Russia launched a disinformation operation last summer aimed at increasing the number of Germans sympathetic to Russia, the Washington Post revealed on Friday. The idea was to discredit the US, NATO, the European Union and the UK in German society, while convincing German citizens that the 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 announced during a conversation with his associates that the interests of Washington and its allies, mainly from Europe, do not have to coincide. A few days later, the deputy head of the administration of the head of state, Sergei Kiriyenko, met with Russian political technology leaders to discuss possible actions in Germanyidentified as the country where the Kremlin’s undertakings have the greatest chance of success.
The disinformation operation was to discredit German society USANATO, the EU and the UK, while convincing German citizens that the sanctions imposed on Russia in response to that country’s invasion of Ukraine are doing more harm than good, according to the Washington Post.
As emphasized, Kirijenko required his subordinates to increase the number of German residents demanding improved relations with Russia by as much as 10 percent over the next three months. Kremlin political technologists were skeptical about this, noting that “it will be a difficult task,” the American daily reported.
Troll farms, slogans of Kremlin propagandists at demonstrations
The Russians immediately went to work, trying to “start up” the so-called troll farms and inject propaganda comments like “Buy gas, not war” or “Ukraine wants war, Germany wants peace” on German social media. Another part of the strategy was the preparation of slogans with the social protests caused by the growing population in mind 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 did not turn into a nationwide protest action. Participants in the demonstration carried or chanted slogans developed by Kremlin propagandists. They read, among other things: “Launch immediately North Stream 2!”, “Abolish anti-Russian sanctions!”, “Cut down energy prices!”, “We want to live, not just survive!” or “What should we keep warm in winter?”, the article reads.
Failure of the Kremlin’s efforts
The Washington Post revealed that the disinformation campaign had even included graffiti painted on walls across Germany, then photographed and placed in the German press. Among such “projects” was a drawing of Uncle Sam, symbolizing the USA, saying: “Hold on for a few more years.” Another image allegedly showed German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock sitting on the Nord Stream gas pipeline connecting 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 whether any of these graffiti were actually created on German territory last year.
All these efforts by the Kremlin have failed because of Europe’s mild winter and the German government’s ability to quickly diversify energy supplies, the American daily reported.
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