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21 Apr, 2023 13:10

Kremlin tells WaPo its 'document leak' story is "100% fake"

The newspaper claimed that Moscow wants German far-left and far-right political forces to unite
Kremlin tells WaPo its 'document leak' story is "100% fake"

The Washington Post says it has obtained secret Russian documents detailing a plan to bring anti-establishment political parties together in Germany in an effort to sow discord in the West. The Kremlin has responded that it does not interfere in the domestic affairs of other nations.

The purported Russian documents, largely dated from July to November last year, were obtained by an unidentified European intelligence service, the US news outlet said on Friday. It did not explain how it gained access, but it also interviewed some German politicians for the story.

The article said Moscow’s plan was “part of a hidden front in Russia’s war against Ukraine” and an attempt “to undermine Western unity.” The Soviet Union harnessed anti-war sentiment in the same way, an anonymous German security official told the Post.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the alleged Russian plan “100% fake.” He told the Post: “We never interfered before and now we really don’t have time for this.”

The strategy, as described in the article, involves “marrying” Germany’s far-left Die Linke with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. Sahra Wagenknecht, an MP from Die Linke, would have a chance of winning the chancellorship with such backing, the plan suggests.

The Post spoke to Wagenknecht's former husband, Ralph Niemeyer, who assessed her electoral chances as high. He claimed that Russian officials told him that such an outcome would be in Moscow’s interest.

But Wagenknecht would never accept any support from Moscow, Niemeyer added, and the idea of a union with AfD did not sit well with her either. The politician herself told the post that there would not be “any cooperation or alliance” between her “and elements of the AfD in any form.”

The Post claimed that the effort was led by Sergey Kirienko, the deputy head of the Russian presidential administration, along with unnamed “political strategists” tasked with executing it. The documents do not show any attempts by the Russian government to communicate the strategy to German politicians or potential allies, the report said.

The article cited instances of Die Linke and AfD holding protests against Berlin’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict and the damage caused by anti-Russian sanctions to the national economy. Members of AfD interviewed by the newspaper said being on the same side of the issue was the result of an intersection of values rather than any Russian influence campaign.