The Tallinn Maritime Days, which are taking place over the upcoming weekend, have also been highlighted in the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Agency annual report published in March 2019. Several of the Russian ships that have visited the festival in previous years have been associated with Kremlin influence activities.
In its annual report, the Foreign Intelligence Agency wrote: The newest use and a developing direction for using Russian civilian vessels is for influencing activities. Currently it is in „fashion“ to use large sailing ships from Russian state and educational institutions that participate in sea excursions, regattas and festivals around the world for influencing activities. The trips are accompanied by political events for the local Russian communities in the areas they are visiting. These include propaganda presentations of selected episodes of Russian history and missionary work of the Russian Orthodox Church, using open-air worshiping of miraculous icons and saints. Special attention is paid to politicians, local government officials and business people visiting the ships. A good example of this is the frequent visitor to the Tallinn Sea Days – The Makarova named State Sea and River fleet, University training sailing vessel Mir, from St. Petersburg. On its decks is the Russian children’s organisation – fund Russki Mir, located stationary on the sea, Russian Centre (Morskoi Russki tsentr).“
In previous years, there have been more ships related to Russia – The Sedov and Mir, both mentioned in the Foreign Intelligence Agency report as well as the Nadezhda and Lukull for example.
The double-masted Nadezhda originally built in 1912 in the Netherlands is noteworthy because in 2011 the Kremlin’s soft power support organization, „Russki Mir“ launched its first naval „representation“. The major sponsor of the ship’s restoration project was Gazprom.
In the last two years, Nadežda has been on the Sillamäe City and Sea Days program, but has never arrived for some reason.
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Photo Russki Mir homepage