Briefs

Estonia - 1-7 April 2016

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Object of manipulation: Article on the website of Estonia’s Russian-language Russkoje Radio, www.russkoeradio.fm

Date: 06 April 2016


Source of manipulation: Moscow-based Russian-language online newspaper lenta.ru

Date: 06 April 2016


The false fact or narrative: The articles that appeared on russkoeradio.fm and lLenta.ru were identical. Both stated that several countries have accused Russia of conducting military operations in eastern Ukraine, and that Moscow refutes these allegations, pointing to the lack of evidence.

The truth: On 17 December 2015, during his annual press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine, In addition, there is sample proof that Russia has supplied military equipment to separatists there, including the Buk surface-to-air missile system that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014,and of Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

Technique: Lying, admitting, and lying again.

Audience: The website of Russkoje Radio, which gets 8,000 unique visitors per week.

Analysis: After nearly two years of denying any Russian military presence in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin, at his 17 December 2015 annual press conference, answered a question about Capt. Yevgenny Yerofeyev and Sgt. Alexander Alexandrov — members of Russia’s GRU special forces who were taken prisoner in eastern Ukraine — by declaring the following: “We never said there were no people there who were carrying out certain tasks including in the military sphere.” It is worth mentioning that the very same two sentences —“Several countries have accused Russia of conducting military operations in eastern Ukraine. Moscow refutes these allegations, pointing out the lack of evidence.” — have been repeated several times over the past few weeks by different articles in Russian media channels.


Description of sources: Russkoje Radio is a Russian-language radio station boasting Estonia’s second largest Russian-speaking audience (about 137,000 listeners and 8,000 unique visitors to its website per week. It is part of the Sky Media group, which is owned by Estonian broadcasting company Taevaraadio OÜ. Lenta.ru is a Russian online newspaper owned by Rambler Media Group, a division of Prof-Media. It is one of the most popular Russian-language online resources, which more than 600,000 visitors daily. 

In 2014, its owner, Alexander Mamut, fired editor-in-chief Galina Timchenko and replaced her with Alexey Goreslavsky. Of the newspaper’s 84 employees, 39 lost their jobs, including Director-General Yuliya Minder. Lenta.ru’s employees issued a statement that Mamut’s aim was to install a new editor-in-chief directly controlled by the Kremlin and to turn the website into a propaganda tool.