Former Sputnik Estonia Staffers Create New Independent Media Agency

Former Sputnik Estonia Staffers Create New Independent Media Agency

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 02nd February, 2021) Former employees of Sputnik Estonia, which was forced to close on January 1, 2020 due to pressure from the Estonian authorities, have created a new independent news outlet, Sputnik Meedia, which went live on Tuesday.

"After spending a year without being able to work at Sputnik, to which we devoted four years of our lives, we decided that it was time to return. Sputnik Meedia will remain faithful to the path trodden by Sputnik Estonia, it will occupy the niche of alternative news content," Elena Cherysheva, former editor-in-chief of Sputnik Estonia, said in a Facebook post.

Cherysheva said that the new platform will continue to advocate for the development of friendly relations between Russia and Estonia.

"We will continue to advocate for good and friendly relations between Estonia and Russia, standing against the demonization of our eastern neighbor. We intend to stand firmly for historical truth, particularly when it comes to World War II. We will fight falsification by striving for the facts," the former Sputnik Estonia editor-in-chief added.

Sputnik Meedia is not involved in any contractual relationship with the Rossiya Segodnya media conglomerate and its funding comes from independent sources.

"We understand perfectly well that officials in Tallinn can, under the slightest pretext, accuse the Sputnik Meedia team of cooperating with us, so we have ruled out any official contacts with the new website," Dmitry Kiselev, the CEO of Rossiya Segodnya, said.

Kiselev also praised the courage of the former Sputnik Estonia staffers to establish the new media portal.

"Sputnik Estonia was closed due to the threat of EU sanctions, which are only imposed on me personally, spreading to the entire media conglomerate I manage, as if the budget of a state organization was my own. This is madness but thank God, the repressed journalists, having shown their courage, found an investor to continue their work in Estonia," Dmitry Kiselev, the CEO of Rossiya Segodnya, said.

The creation of Sputnik Meedia also received the support of Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the Rossiya Segodnya media conglomerate.

"We wish Sputnik Meedia every success. Elena Cherysheva and her colleagues have been through many difficulties. Their courage, perseverance, and readiness, in spite of everything, to uphold freedom of speech is admirable. It is important to tell the truth in the Baltics, especially at the present moment," Simonyan said.

Rossiya Segodnya-affiliated media outlets operating in the Baltic nations have come under sustained pressure over the past year.

After the closure of the Sputnik Estonia portal, sites such as Baltnews and Sputnik Latvia have also been targeted, as their employees on December 3 were charged with violating the EU sanctions regime currently in force against Russia.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned the crackdown on Russian-speaking journalists in the Baltic states on multiple occasions.