A Kremlin minded youth movement has created an app that brings the Bronze Soldier virtually back to Tõnismägi along with the „eternal fire“ burning in front of it. The app gives the impression that the controversial memorial is still in its former location.
The app called Cyber History can be downloaded from the AppStore and works on iPhone devices. When you open the application on Tõnismägi and point your phone in the right direction, you will see the Bronze Soldier memorial on the screen. With the assistance of location based virtual reality you see the object at its former location from different angles, allegedly as it was originally. The project has already been written about by Russian propaganda channels such as Izvestija, Regnum, and Vzgljad etc.
The Russian movement Set (Network) implemented the project. The 2013 established Set has grown out of the Kremlin based youth movement Nashi (Ours) which became notorious in 2007 for being an active participant in anti-Estonian actions and information attacks.
Set has so far garnered attention with various art actions in Russia that are true to the existing power structure. For example, in the summer a large super graphic praising the occupation of Crimea was painted on a Moscow house wall. Set member, Gleb Krainik, who founded the brand Putinversteher, which promotes jewelry with the image of the Russian President, is featured in articles as the main spokesperson for the virtual Bronze Soldier.
It seems that Set’s goal is to be part of the Kremlin’s soft power, provoking attention and consequently increasing the popularity of power figures to the youth. The same goal is achieved with Putin’s picture on clothing, which were gathered up in Riga last week and stopped from being sold but still available in Tallinn.
It is not surprising news, that the movement receives funding directly from the Kremlin, according to some sources up to 7 million rubles (near 1 million Euros) in 2015.
According to Propastop, the virtual Aljosha is a creatively distinctive and innovative but intrusive information attack. It is not a history project but an imperialistic Russian propaganda campaign aimed at expanding the Kremlin’s influence and provoking conflict. Similar virtual reality monuments are being created in Ukraine and Poland – countries that seek to free themselves from propaganda pressures to implement Soviet versions of history.
This action is part of the Russian influence activities related to the so-called „liberation“ of Tallinn, which takes place in Estonia during September. On Sunday, for example, a salute is being held in Moscow on the pretext of this event. Propamon, a monitoring robot, is also showing the growth of Estonia related propaganda stories. The reason for glorifying the Red Army’s victories and why it is so important to the Kremlin can be read on this posting.
Incidentally, Estonian youth are also involved in Kremlin patriotic youth projects. In August, we wrote about how our schoolchildren are participating in Kremlin brainwashing camps under the name of taking part in a language learning bridge.
Images: screenshot of the Cyber History project, cited in Gleb Krainik’s story