The daily grind of Russian propaganda in Latvia

Investigative journalism center Re:Baltica has released a new trilingual (Latvian, English, Russian) report on the means used by Kremlin-linked individuals and organizations to influence the Russian-speaking population in Latvia.

Starting with the experiences of a journalist trying to make a career on what is styled the European Union's only Russian-language daily newspaper, Segodnya Re:Baltica promises that a series of articles will expose the real face of Kremlin-influenced media.  

You can read the full feature via the link from author and Re:Baltica founder Inga Springe HERE or via the link below:

The feature is only the first in a series that will last until the end of May and extend beyond the Baltic states to include the United Kingdom, Hungary Poland and the Czech Republic as well, Re:Baltic promises.

The revelations include the startling news that not even the bylines attached to some newspaper articles can be trusted, with fictitious names invented under which numerous journalists post stories:

"On that day, [Anatoly] Tarasov wrote more than 20 articles. You won’t find this prolific journalist on social networks or in local journalist organizations. Anatoly is a work of fiction. Journalists at vesti.lv can select one of several aliases to create an illusion of a team work, even though it is only one person who copies and pastes news articles from various news sources on the internet, according to several former vesti.lv journalists who requested anonymity to Re:Baltica."

The investigation also examines how an unprofitable newspaper whose editorial policies are not even necessarily in line with the supposed readership, can continue to exist only because it has the support of someone with deep pockets -- who just happens to be a former member of the Russian State Duma.

In another extraordinary piece of information, it seems that the owner of Latvia's leading Russian language newspaper isn't even sure what he owns.

The last ownership swap took place in the summer 2016 when a 23-year-old graduate of the Ukraine State Aviation University, Ivan Khreskin, became the new owner. He got not only the newspaper, but more than 200,000 euros debt in unpaid taxes. When Re:Baltica’s colleagues tracked him down in Ukraine, Khreskin admitted that he knew that he was the owner of some media outlet in Latvia, but that was all.

There are also strong suggestions in the Re:Baltica story that the real guiding influence of the paper in question is not the editor or the owner but the Russian embassy in Riga.

But there is an optimistic ending too, with Russian journalists tired of being pressured into a propagandistic line doing their best to write credible news for independent Russian-language sites.  

Read the full story HERE.

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