Center Party board member and MP Olga Ivanova has given an interview to Russian propaganda channel Sputnik despite the fact that the leadership of Estonia's ruling party banned its members from doing so.
Ivanova, a former Lasnamäe city district elder in Tallinn, is planning on running in this October's local elections as a member of the election coalition of suspended Tallinn mayor and former longtime Center Party chairman Edgar Savisaar. Her recent interview with Sputnik focused primarily on topics pertaining to Lasnamäe.
The MP also said she saw no problem with Lasnamäe being referred to as a Russian city district, just as Brighton Beach is referred to as a Russian neighborhood in New York City.
On May 10, Center Party leadership chose to ban members of its parliamentary group from giving interviews to the Russian propaganda channel Sputnik following public criticism of Ivanova's May 9 interview with the channel at the site of the Bronze Soldier, at the Defence Forces Cemetery of Tallinn, where mostly Russian-speaking residents were laying flowers at the foot of the monument in celebration of Victory Day as celebrated in the former Soviet Union and Russia today.
"Lately, hostile propaganda and persuasion against democratic societies has intensified, and we can see signs of this all across the world," Prime Minister and Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas said on social media in May. "Unfortunately, in Estonia as well. Sputnik is not independent media, but a tool of propaganda, which does not follow journalistic best practices, but instead often publishes forwarded messages partially or in a biased way. The European Parliament has called Sputnik a 'pseudo-agency' in its resolution."
A similar scandal arose in February when Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps gave an interview to Sputnik in which she discussed topics related to the Holocaust and Soviet deportations, and later denied having spoken with the Russian media channel. Following the incident, the prime minister advised state officials to avoid communicating with Sputnik.
Editor: Aili Vahtla