Recent events have once again brought into the spotlight the narrative spun by Russia and its apologists, anti-disinformation site Propastop reports.
Russia's propaganda has long been noted for its sophisticated use, in order to maintain or intensify its narratives, of a variety of sources – a phenomenon identified as early as 2016, Propastop writes.
The intentions of such actions include:
-Sowing confusion and panic, with stories of potential provocations and military activities.
-Diminishing military aid to Ukraine, including by diverting it to, for instance, the Baltic states.
-Diverting attention from Ukraine and towards, again, the Baltic states.
-Testing the nature of reactions, both at home and internationally. Agents provocateur do not use a static narrative, but will constantly tailor things in response to feedback from their previous actions.
So much for the how, but what of the who?
In Estonia, or in fact now out of Estonia and residing in Russia, we had Oleg Ivanov of the pro-Kremlin Koos party, who has expressed his concerns about "potential provocations" from Tallinn, including the conversion of Narva into a NATO frontier base town, around 100 kilometers from St. Petersburg.
This ties into the narrative arc of a gradual chipping away at Russia's sovereignty by NATO and other Western organizations, Propastop says.
EKRE MP Varro Vooglaid also gets a mention, specifically over concerns of escalation after a drone attack on the Russian city of Pskov, in Estonian, Pihkva, around 40 kilometers from the border with Estonia.
In the international arena, Julian Röpcke, a German journalist who contributes to tabloid Bild, penned a piece which published just in time for Christmas, with the title "Plant Putin schon bald den nächsten Angriff?" (English: Is Putin planning the next attack soon?).
Röpcke's timeline for this theorized attack is next winter, 2024-2025, during the U.S. presidential transition period, and would most likely fall on one of the Baltic states, Propastop reports.
In Russia itself, too, one Professor Solovey, a Russian political scientist and historian known for his penchant for conspiracy theories, predicted a "highly successful hybrid attack" on the Baltic States in the fall of 2024 (Solovey had "predicted" attacks on the Batlic states in 2019 and 2020 too, Propastop point s out, while at the same time seemingly hedging his bets by regularly predicting the imminent end of the Putin regime.
In essence, Propastop argues, these narratives contribute to a broader information warfare strategy, one which seeks to manipulate perceptions, create strategic diversions, and test the reactions of various audiences.
By understanding the motivations and intended targets, observers can better discern the impact of these narratives on both domestic and international fronts.
Propastop is entirely staffed by Defense League (Kaitseliit) volunteers and provides content in Russian and German, as well as in Estonian and English.
Editor's note: This article was amended to remove terminology which ascribed motives to journalist Julian Röpcke which were not referenced in the original Propastop piece. ERR News apologizes unreservedly for any offense or inconvenience cause.
Editor: Andrew Whyte