Every year, at the end of April and the beginning of May, Propastop has been closely following the stories published in Russian propaganda channels, which are related to the topics of the Night of the Bronze Soldier as well as the upcoming 9th of May.
The year 2021 is different from the previous ones. We have already written about the increased attention and coverage in the Russian media towards Estonia. This activity is linked not only to the growing coronavirus pandemic, but also to the heightened international situation caused by the “classic” East-West confrontation.
Last week, the propaganda media of our neighboring country has chosen several topics related to Estonia, which were served very critically, while the anniversary of the Night of the Bronze Soldier was one of the more milder and predictable. Only the propaganda channels Baltnews and Sputnik Media tried to make it a bigger issue.
Reaction to the Czech situation
How do you explain the mildness of Russian propaganda in reporting the remembrance of the Night of the Bronze Soldier? One of the reasons is certainly the so-called “Czech-Russian crisis”. The Kremlin’s response to the expulsion of a VF embassy employee was massive. An Estonian diplomat was also expelled as a mirror reaction, and on Tuesday Propamon showed 39 related news articles on these topics.
On April 23, the President of Russia signed a decree instructing the government to start compiling a list of unfriendly countries. On April 28, Foreign Minister Lavrov also announced the compilation of such a list.
Russian media outlets, who began to speculate on the countries that should be on the list, immediately responded to this. Several publications suggested that this should include the United States, the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and possibly Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia as well.
Although most of the media only started talking about the list on Wednesday, the TV channel Rossia1’s program “60 Minutes” on Monday ended its broadcast on this topic.
Similar news from Friday reported that the Russian Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples has decided to end its cooperation with the Fenno-Ugric Institution and not to participate in the Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples in Tartu this summer. RuBaltic, which publishes hostile material about the Baltic nations, served this decision as the end of Estonia’s “special relationship” with Putin.
Shadow of the Night of the Bronze Soldier
At the end of April, the Russian media could not bypass the topic of the Night of the Bronze Soldier. One of the main focuses this year was the Ganin case.
Baltnews and Sputnik Media, which resumed operations in January, came out with a larger amount of material on the Night of the Bronze Soldier. The first wrote about two commemorative actions – the event of the “Candle of Remembrance” in Tõnismäe and an action at the site of the killing of Ganin.
Sputnik Media published an interview with Armen Gasparjan, a Russian propaganda journalist, who claimed that the Night of the Bronze Soldier laid the foundation for a bacchanalia of Russophobia. The channel also published interviews with former “Night Watch” leaders Dmitry Linter, Alexander Korobov and Maksim Reva, and a long story with a chronology of events, accompanied by rather weighted comments.
In addition, the Bronze Night was covered in the Russian media from a rather peculiar angle. Namely, Regnum published a Facebook post of Aleksandr Tšaplõgin, the editor-in-chief of “Stolitsa”, in which Tšaplõgin compares the demonstrations that took place in Toompea and the government’s reaction to them in 2007. “Today, Estonians are protesting in Toompea, by parliament, and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas sends police dogs and a special unit to intimidate fellow citizens. The scenario is the same – instead of dialogue, there is a demonstration of strength ”.
Although the 9th of May is already quite close, the exact scope of this celebration is not yet known. However, the Russian Embassy in Tallinn is already making preparations. They have started renovating the memorial on the Juminda Peninsula, for example.
We will write about possible developments on May 9 in some of our following posts
Photo: Screenshot of “60 minutes”