Modern Estonia was restored by a mass movement rejecting both Soviet and Nazi totalitarianism, as it was the consequences of the Nazi-Soviet Pact that culminated in Estonia’s half century illegal occupation.
Despite this, the Kremlin has continued to promote a false narrative against Russia’s neighbours that support for the independent sovereignty of nations and opposition to Russian imperialism is Nazism. This is the basis for Russia’s propaganda in its war of aggression against Ukraine, but has also intensified over the past six months against the West and especially nations like Estonia which strongly support Ukraine’s right to exist as a nation.
Propastop has documented and debunked numerous attempts by pro-Kremlin media and Russian public figures to compare Estonian politicians or Estonian politics in general to Nazism.
Now, another equally dangerous and false narrative has appeared alongside Nazism, in which Estonia and Estonian activities are associated with terrorism against Russia.
Most notably, the association of the alleged murderer of the daughter of Aleksandr Dugin with Estonia is one of the most prominent recent examples in which the Russian authorities immediately began to accuse Estonia of cooperating with the murderer and domestic terrorism.
Some have even suggested that the killing of Dugina was a pre-coordinated operation with Estonian special services. Propastop also reviewed the event and pointed out the lack of direct evidence. Russia has not even made any official contact or request over the matter, despite figures in Russia claiming that Estonia has refused extradition.
Baseless accusations of terrorism
On September 2, an interview with Russian military officer and military expert Vladimir Yeranosyan was published on the Ukraine.ru portal, which discussed Russia’s war in Ukraine, the crisis surrounding Taiwan, and a possible nuclear threat.
Yeranosyan stated in his interview that saboteurs are being prepared in Estonia together with NATO whose task is to attack the territory of the Russian Federation. Answering the interviewer’s question about the “liberation” of Ukrainian cities, the officer cited the example that Russian forces have successfully neutralised various sabotage centers operating in Ukraine. Nevertheless, according to him, all those people who carry out these activities have supposedly been moved to Estonia, Poland and the United Kingdom.
According to him, Estonia has become the main center for training terrorists and planning and carrying out terrorist attacks, citing as his own argument the fact that all the murderers of Daria Dugina fled to Estonia.
The Russian media became an echo chamber
This claim about Estonia has been used and shared by several other Russian portals, amplifying the absurd narrative that Estonia would be the center of terrorism against Russia. For example, RIA Novosti, Ren.tv, Aif.ru and other portals have written about it. Although previously less frequent, similar examples of manipulation can also be found in the recent past. For example, Propastop wrote in 2017 about how an attempt was made to create a similar image of Estonia with the out-of-context headline “Leningrad nuclear plant has become a target for Estonians”. In 2018, another narrative spread, for example, that the USA was developing a new bioweapon in Estonia.
The narratives surrounding this event, previous incidents and the murder of Dugina last month are trying to create an image of Estonia as a terrorist state that is dangerous for Russia and its citizens. At the same time, Estonia’s sovereignty is reduced by the fact that in this context Estonia is also called a puppet of NATO, which in reality has no power of its own. The popularisation of such a narrative brings with it the possibility that Russia will now more consistently blame Estonia for the tragedies of their country. Propastop will continue to monitor this propaganda campaign.