Fake News: Not Germans are the target, but Russians

According to a new EU report, Germany is a prime target for Russian disinformation. There is a small but crucial catch.

The EU has registered more than 700 cases of Russian media spreading misinformation and fake news about Germany since the end of 2015, the Foreign Service reports.

This is more than twice as many as over France (more than 300) and about four times as many as over Italy (more than 170 cases). Spain was affected more than 40 times.

That sounds impressive. However, the figure refers to Russian media – and not to cases of “fake news” in German or German-language newspapers or broadcasters.

After the failed visit of EU Foreign Minister Borrell to Moscow, the disinformation campaign has even intensified, reports “Der Spiegel”.

But the example the paper gives is not much more than a colourful report from the Youth Office in Berlin – and it is again about a Russian-language medium. Quote:

Russian media reported that Berlin police forcibly took three children aged two, four and six from the flat of a Russian family and handed them over to the Youth Welfare Office. According to EAD, the police gave the “found situation in the flat” as the reason for the measure – and that the officers had been kicked, beaten and spat at by the parents. According to the Russian nationalist website “Tsargad”, on the other hand, a policeman allegedly shouted to the mother: “This is for Nawalny.”

The Russian website “Tsargat” is quoted here – and not a German medium. This is not surprising. For the message was primarily intended for domestic – Russian – use.

The clou: The EU itself even admits this. Quote from the EU report:

It is tempting to write off the Kremlin’s aggressive language as “intended for a domestic audience”. Most of the topics, mentioned above, have not been exploited in Russia’s channels in German: neither RT, nor Sputnik have chosen to report on “Germany’s oppression of Russians” or on the “Spy Story” or even Ms Navalnaya’s citizenship.

In other words, the “fake news” that is supposed to prove a targeted and large-scale campaign was not disseminated at all in German-language media – not even on RT.

This is a small but crucial snag.

Because in this way the German audience cannot be misled either. And of course Germany cannot be “attacked” either – at most, the Russian image of Germany is damaged.

But even that should not be overrated: Who reads “Tsargad” anyway?

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) The original post (in German) is here