Last week, a number of articles appeared in the Kremlin’s propaganda media, suggesting the possibility of a new Bronze Soldier Night in Estonia. A narrative has been spread that mixes Russians living in Estonia, monuments and the threat of conflict.
On Monday, August 24, another article about the future of Maarjamäe Memorial was published on the ERR portal. The article emphasizes the opinion of the Minister of the Interior, Mart Helme in that he is in favour of demolishing the monument, although other officials will also have a say.
The last time, the topic of Maarjamäe came up was in July in connection with the placement of an anonymous poster. Propastop then made several hypotheses about who was behind the active raising of the memorial theme, but has found no clear evidence to support any of them. At that time, the event did not receive much attention in the press of our eastern neighbour.
This time, however, ERR headlines on Helme’s statement received a lot of attention in the Kremlin’s propaganda media. Several articles were published that add to the idea of demolition of the monument, for example in the wording “In Estonia, it was proposed to demolish the monument”. However, EADaily and Interfax have associated Maarjamäe with the events of the 2007 Bronze Soldier.
On Thursday, August 27, Maria Zahharova, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, commented on the Maarjamäe topic. Responding to a pre-planned question from the Kremlin’s propaganda media, Zahharova acknowledged the actions of Tallinn Mayor Mikhail Kõlvart and added a hint of the possibility of a conflict over monuments: “We hope that common sense will prevail in Estonia and that the country’s political forces will not afford another provocation that will lead to the further division of the thousands of Russian minorities in Estonia.”
On Friday, August 28, Zakharova commented on the statement of Marko Mihkelson, Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu, regarding Belarus, figuratively giving the flick of a finger to ethnic relations. “I would advise him to take a closer look at his country, where the Russian-speaking diaspora, which makes up almost a third of the population, is deprived of basic political and civil rights,” Zakharova said. The speech was widely distributed in the Russian propaganda media (references to the stories can be found in the monitoring results of the monitoring robot Propamon on that day).
On the same day, an article appeared in the Kremlin’s media, with a headline of Maarjamäe “the new Bronze Soldier”.
As a broader background, it is worth highlighting the activities of the Russian Embassy, which this year has actively undertaken bringing attention to the Soviet monuments in Estonia. For example, on August 20, the embassy celebrated the anniversary of Estonia’s re-independence by reopening a memorial monument to the Red Army in Tartu. The Kremlin’s propaganda media considered the event so important that it made the news on national television.
Propastop is alerted by synchronous messages from different channels. It is not yet clear whether the issue will grow into a major propaganda attack or a provocation about monuments, but it is worth being vigilant about.
Pictures: screenshots of the stories referenced in the post.