The Information War of RT DE
[This article is part of our publication project “RT in Europe and beyond”]
Information as “warfare”
On 18 February 1987, the German daily newspaper Die Tageszeitung (informally known as taz), published an interview titled: “Aids: Man-made in USA”.1 The article had the renowned East German author Stefan Heym conducting an interview with the GDR biologist Josef Segal. In the interview, Segal claimed that HIV (that can result in AIDS), was created in a US Army medical research centre at Fort Detrick, Maryland. This theory picked up on the KGB’s concept of “Operation Infektion”, which attempted to spread the rumour that the AIDS epidemic was a targeted but failed American bioweapons operation. In East Germany, the Ministry for State Security (or “Stasi”) was instructed by Soviet officials to further promote this idea in order to destabilise the West.2
Whether Segal was personally involved with the Stasi is disputed – particularly because many of the relevant documents were either destroyed or have not yet been examined.3 However, the Stasi and other GDR political entities evidently did everything in their power to spread falsehoods in West Germany about how AIDS originated. By calling for a “bombshell story” within the taz editorial office, the interview with Segal that was finally printed by the popular West German newspaper4 resulted in massive outrage. It also led to some continuing to believe this theory, even today.
Of course, the media industry that existed in Germany in the 1980s is incomparable with that of today. In the current globalised and interconnected world within which we live, where virtually everyone has access to a variety of media products, can receive countless messages on social media, and can regularly interact with more publications than existed on the planet 50 years ago, information has truly has become an indispensable factor in our lives. But one thing has not changed since the Stasi spread its fake story about the origin of HIV/AIDS: there are still those who seek to misuse media to persuade the public. The phenomenon of “fake news” has characterised the politics of this decade.5 People and movements such as Donald Trump, the right-wing Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, AfD) or the German Querdenken movement (which denies the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic), are profiteers of a constantly changing media landscape in which it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between lies and truth.
However, even in the post-Soviet era, Russia continues to take advantage of the complex media landscape, and use information as a weapon. And this is being done in a more sophisticated manner than ever before – Russia has established a global disinformation campaign by using multiple media outlets. Of the latter, the most important are RT (formerly Russia Today), and Sputnik News Agency, now functioning in Germany under the name “SNA”.
In Germany, RT DE is the biggest Russian media outlet and, according to the Verfassungsschutz (Germany’s domestic intelligence agency – the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution), one of the pawns utilised by Russia to “control the political and public opinion in Germany through the proliferation of propaganda, disinformation and other resources”.6 A taskforce of the European External Action Service, the EUvsDisInfo Project publishes weekly summaries of Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaigns that affect the EU; it reported that Germany was one of the EU countries most targeted by these campaigns.7 In March 2021, over five years after the launch of the EUvsDisinfo database, more than 700 collected cases targeted Germany. When compared with similar cases in France (300+ cases), Italy (170+ cases), and Spain (40+ cases), it seems the Kremlin has given the Federal Republic of Germany special priority.
There is thus all the more reason to carefully analyse Russian interference within the German media landscape, and to examine the motives and strategies used by different Russia-affiliated media outlets; awareness needs to be raised for this relatively new form of foreign interference. I will demonstrate, in the remainder of this paper, what the three main strategies the Kremlin is using in its “information war” in Germany: 1) Spreading a Russia-positive narrative; 2) planting public mistrust in the German government and other political stakeholders of liberal democracy; and 3) dividing German society through targeted content.
