Deutsche Welle’s branch in Russia is engaged in “military propaganda” in the best traditions of Joseph Goebbels, spreading fakes, demoralising Russian society, and calling on residents to protest. The German editorial office should be closed not only for interference in elections, but also for subversive activities on the territory of the sovereign Russian Federation.
DW scandal after summer protests
The Russian branch of the German state-owned television and radio company Deutsche Welle was at the epicentre of a scandal as a result of covering the summer protests, carried out by forbidden candidates for deputies for Moscow City Council because of their identified violations before elections. By releasing materials about the ongoing electoral process in Moscow, the editorial board not only covered the events one-sidedly, but also allowed itself to publish offensive-joking content in relation to the current government.
However, it’s not political humour, cartoons, or bias that drew DW into the scandal and attracted the attention of the State Duma Commission on Investigating Interference in the Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
The foreign media published several materials that violated Russian legislation. In one of them, DW indirectly justified the disorder and called on residents of the capital to take to the streets of the city on July 27th.
In another material journalists justified the actions of blogger Vladislav Sinitsa, who under the pseudonym “Max Steklov” wrote online that for him children are “bed fodder”. He publicly called for the abduction and murder of the children of police officers, and then the dispatch of snuff videos (murder videos) to their parents. According to DW journalists, the blogger was condemned “just” for the tweet, “he simply speculated”, and in general the case is politically motivated.
The State Duma Commission on Investigating Interference in the Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation considered that DW violated a number of laws of the Russian Federation: Federal Law No. 67 “On Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights,” Federal Law No. 54 “On Meetings”, and Federal Law No. 149 “On Information Technologies and Information Protection”. Moreover, politicians consider that the editorial office is guilty of an act having characteristics of an offence under article 205.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
By the way, the DW editorial office was warned about the inadmissibility of publishing such materials, and was later summoned to a meeting of the Commission on Foreign Interference. However, the Deutsche Welle Head of General Management, Johannes Hoffmann, did not accept the charges and did not want to visit the Russian Parliament for clarification, claiming that the Russian office did not have the competence to communicate with representatives of political institutions. Chief editor Ingo Mannteufel also showed no desire to explain himself. As a result, the deputies took the initiative to deprive the German media holding company of accreditation in the Russian Federation.
On radio “Sputnik” the expert of the International Institute of Humanitarian and Political Studies Vladimir Bruter commented on DW ‘s refusal to participate in the meeting of the State Duma Commission.
Deutsche Welle believes that they can behave however they want and we are allowed to act only in accordance with their rules in their own interpretation. I propose a simple approach to this situation. If they try to squeeze us out, we’ll do the same thing, too. If they expect that in Russia there will be one attitude towards them and another towards Russian media, then they are wrong.
Representatives of the liberal community received without delight the news about the deprivation of DW’s accreditation. Once again, talk began about the absence of freedom of speech in the Russian Federation and the existence of state censorship. According to many, the German editorial scandal is just a mistake. DW Director General Peter Limbourg called the accusations against the “honest and objective” editorial a manifestation of a police state and the persecution of the independent media. At the suggestion of Deutsche Welle, criticism of the Moscow authorities was expressed even in the capital of Germany after it became known about the detention of a DW correspondent during the illegal action on July 27th.
The German Union of Journalists (DJV) in Berlin demanded to end “violence” against media correspondents.
By their harsh actions, Russian law enforcement violate not only universally recognised human rights, but also the Russian Constitution.
Was there a mistake? Is the ban on DW in Russia a misunderstanding caused by political events? These are open questions. In order to answer them, we suggest to pay attention to several facts, including historical ones.
The Germans make waves
German media broadcasts in several dozen countries. However, the coverage work in the Russian Federation differs from the information of Europeans or Germans. First of all, because on the territory of Russia DW is involved in informational and subversive activities aimed at discrediting the authorities and creating a negative image of the Russian Federation on the international stage, both in historical retrospect and in the current conditions. News about events in the Russian Federation is more negative. Such a conclusion can be drawn by analysing the materials of the foreign publication.
