The Ukrainian news website, PSB-NEWS, reports on the scandal involving the pro-Russian radio station, Love FM, that has erupted in Finland. Below, an edited translation of the story, which was originally published in Russian on 30 July 2016:
Kremlin Propaganda in Finland Produced in Donetsk
A big scandal has erupted in Finland: A radio station has begun transmitting pro-Kremlin propaganda produced by Finns in Russian-occupied Donetsk and working for the terrorist organisation, “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR). The radio station has murky ownership, and its source of funding and management structure are opaque.
The Ukrainian website, Mirotvorets (Peacemaker), has dossiers on at least three DNR supporters from Finland: Johan Bäckman, Jaana-Maria Kurtti, and Janus Putkonen. In June 2016, material obtained from an email dump of Yelena Nikitina, so-called “minister of information” of DNR, revealed that a number of Finnish citizens were cooperating with the terrorist group.
One of them is Janus Putkonen, a Finnish “journalist.” We learned about him from Ms Nikitina’s correspondence with Alla Pierce, a journalist working for the US publication, Veterans Today. You can read more about Ms Pierce here, here, and here, [and more about the antisemitism of Veterans Today here.]
Subject: Re: Happy New Year!
To: Alla Pierce
Alla Pierce wrote on 2016-01-13 at 12:17:
> Hello, Lenochka.
> I think that it would be very good,
> especially if he uses the methods
> that he describes. We need to attract
> serious Western resources and journalists
> to cooperate. Nobody has adequate
> knowledge about them. I can help,
> of course. Who is financing them?
Let me warn Janus and give you his email address. If you are interested, do contact him. He will tell about the sources of funding himself if he can. I can only guess. It is not us, for sure. :)))
Janus is director of the DNR-affiliated propaganda agencies, DONi News and DONi Press, which publish regular stories on DNR, help foreign journalists organise trips to occupied Donbass, obtain accreditation, and conduct interviews with local leaders. Janus feels quite at home in occupied Donetsk and is doing everything, as he says, to “bring the voice of the people of Donbass” to the world.
Quoting from an interview with him:
There is a certain selection of media instruments that allow us to correct this situation at least to some extent. I have to say that objectivity or neutraility is not one of them. When you are confronting fascist forces, you cannot remain as impartial as a judge during a court process or a journalist in his comfortable office.
I wanted to become the voice of Donbass and do everything to make sure that a constant stream of news from there was available not only in Russian, but in English as well. When I left Donetsk, I immediately began to look for sponsors and plan how we could fill this enormous information vacuum.
Today, we have a news factory that produces news from Donbass in English seven days a week. Our staff consists nearly equally of local and international journalists. We cooperate closely with the local administration and head of DNR, Alexander Zakharchenko. We have an international press centre, which helps foreign journalists visit Donetsk, obtain accreditation, and see everything that is happening with their own eyes.
We are now establishing our own network of connections and independent journalists throughout Europe.
Janus has online profiles on Facebook and on “Russian Facebook” VK.com. He even has his own personal email on the server of the so-called “ministry of information” of the DNR terrorist organisation: email@example.com. Janus takes part in propaganda actions, for instance on the International Children’s Day. (The cult of victims is one of the methods by which the terrorists wage their information war.)
A story by a Finnish journalist, [Iltalehti’s Nina Leinonen,] recounted how she was deported from Donetsk in August 2015 because her reports from the area were objective. The same has happened with almost all Western journalists. A Ukrainian article on the case describes Janus thus: “The foreign legionnaire and pro-Russian propagandist from Finland, Janus Putkonen, manages the Donbass International News Agency and helps “DNR” filter Western journalists.”
This is what [Finnish traitor] Johan Bäckman, adjunct professor at the University of Helsinki, who was trained as a military propagandist and acts as the official (!) representative of DNR’s terrorists in Finland, said about Janus at a roundtable discussion, “Struggle for Independence in Donbass,” held in occupied Donetsk on 12 May 2016:
We sent our information experts to Donbass, and one of them, Janus Putkonen, is head of the international press centre, DONi. Also, we assisted Finnish volunteers who were now fighting in the ranks of the armies of the Donetsk and Lugansk “People’s Republics.”
Janus has an assistant in Donetsk, one Jaana-Marika Kurtti (aka “Jaana Koo”). It would be very interesting to know who sponsors this movement of information terrorists. Surely, it would not be very difficult to find out? In her message to Alla Pierce, Yelena Nikitina says that “it is not us,” referring to the so-called “ministry of information” of DNR. Who, then?
We now have new information, [published by FINROSFORUM,] about the activities of the Finnish information terrorists, which reveals that the pro-Kremlin propaganda that they produce is being spread in Finland as well. A radio station called Love FM began broadcasting in Finland in July 2016. The station carries mostly harmless pop music, intermixed with short “News from Russia” that repeat the common tropes of Kremlin propaganda: Crimea is part of Russia, Ukraine violates human rights, and Russia is fighting “terrorists” in Syria.
At closer look, however, it seems obvious that Love FM has very much to do with Russia indeed. Apparently, its propaganda “news” are being read by Jaana-Marika Kurtti, who works for the pro-Moscow information war outlet, DONi News, which is based in Russian-occupied Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. The manager of DONi News, long-term anti-Western campaigner Janus Putkonen, promotes the radio station on his Facebook page. Love FM’s latest edition of “News from Russia” mentioned a week-long illegal trip of a group of Finnish “tourists” organised by Mr Putkonen and Ms Kurtti to the occupied territories.
Our sources reported that the emergence of the propaganda station led to a major scandal in Finland, rocking the local media establishment. Many journalists began investigating and reporting on the case.
The fact that authorities in an EU member state have issued a license to a radio station that carries Moscow’s war propaganda is a scandal. The situation puts a whole new slant on “soft power”: Legislation in Finland is too soft to protect our society from Russia’s insidious influence operations. Latvia and Lithuania have legislation that prohibits the broadcasting of war propaganda, and regulatory authorities there have often suspended the transmission of Russia’s propaganda channels for repeated violations and lies. Maybe it is time we rethink our concept of mental defence and elect decision makers who would act accordingly?
In summary, first the authorities in Finland failed to take decisive measures against its citizens involved in terrorism against Ukraine, and now the threat has spread to their own country. Which was to be expected.