Since autumn, Estonia has enforced EU sanctions against Dmitry Kiselyov, director of the Kremlin’s media group Rossiya Segodnya. Transfers of funds to or from Sputnik, a propaganda portal belonging to Rossiya Segodnya from any people or organizations in Estonia are restricted. A longer summary of the topic can be read here.
One of the channels through which Rossiya Segodnya’s money reaches Estonia is the Estonian Internet Foundation (EISA), where the sputnik-news.ee domain and Baltnews.ee domain, both owned by Rossiya Segodnya are registered.
The .ee-end domains for both propaganda publications will expire soon, Baltnews on April 24 and Sputnik on May 20, 2020. They are likely to be extended. It is precisely the funding of this extension that should be prevented by enforcing the sanctions.
The money is not transferred directly to EISA by Rossiya Segodnya, but through the registrar. Currently the domains have been paid for through the Danish registrar Ascio. Rossiya Segodnya may use Ascio and or any of the dozens of registrars accredited by EISA to renew their domains.
The transfer of sanctioned Rossiya Segodnya money to EISA makes it particularly inappropriate in that the Republic of Estonia is one of the founders of EISA and has authorized EISA to register domain names for Estonia.
Propastop is of the opinion that Rossiya Segodnya’s payments for Estonian domains should be terminated immediately. A beneficial side effect of implementing such sanctions will be the disappearance of the propaganda portals Baltnews and Sputnik from their existing .ee-end web addresses.
Propastop initiated the closure of the Sputnik and Baltnews domains as early as the summer of 2019.
We also draw attention to the various names for Rossiya Segodnya used in the Estonian media. The same organization has been called Rossiya Segodnya, Russia Today, and even RT. All of these names are correct to some extent, but it is important to distinguish between Rossiya Segodnya’s media group (Director Dmitry Kiselyov) and Russia Today.
Screenshots from EISA website. Graphics: Propastop