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A rather interesting piece on Die Zeit told about a thwarted coup in Germany, which was being prepared by a group of active and retired military with the Bundeswehr. The main highlight though in this unexpected report was that the “conspirators” communicated via a Telegram messenger administered through Russia. Moreover, earlier the Telegram channel’s admin serviced (duh!) a right-wing radical terrorist Group S.
Isn’t that great? Radicalized German military, who don’t even conceal their racist and neo-Nazi views, are uniting in a group plotting to overthrow the incumbent government, while being brought together in an FSB-controlled Russian social network, let alone the fact that the chat group is administered from Russia, while its admins previously supervised another nationalist group.
A shocker? A surprise? In fact, there’s nothing surprising here.
In my op-eds, I’ve repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that Russia inherited from the USSR the use of an element of radicalism, racial and religious hatred, brought to the level of terrorism, in its operations, both on the internal and external influence bridgeheads.
Employing radical, neo-Nazi groups, as well as founding various fight clubs, both in Russia and beyond, while sponsoring and overseeing neo-Nazi organizations, football hooligans and motorcycle gangs, the Kremlin today has its own military branches and a certain number of potential fighters to be involved in certain efforts, if necessary.
Back in 2018, head of the Biden Center for Diplomacy & Global Engagement, Michael Carpenter, penned a piece for The Atlantic, warning of a negative trend of Russian intelligence spreading its influence through radical movements and the anger of certain strata over certain phenomena in their home countries. Moreover, the phenomena sparking rage and radicalization are often provoked by Russia.
For example, as it was in 2015, when Russia, with its intervention in the Syrian civil war, provoked a large-scale humanitarian crisis in Europe. The uncontrolled flow of refugees fleeing the war, and along with them — let’s be honest — Bashar al-Assad’s troops and operatives, caused a wave of indignation in a traditionally calm Europe, which catalyzed neo-Nazi manifestations and stimulated right-wing populism.
In 2019, the so-called “International Convention of Russian Germans”, supported by the Russian-funded party “Alternative for Germany”, announced that another “independent territorial entity” could appear in Europe in the near future — the “Republic of Russian Germans” …
But, much earlier, Bild published excerpts from the book “Putin’s Secret War” by Boris Reitschuster, a German journalist, an acclaimed expert on Russian influence in Germany and across Europe. The publication told about the elite military spec-ops forces the Kremlin had long deployed in the EU that are ready at any moment to fulfill Moscow’s orders.
It would seem that it is an old article dating back to 2016, but we see that practically any terrorist act committed in the EU in recent years, in one way or another, had Russian funding, weapons or direct supervision involved.
In addition, Boris Reitschuster, who studied the topic of fight clubs across Europe especially closely, noted that the overwhelming majority of members of the Russian Sistema network, being just ordinary enthusiasts, are actively exploited by Russian intelligence services to recruit assets from the most radical stratum. According to him, there are from 250 to 300 militants in Germany under control of Russian intelligence.
But, this is all history. These cases had indicated the level of infiltration by Russian assets worldwide, which was supposed to alert counterintelligence in many Western countries. As for today, in July alone, one spy scandal after another emerged involving Russia…
These are accusations of cyberattacks aimed to steal data on coronavirus vaccine research, as well as the publication in the UK of their Russia report, which highlighted evidence of Russia’s interference in UK electionsand the attempt to meddle in the Scottish independence referendum.
The report emphasizes: “It appears that Russia considers the UK one of its top Western intelligence targets: while we may not experience the level and type of threat that counties on Russia’s borders suffer, witnesses have suggested that we would just sit behind the US and NATO in any priority list.”
And therefore, it seems to me, it may as well be right about time for our European partners to look at the threats coming from Russia more adequately, rather than fall into a state of shock and surprise every time when it turns out that it’s the Kremlin that stands behind the attempted coup in Montenegro, radicalization of BLM rallies through Antifa groups, as well as behind referendums in Scotland and Catalonia, and so on. And now it’s a coup d’état in Germany… That’s not to mention Russia’s large-scale hybrid meddling in Ukraine.
It’s time to open your eyes and act more resolutely.