On Monday, October 21. Politico published an article by journalist Vijai Maheshwari sharing the author’s observations on the easing of tensions between Estonian and Russian language speakers in Estonia. According to Maheswari, there has been a big change in Estonia during the last five years, which he calls a reset, or a new beginning without the old confrontations.
To the surprise of Propastop, the article found active distribution in the Kremlin’s propaganda media. Several publications even inserted the idea that the attitude towards Russians in Estonia had improved in their headlines. Links to these stories can be found on the monitoring robot Propamon’s 22. October articles.
These reports are in stark contrast to the traditional attacks by the Kremlin media portraying ethnic relations in Estonia as very complicated as well as claiming that Russian speaking Estonian are systematically persecuted. Estonian Russophobia is one of the basic narratives of the Putin regime, on which numerous propaganda incidents are built. To be totally honest, there are occasionally articles in Russia, that speak of Estonia in a non-accusatory tone, but as a rule they do not have as wide a distribution as the Politico article in question.
What is the reason for the Kremlin propaganda media’s different approach? This could be, for example, a working mistake by our Eastern neighbour’s propaganda machine or a positive response to President Kaljulaid’s invitation to her Russian counterpart to visit Tartu or a travel company’s PR campaign. If you have any thoughts on the reasons for this coverage, please share them on Propastop’s Facebook page.
That this is not a reset of the Kremlin propaganda media’s attitude is confirmed by two media attacks in the second half of last week. On October 24. a wave of accusations began with the reburial of the Red Army fallen soldiers’ remains from Taebla. Our eastern neighbour’s propaganda media called the incident „the destruction of a Soviet soldiers’ tomb.“ The Russian embassy in Estonia also responded on October 26. adding articles about the vandalism at the Tehumardi memorial in Saaremaa a month and a half ago. Typically, such attacks call the incidents „defacing of the memorial“.
Wrongful allegations concerning World War II memorials are as frequent in the Kremlin’s propaganda media as accusations of Russophobia. You can find reporting of today’s stories in Propamon, while summaries of previous similar cases can be found in Propagandajuhtum (Propaganda incident).
Picture: Screenshots of articles in the story.