The collection of research for this contribution was challenging, as most of the video clips produced by RT DE, since its inception in 2014, are not available online anymore. This is, of course, a consequence of RT DE’s ban from the video platform YouTube8 due to its false reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic (which will be discussed later). However, the RT DE website also offers a variety of text contributions, articles, and commentaries. For the examples used here, the author has therefore largely relied upon these written sources, as well as on existing work done by Dr. Susanne Spahn, who has conducted impressive research regarding Russian disinformation in Germany.9
Russia’s (false) version of the story: between propaganda and news
A 2019 report by the blog Proekt states that the Russian presidential administration’s First Deputy Chief of Staff, Alexey Gromov, has been holding weekly meetings that include senior representatives of certain Russian TV stations, representatives from the Kremlin’s press teams, and with other government representatives (such as from the State Duma).13 During these meetings, Gromov is said to “give recommendations about what kind of light participants might or might not shed on recent events.”14 Such attempts at interference within national media broadcasts extend also to media outlets outside Russia. According to Susanne Spahn,15 up to 90% of website content of the Russia-affiliated SNA-Radio16 (available in some parts of Germany and online), stems from Russia. The German newspaper Spiegel reported that RT DE journalists received sharp instructions about their framing, content and coverage of news by both their Moscow headquarters and the local editorship.17
A prime example that shows how Russia uses its media outlets to distort facts and tell its own “truth” is the poisoning of Alexey Navalny. While multiple (Western) media outlets have published evidence of the involvement of both Russia and its Federal Security Service (FSB) in Navalny’s poisoning,18 Russian media have sought to slander such research. The investigative website “Bellingcat” was especially targeted in multiple articles on RT DE, where the latter attempted to discredit the former’s work. Among other things, the group was labelled “a symbol of the decline of classic investigative journalism”, and their story on Russian involvement in the Navalny poisoning was “made up”.19
Germany’s Verfassungsschutz mentioned this same distortion strategy in their annual report on state security (2020).20 According to the report, the RT DE campaign was based on three pillars to make it successful: 1) Russian state agencies denied any involvement with the poisoning; 2) this message was reinforced by state-affiliated media in Russia, who also engaged in personal attacks on the victim’s family and entourage; and 3) Russian-funded media actors in Germany adopted corresponding narratives and tried to carry them into German media discourse. Critics of such reporting practices were quickly labelled “Russophobic”, to discredit their arguments. By false reporting in such matters, Russia aimed at gaining authority over the messages put out to the public. Through surreptitious distraction from the real scandal, they attempted to shift public opinion and thereby affect politics within the country.
In the case of Alexey Navalny, politicians from both ends of the political spectrum picked up on the doubting narrative, and questioned Russian involvement in the poisoning. For example, Klaus Ernst, an MP from the German Die Linke (“The Left”) party, tweeted soon after the first allegations, asking “Who is interested in disturbing the relations, especially the economic ones, between Germany, the EU and Russia […]?”.21 His Linke colleague and then-foreign policy spokesman for the parliamentary group, Gregor Gysi, insinuated in an interview that the assassination attempt could have been initiated by an opponent of the contested “Nord Stream 2 pipeline” project.22 The scepticism of these left-wing politicians echoes that of those on the right: the parliamentary group of the right-wing AfD submitted an enquiry to the federal government casting doubt on Russian involvement and discovery of the poison on Navalny’s body.23 Many of the questions seem to follow the narrative that the poison, which was discovered during Navalny’s hospitalisation in Germany, could have been planted by anti-Russian stakeholders during the rescue flight.
Such conspiracy theories, spread by political agents on both the Left and Right, were naturally picked up by RT DE and other Russia-affiliated media. RT DE reported on the parliamentary inquiry, taking it as proof that the federal government knew little to nothing about the context of the alleged poisoning.24 It appeared that AfD and RT DE followed a joint mission in the Navalny case, as they stirred confusion and provided an alternative story for the public to believe in: that the poisoning was a hoax, and was designed to deteriorate Germany-Russian relations.
Another example of RT DE’s attempts to influence German foreign policy towards Russia is exemplified in the misinformation it spread about the crash of the MH17 flight and the annexation of Crimea in Ukraine. After the crash of the Malaysian Boeing plane over eastern Ukraine, Russian public sources and state media agencies distributed a variety of different – and often contradictory – theories on possible causes for the plane crash in which 298 people lost their lives. RT Deutsch (as it was called back then) was heavily involved in spreading false information what really happened in order to deflect attention from the real cause: the shooting down of the MH17 flight by the Russian Buk surface-to-air missile system. During a parliamentary enquiry, a faction of Die Linke repeated similar theories, and also made accusations challenging the credibility of the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (comprising officials from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine).
