on May 6, wrote about the beginning of the exercise Spring Storm, referring to how the exercises interrupt and disturb the peace and privacy of the inhabitants. Events that took place in the city centres of Latvia and Lithuania, where battles were held in urban environments are listed and colourfully worded. Statements from many residents tell how they complain about the noise and confusion.  In Estonia only one such case in Kehra is referred to, where urban battles supposedly disturbed the local residents.

Rhetorically, it is asked whether this is possible only in a small town and what would happen if such an action were organized in Tallinn. There is no mention that actually, such exercises have been organized in Tallinn and no one has protested about them.