Throughout 2022, Russia, through its agents of influence in Europe, tried to hamper military assistance to Ukraine. While all media attention was focused on the Ukrainian battlefield, the Kremlin’s agents, politicians, businessmen, pseudo-experts, political parties, journalists, and others significantly intensified their activities in the European space in order to discredit the Armed Forces of Ukraine and block arms supplies.
Germany was one of the countries where such Ukrainian-phobic efforts of the Kremlin’s minions were most acute.
Some may argue that Ukrainophobia and Russian lobbyism are most clearly manifested in Hungary, but unlike the latter, from which Ukraine had absolutely nothing to expect as this subsidized country living in hypertrophied populism can’t help anyway, Germany did have something to offer. But the Germans were in no rush to do so. That’s because they were dragged down by pro-Russian elements and outright Kremlin agents.
In early 2023, these figures became even more aggressive in their moves. After all, the Russian military and political leadership found themselves in a state of existential shock after a coalition made a decision to send their Western-made tanks to Ukraine. The fact that it was including about German Leopard 2 tanks triggered Moscow the most.
Immediately after the reports emerged of Germany’s readiness to transfer their tanks to Ukraine, Russia launched to information campaigns at once.
One was aimed at the Russians, reflecting on the topic of Leopard and Abrams tanks allegedly being weak even against simple RPG-7 grenade launchers.
Another campaign targeted Western audiences, spreading the narratives in the German information space that Ukraine was “robbing” Germany, “extorting” costly weapons for the war with Russia, instead of sitting down at the negotiation table with the invaders.
For example, as a result of a cyber attack at the Stuttgart Airport on January 21-22, an ad appeared on public monitors with a call not to transfer Leopard 2 and stop “robbing” the Bundeswehr. Similar ads appeared across German cities, fueling a negative attitude towards the handover of weapons and equipment to Ukraine.
Also, several articles very similar in content appeared almost simultaneously, also undermining faith in helping Ukraine.
The first was a piece by a Russian agent in Austria, long known for lobbying Russia’s interests in Europe, Karin Kneissl. The oped was published in the Russian propaganda newspaper Vedomosti. This corrupt politician, who invited Vladimir Putin as an honorable guest to her wedding and performed with him an infamous dance while blood was being shed in Ukraine, slammed the West with a ton of criticism over their support for Ukraine.
The second piece was an article in The Economist, where, in fact, the familiar narrative is promoted that Ukraine “ruined” the German army and led it into decline.
That is, it’s Ukraine which is to blame for the fact that Russia attacked them, and Germany cannot fully help the nation, since the long-term pacifist policies have led the Bundeswehr to impotence, right?
Now we are observing an information wave that will discredit assistance to Ukraine in every possible way, much more actively than before. This is due to the fact that Russia cannot increase its tank potential with equipment that in any way corresponds to the level of modern warfare. Meanwhile, thanks to Western assistance, Ukraine can. Now, the German Leopard 2 tanks are a priority in this regard.
It is for this reason that the information pressure on Germany is now rushing down like an avalanche as Russia employs its well-known agents of influence. But, here’s the question… If we are well aware of all these Russian minions in Europe, how come they continue to operate unhindered? Is anyone in power in their home countries aware at all about their malign efforts? Recall, in 1943, did anyone supporting Nazism get a pat on the head? Perhaps for modern Europe, Putin, who is killing thousands of Ukrainians, is somehow different from Hitler who masterminded the Holocaust? But is he?