Briefs

Estonia - 8-14 February 2016

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1. NATO as a disease

“США продолжает нагнетать напряженность в Балтийском регионе всеми доступными средствами”  
„The US continues to escalate tension in the Baltic region by any possible means“, the article about RAND Corporation´s report “Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank”. (Komsomolskaja Pravda, the 8th of February)

“Подыгрывая США, прибалты станут поленьями в костре войны против России” 
„Playing along with US, the Baltic States will be logs in the fire of the war against Russia“, the article about BBC Two  program “World War Three: Inside The War Ro-om - Media Centre”. (Regnum.ru, the 8th of February)

“НАТО как болезнь. Встреча министров обороны – как диагноз”  
“NATO as a disease. The meeting of Defence Ministers – as a diagnose.“
(And the lead of the article: „NATO is progressing like the disease. Or more precisely, like a mania. Even more - a phobia“), the article about NATO´s plan to increase mili-tary presence in east Europe. (RIA, the 10th of February)

The False Fact or Narrative

Each title contains several false narratives. 

a) “The US continues to escalate tension in the Baltic region by any possible means”
- The US “escalates tension” – by stating this, the article says that tension in the Bal-tic States is caused by the actions of the US, and the RAND report is an example of that.
- The US “continues” to escalate tension – by saying this, the article states that the US has caused tensions in the Baltic States also on previous occasions.
- The US continues to escalate tension “by any possible means” – by stating that, the title suggests that the US´s main goal in the Baltic States is to escalate tension between Russia and the US, and is willing to do anything possible to achieve this.

b) „Playing along with US, the Baltic States will be logs in the fire of the war aga-inst Russia“
- “Playing along with US” – the article states that the US uses Russian population in the Baltic States for anti-Russian propaganda, and the local elite is willing to play along and follow the “irresponsible plans” of the US. 
- “logs in the fire” – according to the article, the goal of the war threats - like the one showed on BBC - is to create the atmosphere of panic in the Baltic States, and to use this panic as an excuse to increase the military presence of NATO in this area, which would in return mean increasing tensions. 
- “war against Russia” – according to Oleg Kulikov, quoted in the article, the goal is to bring the Russian-speaking regions of the Baltic States to such a state that these regions can be used as an excuse to start a war against Russia.

So, the article suggests that: 
The US is planning to start the war against Russia;
To do so so, it will exploit the Baltic States by increasing tension in that region so as to create the atmosphere of panic;
The leaders of the Baltic States keep playing along, and by doing so, they will lead their countries to the destruction. 

c) “NATO as a disease. The meeting of Defence Ministers – as a diagnose.“
The metaphor “NATO as a disease” creates the narrative of NATO as something that is harmful, spreads quickly, and that must be stopped by fighting against it. 

Truth

a) There is no proof that the US “escalates” the tension in the Baltic States, or that it does “continue” to escalate the tension, and that it continues to escalate the tension “by any possible means”. The NATO´s plan to increase military presence in east Eu-rope was caused by the means to protect NATO member states against possible Russia’s aggressive behavior.
b) There is no proof that the US plans to start a war against Russia, or that it uses the Baltic States by increasing tension in order to create the atmosphere of panic. 

Technique

a) usage of premises without proof;
b) conclusions based on false premises;
c) exaggeration;
d) usage of conspiracy theory;
e) usage of loaded metaphors.

Analysis

Russian media seems to see the report by RAND Corporation “Reinforcing Deter-rence on NATO's Eastern Flank”, the program “World War Three: Inside The War Room - Media Centre” aired BBC Two, and NATO´s plan to increase military pres-ence in east Europe, as a part of Western propaganda by means to increase the conflict between the NATO (or the States) and Russia. In this conflict, Russia was shown as the passive and repressed party, and  the NATO (or the States) as aggres-sive, manipulative, and harmful one. 



2. No rewards for distinguished Estonian Russians – they can be found only on the pages of Estonian Security Police yearbook

On the 10th of February, Baltnews.ee publised an article titled “Виталий Гайчонок: достойных русских Эстонии надо искать в ежегоднике КаПо” („Vitaly Gaychonok: distinguished Estonian Russians can be found in the yearbook of Estonian Internal Security Service“.) 

The topic of the article was the rewards that the Estonian President gives to Estoni-an people on the occasion of Estonian Independence Day, and the reason why amongst 99 people who received this award this year there were only 7 with Rus-sian surnames.
 
In the article, Vitaly Gaychonok says that Estonia is a police state where distin-guished Russians are intentionally discredited by Estonian police and the intelli-gence agencies, and that is why one could find Russian speaking public figures on the pages of Estonian Internal Security Service´s yearbook and not on the list of Presidential awards. 

On the 11th of February, Komsomolskaja Pravda picked the story up and pub-lished an article titled Ежегодник Эстонской полиции безопасности – сборник достойных русских общественных деятелей” („The yearbook of the Estonian se-curity police - a collection of distinguished Russian public figures“). 

The False Fact or Narrative

By these two articles the impression was given that
- In Estonia, people are not treated equally, or valued by their deeds but they are being judged based on their nationality, and therefore the basic rules of human rights are violated;
- Estonia is a police state;
- The distinguished Russians are intentionally discredited by Estonian police. 

Truth

The annual yearbook of Estonian Internal Security Service indeed mentions some people with Russian surnames, but it takes a lot more than just a Russian surname to be mentioned there. 

For example, the yearbook 2014 mentioned Aleksandr Kornilov (who leads the op-erations of the website baltnews.ee, is a member of the local Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots and head of the propaganda portal baltija.eu), Vladimir Lepekhin (one of the founders of the Baltnews project, the director of the Eurasian Economic Community Institute), Dmitry Kiselev (director general of Rossiya Segod-nya), Igor Teterin (one of the creaters of Impressum Club, and publisher of Komso-molskaya Pravda Northern Europe edition), Galina Sapozhnikova (also one of the creaters of Impressum Club, and a journalist at Komsomolskaya Pravda).  

Technique

Labeling (Estonia as the police state);exaggeration;
usage of logical fallacy - the particular premise (some of the names mentioned in the yearbook are Russian names) was used to make a universal conclusion (distin-guished Russians can only be found in the yearbook). 

Analysis

The false narratives created here (Estonian Russians are discriminated because of their nationality; Estonia violates human rights; Estonia is a police state) are sub-narratives of the bigger false narrative about Estonia as a fascist country.