Estonian security report details Russian media threats to Europe

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Estonian capital Talinn

The Estonian Internal Security Service has published an annual report highlighting the threat posed by Russia to the country and to Europe as a whole.

In the report, Director General Arnold Sinisalu warned “the security threat arising from a weakening of the European Union is many times greater than that arising from the refugees settling in Estonia”, but acknowledged that Estonia security is greater than it has ever been.

Speaking of Russian influence on Europe and in particular Ukraine, Sinisalu said “Russia continues its attempts to breach European unity” and that “The Kremlin regime, following the Gerasimov Doctrine, will remain aggressive as long as it can.”

On internal matters, the report detailed “narrow” threats from extreme right-wing elements, with a ban on Risto Teinonen from Estonia for promoting Nazi ideologies. The threat of Islamic extremism within the country is considered to be low.

Read more: Russia puts spy behind bars for 13 years

The report also detailed Russia’s huge propaganda machine, and accused the Kremlin of fuelling anti-EU sentiment in Estonia. “The national populists who use the refugee crisis to instigate fear are generally opposed to a European liberal and tolerant world-view, as well as to Europe, the USA and NATO. Russian propaganda thus paradoxically serves them as a suitable source of information and “ally”.

Russia is also accused of creating and promoting new media channels in Estonia and other countries to further extend the Kremlin’s influence.

“The most influential media outlets, especially the major and most popular TV channels, are still under government control in Russia, which is why the media space thus controlled.” The report detailed attempts by Russia to undermine ETV+, an Estonian public broadcast channel.

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