The same enquiry also took aim at efforts that insinuated Russia was involved in the missile launch. Russian-led theories were supported and promoted; for instance, it was questioned whether other (non-Russian) agents had access to a Buk rocket (the missile that shot the plane down),25 or if the wreckage bore marks that actually contradicted the use of an anti-aircraft missile?26 It was insinuated that a Ukrainian fighter aircraft might have shot down the plane.27 Furthermore, the Russian news agencies RIA Novosti and “Sputnik News” were cited as reliable sources in these questions.28 As a result of defending Russia and its role in the MH17 crash, Die Linke has been heavily criticised within the German political spectrum. Their mingling with RT DE and other Russia-affiliated media was especially visible during the Russian annexation of Crimea. Gregor Gysi, who also vouched for Putin during the poisoning of Navalny, compared the takeover of Crimea with the declaration of independence by Kosovo.29 This misleading comparison was a well-known propaganda tool used, aiming to justify the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula by Russia – it was widely disseminated by RT DE and other Russian state media at the time.
Of course, this apparent cooperation between German politicians and RT DE can rarely be proven, and foreign media outlets are only one of many communication tools used by the Kremlin to spread its propaganda. Nonetheless, RT DE is the most influential outlet of Russia’s state media in Germany, and it tailors its figures to be received by its German audience. It is remarkable how Russia utilises RT DE to gain public support, and how it skilfully uses societal doubts and discord to further its case – all under the mantle of “reporting the truth”.
Mistrust in the System
Published by the Atlantic Council, the article “Russia is the world’s leading exporter of instability” gives us further insight into Russian media warfare.30 Whether it is about cyber-attacks, the weaponization of energy supplies, or the backing of mercenaries in international conflicts, disinformation is one of the most important destabilisation tactics Russia has against the West. This is particularly the case in Germany, where Russian media has continuously eroded trust in the German federal government, its public institutions, or the existence of multinational/multilateral organisations. Russia’s foreign media outlets are always looking for ways to sway public opinion, using a persuasive narrative about “the rotten West” and its portrayal as an unstable and unjust system.31
An example of this can be seen in the biased reporting on the 2019 EU elections in 2019, which Spahn has analysed extensively.32 She identified three prominent narratives in RT DE’s reporting on the EU parliamentary elections: 1) the EU has no future and will soon fall apart; 2) its elections do not make any positive difference for Europeans; and 3) the European community and its shared values are a hoax propagated by EU elites. But while these statements are malicious and anti-European, RT DE has taken care to make them sound like legitimate news. By giving voice to EU critics such as the “economist” Markus Krall,33 RT DE can subtly push its Europhobic agenda. With his controversial ideas for the German economy and society, Krall has often been quoted by RT DE. In his bestseller, Die Bürgerliche Revolution (“The Civil Revolution”), Krall pitches for restrictions and even abolition of universal suffrage to enable a “counter-revolution” and change Germany’s political system.34
The Russian campaign of disinformation with regards to the European elections was summarised by EUvsDisinfo in the following: “Russia is playing a long game in Europe: its objective is not merely to influence the outcome of any particular election, but rather to broadly subvert the efficacy of our democratic institutions, fuel widespread social fragmentation and mistrust, and ultimately paralyse our ability to act in our own self-interest and to defend our values”.35 By featuring interviews with anti-EU candidates, and concentrating attention on Europhobic narratives, Russia’s aim seems to be to erode trust in European democracy. However, the undermining of Western institutions can be self-inflicted. In Germany, this was quite visible during the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in very overt public outrage: anti-restriction movements even led protesters to try and storm the German parliament building (which only added to the movement’s popularity). Such situations give Russia prime opportunity to exploit internal divisions and challenges within Western government.36
The Querdenken movement protested against the safety measures laid down by the German government in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was supported by a variety of different groups, from both the right and left of the political spectrum as well as spiritualists and Reichsbürger-hardliners (who deny the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany). This caught the attention of the (inter)national media, and especially RT DE. In their reporting, the Russian network often gave this movement a credible voice within the German media landscape. For instance, in the RT DE article “Vaccinate until the doctor comes”,37 the author insinuates that COVID-19 vaccinations are extremely dangerous. One of the sources the author cites is a biochemist named Christian Steidl, who wrote on this topic on the conspiracy blog 1bis19.38 The latter is an online magazine for crude “theories” or “opinions” on developments in Germany, and is anything but a reliable source of information. However, RT DE quoted the blog as if it were indeed legitimate. Without a thorough fact-check, the average reader is unlikely to discover the source’s lack of validity. Another RT DE article entitled “Expert group questions alleged “overcrowding of intensive care beds” – all fake news?”39 claimed that intensive care capacities in German hospitals had never been fully utilised; it further suggested that such medical facilities were admitting patients who did not require such assistance but were doing so in order to make some financial profit. The German TV station ZDF fact-checked this allegation, and found that the claims were false. The facts had been twisted to paint a picture of a morally corrupt government against the background of the global COVID-19 response.40
These are but two examples of RT DE’s reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent response. The publication gives conspiracy theorists a major platform backed by a prominent name and a professionally organised structure. Because of the professionally designed website (and with the large editorial office and important-looking faces behind it), it is very easy to trust such resources. This is the case even when the content of conspiracy blogs such as 1bis19 and the website of RT DE often appear congruent.