The editorial board of Deutsche Welle does not hide its affiliation with critics of the Soviet Union. According to journalists, the USSR is an occupying state that has become a “prison of nations”. Therefore, they talk with great love about Soviet censorship in cinema, theatre, mass media, and total control of society. They actively support anti-Soviet dissidents and writers, creating from them the image of victims of the regime. The editorial office greatly admires the works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who actively criticises the Soviet government. DW does everything to present the USSR as a totalitarian state and enemy No. 1, not the liberator of Europe from fascist invaders. Accordingly, they carefully transfer the same image to its successor – Russia, accusing the authorities of attacking freedom of speech and creativity, and presenting police officers as “particularly cruel”.
Addressing the topic of “Soviet occupation”, it is impossible to bypass the entire pool of materials dedicated to the “capture of the Baltics” by the Soviet Union. According to journalists, the accession of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to the USSR was the most terrible event in the history of the Baltic states and in fact a “death sentence” to their freedom and sovereignty. And therefore DW, with great pleasure, writes about how joyfully the Baltics celebrates disconnection from the Soviet state. This historical date is presented as a great victory of democracy, the triumph of liberation, and the acquisition of the historical Motherland.
How many DW materials do you think are dedicated to covering the positive activities of the Soviet government on the Baltic territory? Will they tell you much about the fact that once agrarian republics underwent economic reformation and received powerful industrial sectors at their disposal? Under Soviet rule giants such as “Kėdainiai Chemical Plant”, Mažeikiai Oil Refinery, “Azot” factory, and many radio engineering enterprises were created. A powerful fishing fleet was established in Klaipėda. Everyone would have such an “occupation” – with trade, infrastructure, subsidies, and technology.
It is interesting that the DW editorial board, in the context of the discussion of the occupation of the Baltics, promotes a positive attitude towards various opposition protests in Russia. According to German media, Russian liberals should take into account the experience of detaching Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Journalists positively perceive hundreds of thousands of people coming out to the streets in those days, the creation of anti-state and semi-state organisations, and foreign support for anti-Communists. In the context of the previously published call “Moscow, come out!”, this material looks like another manifestation of interference in the social and political situation inside the Russian Federation, or even as incitement.
Deutsche Welle workers are involved in distorting historical facts. One of the popular topics among German journalists is the revision of the results and events of the War for the purpose of determining the instigator of the war. In its materials DW seems to analyse the conflict from different points of view, refers to various experts and historians, but the accents are made in such a way that Moscow almost always remains guilty. Thus, journalists in an article entitled “When World War II really began” write that the starting point should be the signing of the “Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact“. This event was a national tragedy for the Baltics, not Germany’s invasion of Poland, said the Doctor of Historical Sciences and teacher at Bonn University Ekaterina Makhotina in an interview with DW. As a result, there is an interesting picture in which the aggression of fascist Germany, which launched an invading war and attacked the countries of Europe, is contextually displaced. A little nuance in one text, but what’s the effect.
With equal enthusiasm, pro-West journalists are involved in the deheroisation of the feats of Soviet citizens. Deutsche Welle considers the USSR to be the losing side in the Battle of Kursk. At the same time, the battle itself is not considered to be a turning point in the victory over fascist Germany. According to German historians referred to by journalists, Moscow defeated the Fuhrer Adolf Hitler thanks to the entry into war of the United States and the intensification of hostilities in the Pacific theater.
Deutsche Welle presents Russia as enemy No. 1 and spreads fake and disinformation when covering modern military conflicts.
The editorial board publishes articles in which it calls the Russian Federation the main participant and beneficiary of military actions in Ukraine. According to them, Moscow allegedly gives instructions to the Donbass militia, and residents of the DPR are forced to starve and die. At the same time, Kiev’s actions are thrown out of the news agenda. I.e., from the meagre articles of Deutsche Welle, the reader learns little about the shelling of civilians by Ukrainian troops. Or they will remain unaware of how the UAF trampled towns and villages with artillery. And they are certainly unlikely to be given an objective and positive assessment of the Minsk Agreements or the humanitarian assistance provided by Russia to Ukrainians.
