Support independent journalism in Central & Eastern Europe.
Donate to TOL!
A Re:Baltica investigation has traced the latest propaganda mouthpiece to colorful, Kremlin-funded characters.18 April 2017
The accuracy of the article, along with the true colors of rubaltic.ru, were revealed by an investigation by Re:Baltica, a non-profit investigative journalism center based in Riga. To start with, the main source of the information was an English-language article published by Fox Business, which spoke about proposed cuts in foreign aid but was short on specifics, let alone naming the countries to be affected.
Filtered through the rubaltic lens, that information turned into “Washington has said the Baltic states and other parasites, who are used to living off of U.S. State Department grants, won’t get a damn thing.”
That is inaccurate, Re:Baltica writes, given that the countries only receive small grants through U.S. embassy programs, and haven’t received any money from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) since 2004, when they became EU members.
“Rubaltic.ru operates as an aggressive Baltic irritant and a producer of biased content to influence and misinform the less educated Russian-speaking residents of the Baltic states,” says Andis Kudors, a director of the Latvia-based Center for East European Policy Studies, as quoted by Re:Baltica.
With a virtual newsroom, and unclear sources of funding, the site includes contributions from Andrey Starikov, who is linked to the Kremlin-funded Center of European Studies. Another contributor, Andrey Solopenko, while working for the Russian government-funded journal Baltiysky Mir, was banned in the past from covering an EU summit on the Eastern Partnership in Riga. Yet another person affiliated with the NGO running rubaltic.ru, and the journalism courses it organizes, Mateusz Piskorski, has been in jail since 2016 on suspicion of espionage.
Fake news has found a way of infiltrating even bona fide news sites in the Baltics. Last week, an article alleging mustard-gas poisoning among U.S. troops in Latvia found its way on to the website of the Baltic News Service (BNS), which BNS assistant director for content Vaidotas Beniusis dubbed “an obvious provocation” and a suspected cyberattack, according to The Baltic Times.
TOL's Summer Journalism Courses in Prague - Last places available!
July 2017- Data Journalism Boot Camp course and Going on Assignment in Prague - Special edition of Foreign Correspondent course
Practical training by respected journalists and media professionals. See TOL Education website for more information.
The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.
This innovative approach to story telling gives voice to ordinary people and takes the reader on the virtual trip across Moldovan rural and urban landscapes.
It is a unique and intimate map of the nation.