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22 Aug, 2022 12:23

‘Russian actors’ may attempt to split society – German spies

Germany’s domestic security agency has warned that protesters may end up advancing Moscow's agenda
‘Russian actors’ may attempt to split society – German spies

Germans protesting over issues such as surging energy prices may be exploited by extremists, conspiracy theorists, and activists seeking to delegitimize the government, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, has warned. The protesters may even be unwittingly doing Russia’s bidding, the officials claimed. 

The chilling warning issued last week said that “legitimate protests [in Germany] are being hijacked by enemies of democracy for their own purposes.”  

“So far there have been no signs of widespread anti-state protests or violent mass riots,” looming, the head of the BfV, Thomas Haldenwang, acknowledged. Nevertheless, the agency is on the lookout for red flags. 

“We are closely monitoring whether the agitation on the internet is reflected in a mobilization for activities relevant to the protection of the constitution in the real world,” he said. 

The agency claimed that “right-wing extremists” were trying to attribute “the economic effects of the Russian war of aggression” in Ukraine to “alleged incompetence of the democratic parties.”  

Such individuals have linked the surging energy prices in Europe with globalization, the statement said. 

Energy prices in Germany spiked after the EU sought to punish Russia for its operation in Ukraine by decoupling European economies from Russian commodities, including hydrocarbons. Meanwhile, other nations, such as China and India, have ramped up their imports of Russian coal, crude oil and natural gas, some of which is reportedly being re-sold to Western nations at a premium. 

German “extremists” who see a connection between the globalized world and European economic troubles aim to “exploit” the growing discontent of ordinary citizens “to undermine trust in the state, government and democracy in the long term,” the BfV said. 

The public resentment is being fueled by Russia, the agency claimed, accusing “Russian actors” of using “targeted dissemination of false information” about pressing issues such as energy costs or possible food shortages. 

The BfV didn’t offer any examples of such activities in the statement, but Haldenwang assured that Russia was determined “to divide the society in Germany.” 

Meanwhile, in “the left-wing extremist scene” the security agency noticed a growth of anti-military sentiment and criticism of defense contractors.