The Washington Post revealed on Friday that Russia launched a disinformation operation last summer aimed at increasing the number of Germans sympathetic to Russia. The idea was to discredit the US, NATO, the EU and the UK in German society, while convincing German citizens that sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine do more harm than good.
The published reports come from classified Russian documents analyzed by an American newspaper. As reported, in early July last year, Vladimir Putin declared during a conversation with his comrades that the interests of Washington and its allies, especially from Europe, should not coincide. A few days later, the deputy head of the state administration, Sergei Kiriyenko, met with Russian political technology leaders to discuss possible actions in Germany, which was identified as the country where the Kremlin’s projects had the greatest chance of success.
The disinformation operation was intended to discredit the United States, NATO, the European Union and the United Kingdom in German society, while convincing German citizens that sanctions imposed on Russia in response to that country’s invasion of Ukraine were doing more harm than good.
As confirmed, Kiriyenko asked his subordinates to increase the number of German residents calling for better relations with Russia by up to 10 percent over the next three months. The American daily reported that political technologists in the Kremlin doubted that, stating that “it would be a difficult task”.
Troll farms, slogans of Kremlin propagandists at demonstrations
The Russians immediately went to work, trying to “start” so-called troll farms and inserting propaganda comments like “Buy gas, not war” or “Ukraine wants war, Germany wants peace” on German social media. Another part of the strategy was to create slogans with social protests in mind due to rising energy prices.
The demonstrations were to take place from the town of Neustrelitz in the eastern part of the country, in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, to Stuttgart in the southwest. According to the intention of the Russians, the organizers of these protests should be extreme political circles in terms of worldview – both the radical right and the radical left.
Such demonstrations took place, among others, in Neustrelitz and Leipzig, but they never turned into a nationwide protest action. Participants in the demonstration raised or chanted slogans put forth by Kremlin propagandists. Among them: “Launch Nord Stream 2 immediately!” “,” Cancel anti-Russian sanctions! , “Energy prices drop!” , “We want to live, not just survive!” or “What should we preserve for the winter?” – it was written in the article.
Kremlin efforts failed
The Washington Post revealed that the disinformation campaign even included graffiti all over Germany, which were then photographed and put into the German press. Among these “projects” is a drawing of Uncle Sam, symbolizing the United States, that says, “Wait a few more years.” Another photo allegedly showed German Foreign Minister Analina Berbock sitting on the Nord Stream gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany. According to the ideas of Kremlin propagandists, the politician would wave the Ukrainian flag and say: “I don’t care what the Germans think.”
As noted, it is unclear if any of these drawings were actually created on German soil last year.
All of these efforts by the Kremlin failed due to Europe’s mild winter and the ability of the German government to rapidly diversify energy supplies, the American daily reported.
Main image source: stock struggle
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