RT DE annotates many of its articles with a disclaimer: “RT DE strives to present a broad spectrum of opinions. Guest contributions and opinion articles do not have to reflect the views of the editorial team”. This is not only done with opinion pieces, but also with articles that are not flagged and that appear to be “normal” journalistic contributions. However, RT DE seems to have a quite narrow understanding about the wide spectrum of opinions that exist. One struggles to find any news that follow (in RT DE’s words) the “mainstream” agenda, despite the promise of a broad spectrum of opinions.
A crude division of labour: societal division
In 2015, RT DE asked its readers who they voted for in the last federal election. The results provided information about their audience: it is primarily made up of three groups: non-voters (23.01%), supporters of Die Linke (26.77%), and those supporting the AfD (20.09%).41 Viewers/readers of RT DE did not reflect any factions from the centre of the German political spectrum. It is accepted, of course, that this survey is not a concrete representation, nor is it suggested that these numbers still represent the viewership today. But it is still quite interesting that RT DE has the ability to polarise within the political spectrum. When looking at interview partners that are featured on RT DE programmes, the same trends appear: these appear mostly from the political margins, such as the populists of the AfD (right-wing) and Die Linke (left-wing). Other prominent guests are “experts”, commentators, and contributors to the New Right and Third Position movements, as well as anti-Western and anti-capitalist leftists. The Querdenken protests were given extensive live coverage (as outlined earlier). Also, the outlet reports in detail about more Leftist social movements such as demonstrations for affordable rent, problems regarding the current housing shortage, and the pitfalls of real estate speculation.
Within the Russia-affiliated media structure in Germany, there are important players besides RT DE, as the contribution by Silvia Stöber has shown. When looking at societal polarisation, one of the interesting actors promoted by Russia is Maffick media. Maffick is a social media agency founded in Berlin, where it still has its main headquarters.
While the company only mentions a Los Angeles address headquarters on its website and social media profiles, it does maintain an office in Berlin and has multiple employees in the city, as the author of this piece has independently verified.
In its own words, Maffick media connects “ethical brands with ethical people”42 and controls multiple successful online channels. One of them is “Wasted-Ed”, the company’s English-language “eco-sustainability channel”,43 which focuses on the international climate crisis, environmental issues, and the importance of an eco-friendly lifestyle. On Instagram and Facebook, the channel reaches audiences of 450,000 and 760,000 respectively, across the globe. On Tik-Tok, the “Wasted-Ed” account has upwards of 1.4 million followers.44 The Maffick account therefore reaches a vast number of people, many of them young, and informs them about adapting a “greener” lifestyle, as well as providing DIY tips and vegan recipes. The channel could be described as “Fridays-for-future-ish”, with an occasional anti-capitalist twist.
