Career endangered by presidential adviser

Risto Vuorinen

PHOTO: Sille Annuk

Freelance journalist Risto Vuorinen calls himself an Estonian patriot and fails to understand why called Nightingale of Kremlin by adviser to President. Now, he fears for his career.

Why did you share the blog post by «Todellinen Tallinna» [The Real Tallinn – edit]?

Because I thought it had interesting things in it. Lots of crap too.

What was interesting?

What the Tuomioja scandal scheme looked like. (The large quarrel resulting from claim by Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja that Baltic States do not issue news in Russian. The blog claims this was initiated by Kadriorg – edit.) I had not heard that Estonian ambassador is former employee at President Ilves’ office.

Okay, this was in the style that [the journalist Sami] Lotila has written before. I think, however, this is excellent sequel to the debate. The Mr Tuomioja case was blown up for reasons altogether weird. This was diplomatic noise.

How do you know this was written by Mr Lotila?

It had things in it only Mr Lotila could have known. As the blog got started, I learned over social media it was by Mr Lotila.

Did you check the information shared there?

It surely isn’t all truth there. There are speculations also, but basically there are facts.

Does sharing this blog post in social media make you a Russian propagandist?

I think not. This does not concern Russia at all. The post is about Estonia-Finland relation. My only contact with Ms Masso in Facebook was me asking why Estonia’s Russian-language media space is not spoken about. Ms Masso answered that was not important. What was important was that Mr Tuomioja was lying, distorting, maligning Estonians.

Where did you communicate with Ms Masso?

I ventured unto a friend’s page and saw him holding a conversation about it. Ms Masso was participating.

Do you understand what may have offended Ms Masso?

I don’t. I’m waiting for explanations.

She claims that as the blog is in Russian propaganda style and defaming, then distributing and supporting it is defamation and propaganda as well.

I do not see anything in that post that would be linked to Russia or Kremlin. It was about Estonian politics and a bubble blown up.

But they also mentioned that Ms Masso became presidential adviser because she is very close to the president.

This is no news. I have read that in Estonian media as well. This is unrelated to the topic at all, this was just a nuance.

Is your career in Estonia as a freelancer now in danger?

It surely is. The office of the President said this was personal opinion of Ms Masso’s. It makes no difference for me whether it is the opinion of the adviser or the office, as my reputation is already ruined. As I go someplace and ask for an interview, they say, aha – the Kremlin songbird.

Promptly, Finish Association of Journalists stood to your support. As also your boss at Yle, the editor Elina Ravantti.

Yes, as there was nothing in my work that would point to Putin-mindedness. Ms Ravantti was also puzzled by this. The question immediately arose where I had written about Mr Putin; but there has been nothing.