According to journalists, the German media is involved in creating information prerequisites for imposing sanctions against Russia. For example, the head of the Russian edition of DW Ingo Mannteufel on the pages of Allgemeine Zeitung accused Russia of carrying out propaganda abroad and spreading on the territory of the United States disinformation related to an explosion at a chemical plant in the city of Centerville. The officials of the “Agency for Federal Investigations” (FLB.ru) found that there was never an explosion, and the news in the editor’s column appeared after the release of the agitational film of the Department of Strategic Communications of the Lithuanian Army entitled “War 2020. Information Aggression of Russia”, which showed footage of a non-existent incident. According to FLB journalists, the Lithuanian agency reports to the NATO Center for Strategic Communications StratSom, which is engaged in an information war against Russia. DW became a participant in this media opposition, supporting the spread of fakes in the European media.
Even a brief and runaway analysis of German media materials showed that journalists do not aim to objectively cover events taking place in the world and in Russia. This branch of the German media holding company is a tool of social control and manipulation of public opinion. At the same time, work is going in two directions: to the European and, most importantly, to the Russian reader.
The publication is engaged in political propaganda, the formation of a negative image of Russia, incitement, distortion of historical facts, discrediting the authorities, and subversive activities that can lead to social shocks in view of the accumulated critical mass of negativity in society.
Goebbels’ “Architects of Human Souls”
There is nothing strange or surprising about Deutsche Welle being a propaganda foreign agent. Let’s pay attention to historical fact. A radio company called Deutsche Welle GmbH appeared in 1926 when the political movement of German Nazis was gaining momentum in Germany, absorbed by the idea of imperial revanchism and the restoration of Germany’s greatness. As it developed, the company expanded its audience, creating various subsidiaries focused on broadcasting overseas on short and long waves. In 1933, Deutsche Welle GmbH was renamed Deutschlandsender GmbH, and under its auspices Deutsche Kurzwellensender operated, broadcasting news reports in 30 foreign languages. The main task was to form a positive image of Germany on the airwaves.
After 1933, control over the radio company was gained by the well-known German propagandist Joseph Goebbels, who turned DW into a powerful information weapon, subordinate to the dogmas of military propaganda described in the book “Mein Kampf”. Under his leadership there were more than 3,600 print media outlets in total. He personally controlled the agenda and distributed messages through loyal chief editors, and Deutsche Welle became the main mouthpiece of propaganda. In fact, Goebbels was the “architect of human souls”, as he fully controlled the information space and inspired people with the thoughts that the Reich needed. Including through radio, the Nazis justified the Holocaust and called for the killing of Communists, calling them “Asian subhumans”.
In wartime, DW was involved in enemy disinformation, including subversive activities on the territory of foreign states. The relayed news caused panic, divided allies, demoralised the population, and simply made the information field unreadable. Deutsche Welle did not broadcast on the territory of the USSR due to the established prohibitions on listening to German radio in wartime. However, the company directly sponsored the legalised fascist propaganda media, which were positioned as unrelated to Germany.
The differences between modern DW and the radio company of Fascist Germany are minor. The only difference is that today there is no open military conflict between the countries. However, the information struggle within the framework of the existing inter-state hybrid conflict is well under way. This one allows Deutsche Welle to conduct essentially soft but still “military propaganda”, destabilising the Russian public with fakes, information planting, and the selective publication of demoralising news. DW openly ran a pro-German information agenda during Hitler’s time, and it does the same thing today. Even on the website of the Russian branch it is noted that the editorial office provides a European and German view of events in Russia and the world. Can we then talk about objectivity?
Given the above, it seems logical to deny DW accreditation. And not only for its interference in the election last summer, but also for the disinformation and propaganda work on the territory of Russia, carried out in the best traditions of the precepts of Joseph Goebbels.
Federal News Agency
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