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Estonian Domestic Intelligence On Russian Influence Operations

October 28th, 2021 13:50

The Eston­ian Inter­nal Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice (KAPO) report­ed ear­li­er this year on Russia’s var­i­ous influ­ence oper­a­tions in Esto­nia. The report details how Rus­sia uses dis­in­for­ma­tion about NATO, Eston­ian his­to­ry, and Estonia’s Russ­ian-speak­ing pop­u­la­tion, as well as how it uses the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church as an influ­ence tool, Accord­ing to KAPO’s Annu­al Review 2021:

As  argu­ments  about  the  coro­n­avirus  did  not  bear   fruit,  the  Kremlin’s  influ­ence  activ­i­ties  turned  to   tra­di­tion­al  sub­jects  placed  in  the  con­text  of  the   pan­dem­ic.  Crit­i­cism  was  aimed  at  NATO  (nation­al  defence  spend­ing  ver­sus  health­care  spend­ing)   and the lack of rights and infor­ma­tion for the Russ­ian-speak­ing  pop­u­la­tion  dur­ing  the  restric­tions   on movement. […]

In order to increase the influ­ence of the Moscow Patri­ar­chate, the Krem­lin has scaled up the activ­i­ties of  the church in its neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, as was evi­dent in Esto­nia last year, when one of the local lead­ers of the Moscow church spoke in Tallinn on the favourite  sub­ject  of  Krem­lin  pro­pa­gan­da.  The  church   leader argued at a pub­lic event that any approach to  World  War  II  dif­fer­ing  from  the  Kremlin’s  nar­ra­tive   was a crim­i­nal rewrit­ing of history. […]

The  Kremlin’s  activists  in  Esto­nia  talk  a  lot  about   the  impor­tance  of  involv­ing  young  peo­ple,  but   they  are  not  actu­al­ly  inter­est­ed  in  involv­ing  the   young gen­er­a­tion. Young activists would jeop­ar­dise  their  incomes,  their  appar­ent  posi­tion  in  the   com­mu­ni­ty and their work­ing rela­tion­ship with  the Russ­ian Embassy. How­ev­er, the involve­ment of  peo­ple close to the activists in events relat­ed to the  Russ­ian  Fed­er­a­tion  is  encour­aged.  Gen­er­a­tional   renew­al  is  encour­aged  only  with­in  the  fam­i­ly:  the   chil­dren  of  for­mer  Night  Watch  activists  are  now   tak­ing  over  their  par­ents’  role.  Work  with  young   peo­ple has two main pur­pos­es.  1. It is a pri­or­i­ty of the Kremlin’s pol­i­cy of divi­sion,  which Russ­ian embassies are required to fol­low.  2.  Due  to  the  impor­tance  of  the  top­ic,  youth  pro- jects  are  fund­ed  as  a  mat­ter  of  pri­or­i­ty,  which   often  means  a  small  but  sta­ble  income  for  the   organisers.

Read the full KAPO report here.

The report iden­ti­fies the fol­low­ing insti­tu­tions as Russ­ian influ­ence orga­ni­za­tions in Estonia:

  • Puški­ni Insti­tutt (Pushkin Institute)
  • Tallinna Vene Keele Kool (Tallinn Russ­ian Lan­guage School)
  • Euroopa Keelte Kool (Euro­pean Lan­guages School)
  • Eesti Vene Keele  ja  Kir­jan­duse  Õppe­jõudude  Assot­si­at­sioon   (Eston­ian Asso­ci­a­tion of Russ­ian Lan­guage and Lit­er­a­ture  Teachers)
  • Baltic Youth  Alliance
  • Reval Media Agency