The small Russian town of Pskov is situated 20 km from the Estonian south-eastern border. In 2012 Russian minister of culture Vladmiir Medinsky presided over the founding of a nationalist organization called the Izborsky Club there at the local monastery. The Estonian intelligence services made a note of the presence of such a highly placed government official and predicted that Russia’s ‘soft power with a hard edge’ policy had a sinister aggressive intention with a well-planned outreach program to expatriate Russians and Russian-speakers. This was and would grow into a systematic intrusive influence operation controlled from Moscow.
“Our club is a laboratory, where the ideology of the Russian state is being developed. It is an institute where the concept of a break-through is created; it is a military workshop, where an ideological weapon is being forged that will be sent straight into battle,” declared Aleksandr Prokhanov the president of the club few weeks later, thereby affirming the Estonian predictions.
(Pikemalt EE #20 paberlehes)
Russian intelligence at work in Estonia: a legacy of the KGB’s goal-oriented intensity