Two prominent journalists working within Estonia's Russian-speaking media sphere have given their views on why the Center Party is so favored by ethnic minority voters and how the upcoming elections are being reported in Russian-language media.
Speaking on ETV's morning program “Terevisioon” today, newspaper journalist and writer Viktoria Ladõnskaja pointed out that the Center Party has been engaging Russian-speaking voters in the country for long time, while rivals in the Tallinn mayoral race, Valdo Randpere (Reform) and Eerik-Niiles Kross (IRL), have only recently made their approaches. The Social Democrats' campaign to get the ethnic Russian vote, she said, has been too low-key.
“Savisaar is currently a brand, for a Russian it is not a question of politics, but of faith,” Radio 4 journalist Artur Aukon said.
Aukon said that the Russian-language TV channel PBK (Perviy Baltijskiy Kanal), one of the main sources of information for the Russian minority in Estonia, leans decidedly towards the Center Party. Ladõnskaja noted that PBK is partially funded by the Tallinn City Government.
PBK, which was created on the basis of Moscow-based Perviy Kanal in 2002, was recently suspended in Lithuania for three months for airing a program that, according to critics, gave a false depiction of the tragic events of January 1991 in Vilnius.
The Russian-language media, according to the two journalists, is reporting that candidates in the local elections are not focusing on issues, but on blackening the names of their rivals.
Ladõnskaja said that a large number of Russian-speakers will vote less for the Center Party than against the Reform Party.