Kremlin propaganda presents masks' delivery to Estonia as Russian humanitarian aid

  • 2020-04-06
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The Kremlin's propaganda media last week portrayed the arrival of a batch of protective masks from China at Tallinn airport as Russian humanitarian aid to coronavirus stricken Estonia, making use of the fact that the delivery was handled by a Russian aircraft, Postimees said.

The propastop.org website that analyzes anti-Estonian influencing activity said that last week, we heard goods news that on Thursday, April 2 a plane with millions of protective masks and other equipment on board landed in Tallinn. The equipment procured in China as part of a joint Estonian-Latvian order with the help of Estonian online retailer Hansapost provided welcome relief to the shortage of anti-coronavirus protective equipment in Estonia. 

The Kremlin's propaganda media, however, displayed the delivery as Russia's aid to Estonia.

"Russian Aircraft Brought Masks, Protective Suits and Gloves to Estonia from China," eadaily.com said in a headline. "Russian Pilots Helped Baltics with Combating Coronavirus," a headline in Rossiiskaya Gazeta read, while antimaidan.com said "Russian Aircraft Brings Humanitarian Aid from China to Estonia." A headline on vpk-news.ru ran: "Russia Bringing Masks and Gloves to Estonia, USA Bringing Javelin Missiles." 

News on a similar note were published also on several other portals with photos of a transport aircraft with Russian flag painted on its hull as illustration. 

Propastop observed that, true, the masks were delivered to Estonia by an Ilyushin Il-67 aircraft of Russian transport company Volga-Dnepr, a long-term logistics partner of Estonian company Hansapost that was chosen due to favorable price. However, the masks were bought with the money of the Estonian state.

The message about purported Russian humanitarian aid to Estonia in such propagandistic dressing has not reached wide audiences as yet, but that may happen any time. The case fits in well with the Kremlin's propagandistic aid for Italy, the United States, Iran and other countries, the analysis pointed out.

That the "charitable activity" is actually a propaganda message of the Putin regime aimed at breaking out of international isolation has been pointed out by several Western media, including  BBC, Coda, and Foreign Policy, for instance.

Said case could have been prevented through awareness of the threat of propaganda by Hansapost or the Estonian state. Warning signs were already in the air, as a lot has been talked in Estonian media about the Kremlin's "aid" for Italy, Propastop said. 

It said it is worthwhile remembering in the future that whatever cooperation with Russia, also usual business, may become a tool for the Kremlin's propaganda and PR actions at any moment.

Also a second consignment from China, which arrived in Estonia on April 5, was delivered here  by a Russian carrier, Pegas Fly. Whether also that delivery will give rise to a wave of propagandistic news stories about the helpfulness of Russia was not clear by Monday morning, Propastop added. 

According to Propastop, with more deliveries of protective equipment to Estonia due in the near future, it would be worthwhile just in case to choose an airline of a country other than Russia to bring them here.