||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (November 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
Bronze Soldier controversy
Christopher Walker and Robert Orttung allege that Kremlin-controlled sectors of the Russian media took advantage of anti-Estonian sentiment during Estonia's 2007 relocation of the Bronze Soldier, a Soviet-era monument to Russia's victory over Germany in the Second World War, originally called "Monument to the Liberators of Tallinn". At various times following Estonia's independence from the Soviet Union Russian national television has effectively shaped anti-Estonian sentiment with the state controlled media redoubling their anti-Estonian campaign after specific events that displease Moscow.
According to Lilia Shevtsova, Senior Associate at the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions Program Chair of the Carnegie Moscow Center, anti-Estonian sentiment was intentionally escalated by Kremlin in its "search for enemies", however she also notes that even Russian democrats took Estonia's removal of the statue immediately before one of the most respected and cherished dates in the Russian calendar, to be an affront to the Russian national honour.
The Russian government used its state controlled media to propagate anti-Estonian sentiment in order to encourage ethnic Russian outrage, leading to coordinated waves of cyber attacks against Estonian internet infrastructure. The President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves stated at the time: "We are witnesses to the information war against Estonia which already reminds of an ideological aggression".
An anti-Estonian pejorative neologism, eSStonia, appeared in the Russian media, on Runet, and at the street protests in the midst of the Bronze Soldier controversy in 2007. The term, a portmanteau of Estonia and SS, is intended to portray Estonia as a neo-Nazi state.
In April 2007, some participants in the protested outside the Embassy of Estonia in Moscow organized by the Russian youth organisation Nashi carried signs stating "Wanted. The Ambassador of the Fascist State of eSStonia" (Russian: «Разыскивается посол фашистского государства эSSтония»), referring to the then-Ambassador of Estonia to Russia Marina Kaljurand. In May 2007, members of the Young Guard of United Russia picketed the Consulate-General of Estonia in Saint Petersburg holding up pickets with slogans such as "eSStonia–the shame of Europe!" (Russian: «эSSтония — позор Европы!»). The use of eSStonia in protests by Nashi and the Young Guard determined the head of the Saint Petersburg youth branch of Yabloko to file a complaint with Yury Chaika, the Prosecutor General of Russia, asking for an investigation into a possible breach of Article 282: Incitement of National, Racial, or Religious Enmity of the Criminal Code of Russia.
In November 2007, Komsomolskaya Pravda, the biggest selling daily newspaper in Russia, ran a campaign asking readers to boycott travel to Estonia, Estonian goods and services. The campaign run under the slogan "I don't go to eSStonia" (Russian: Я не еду в эSSтонию). The Economist, in its editorial, called the term "a cheap jibe" by spelling the country's name eSStonia, President Ilves as IlveSS and Prime Minister Ansip as AnSSip, while noting the coining of the term Nashism to describe what they regard as the populist, pro-authoritarian and ultra-nationalist philosophy of Nashi, a pro-Kremlin youth movement, as an encouraging countermeasure.
Russian accusations of sympathies with Nazism
In 2007, as a response to the possibility of removal of World War II graves (in the context of the Bronze Soldier controversy) Russian State Duma issued a statement accusing "the Estonian government's intention to continue its course of representing Nazism in a heroic light and justifying its ideology". In Russia, the youth movement Nashi has been noted for anti-Estonian sentiments among its members; often, it is framed as anti-fascism activities.
- Christopher Walker and Robert Orttung, "Russia: Putinism's Impact On The Neighbors". RFE/RL, February 12, 2008
- Lipman, Maria (2009). Media Manipulation and Political Control in Russia (PDF). Chatham House. p. 10.
- Socor, Vladimir (26 January 2007). "Moscow stung by Estonian ban on totalitarianism's symbols". Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- Shevtsova, Lilia (2007). Russia--lost in Transition. Carnegie Endowment. p. 200. ISBN 0-87003-236-4.
- Mueller, Milton L. (2010). Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance. MIT Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-262-01459-5.
- Statement made by the President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves, 30.04.2007 Sinisalu, Arnold. "Propaganda, Information War and the Estonian-Russian Treaty Relations: Some Aspects of International Law". Juridica International. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- "If you're a real Russian, don't have any fun in Tallinn". Tallinn: Baltic Times. 13 November 2007. Archived from the original on 22 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
- Boronov, Alexander; Shevchuk, Mikhail (21 June 2007). Между прокремлевскими движениями посеяли рознь (in Russian). Saint Petersburg. Kommersant. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
- "Молодая Гвардия" подсчитала ненужные эстонские товары (in Russian). Saint Petersburg. Rosbalt. 7 May 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
- Генпрокуратура проверяет "Наших" и "Молодую гвардию" на экстремизм (in Russian). Novaya Gazeta. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- Krasnikov, Nikita; Steshin, Dmitry; Babushkin, Alexander (6 November 2007). "Бронзового Cолдата перенесли за счет русских туристов!" (in Russian). Komsomolskaya Pravda. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
- Hõbemägi, Toomas (19 December 2007). "Fewer Russian tourists to stay in Tallinn for New Year's Eve". Baltic Business News. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- "An ineffective bully". The Economist. 10 May 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
- "Estonia "ignores" Russian accusations as graves row grows"
- "Estonia dismisses Russian charge it glorifies Nazism"