Over 40 Russian-funded NGOs operate in Baltic states ({{commentsTotal}})

Group of journalists from all three Baltic states established that Russia funds directly over 40 non-governmental organisations (NGO) in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The journalists who conducted the survey spent over a year researching how Russia uses its soft power in the Baltics, Postimees reported.

“It’s a public secret in the Baltic states that Russia bankrolls NGOs that defend Kremlin’s politics in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The only question was how generous is this financial aid,” a journalists said, adding that the total financial assistance over three years came to 1.5 million euros.

The researchers said Kremlin’s tactics vary slightly across Baltics, being the most active in Latvia – home for the largest ethnic Russian minority out of the three states.

There are nine Moscow-funded organisations in Estonia who received 710,000 euros in financial support over three years. The largest recipient is the Legal Information Center for Human Rights, which is considered to be a “Russian agent organisation in disguise” by the Estonian security services – a claim the NGO denies. The center, headed by Aleksei Semjonov, has also received funding from the Tallinn City Government, which is headed by Edgar Savisaar, long considered to be too ambivalent towards Putin’s regime.

Other Estonian NGOs mentioned are Nazi-free Estonia, Paldiski Radio Union, Integration Media Group and Altmedia.

The authors also mention a private individual – Maksim Reva – who is directly supported by the Kremlin.

Editor: S. Tambur

Opinion digest: Our plans do not have to bend to distorted Russophobia

In a recent opinion piece in Postimees, small business-owner and Reform Party member Vootele Päi responded to criticism sparked by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' plans to attend a commemorative concert-service at the Estonian church in Saint Petersburg next month.

Kallas, Kasemets, Maasikas: EU is strong, no upside to losing the euro

Speaking on Vikerraadio's "Reporteritund" ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, Siim Kallas, Keit Kasemets and Matti Maasikas agreed that despite its prblems, the EU remained strong as a union.