At the other ideological end exists the Russia-backed media outlet RT, and the German subsidiary RT DE. Their reporting on the current global climate crisis stands almost diametrically opposite to that of “Wasted-Ed”. Climate change, and legislation combating global warming are topics that are often criticised or questioned on RT. One example is the 2021 article “Climate change is booming, again”, written by Rüdiger Rauls and published in the summer on RT DE’s website.45 In this article, Rauls refers to climate change as “propaganda”, calls greenhouse emissions a “theory”, and rejects measures to reduce the same. Rauls, who also frequently contributes to the website run by the German conspiracy theorist Ken Jebsen (“Apolut”),46 strenuously denied climate change in this article. His contribution has joined the ranks of other similar articles that reflect an “interesting” relationship to truth, science, or universally accepted facts, as they effectively deny climate change and the crises related to it.
Based on these examples, one can conclude that Russian-backed media outlets clearly follow multiple agendas. On the topic of climate change, there are publications pushing both a left-wing and progressive agenda (advocating for stricter environmental rules and sustainable lifestyles) and those that sow doubts about climate change (questioning it and dismissing the current global crisis as “propaganda” and “unimportant”). The question must be asked: what possible motives could lead to such extremely contrary reporting? It seems unlikely that Russia’s objective lies in influencing public opinion on, and raising awareness about, the climate crisis; this would contradict the very politics of the fossil fuel-driven Russian regime. Furthermore, the information promoted via Kremlin-run media differs greatly, depending on the channel.
A more likely explanation is a Kremlin-backed strategic push for societal division. In times of extreme polarisation within societies, using the power of media to widen the gap between political positions and opinions is both perfidious and clever. Through their aggressive strategy of division on the content level, Russia can cause unrest (as exemplified in the ideological clash between the pro and contra groups in the climate crisis). Russia also makes full use of the other two aforementioned strategies: mistrust in the government, and aversion to majority opinion. Both Maffick and Redfish (a similar agency) state their objectives lie in crossing the boundaries between journalism and activism.47 By doing so, the Kremlin reaches a new audience, one that is radical and angry. The rage felt by many at increasing environmental limitations and rules is stoked on one channel while another channel simultaneously downplays the necessity for those same measures – this is a tactic endangering social cohesion in Western democracies.
Through this strategy of polarisation, the Kremlin is aiming at pitting two camps against each other. On the one hand, it reaches out to a younger audience longing for political change (via TikTok, Instagram and other social media outlets). On the other hand, via RT DE, it appeals to a dissatisfied and sometimes apolitical audience. The consequences of this division cannot be clearly measured. However, there is some scientific research available that warns of the divisive ability of media; this is particularly the case for social media, especially for an uneducated/uninformed audience. It therefore reflects just how critical education in this field is and how this will continue to be the case.48
As in any war, a nation needs soldiers to go into battle. In the case of Russian disinformation, these soldiers call themselves “journalists”. And this hyperbole does not stem from the author of this piece, but rather from those personally involved. The Chief Editor of RT, Margarita Simonjan, has described RT as a “weapon” on multiple occasions, calling it the “ministry of defence” for the Kremlin.49 It seems that the “army” has gone on the offensive, and the information war on the West is ramping up.
Within the German media landscape, RT DE has established itself as a viable player. The COVID-19 pandemic, which stirred up conspiracy theorists from both the Left and Right, greatly expedited the reach of the Russian media outlet. By giving voice to those who marched on the street declaring resistance to the “Corona-dictatorship” in Germany, RT DE once again spread fake news and destabilised German public discourse on the pandemic. With reporting that displays nonsense as fact-based – as shown above in the examples regarding climate change – RT DE’s audience is led to believe the fake stories. And Russia’s often malign actions are legitimised when some politicians, either for their personal gain or to further a radical agenda, pick up on such false narratives. Whether Russia breaks international law, denies climate change, argues against the efficacy of vaccinations, or promotes societal division, RT DE is there to report on these developments. This dangerous strategy has found a receptive base in a disgruntled nation, and is difficult to combat. So far, social media enterprises (such as Facebook and Instagram) have started to label Russia-affiliated media as such. But a more profound and far-reaching change – like banning RT DE from YouTube – has great potential disadvantages for social media platforms. For instance, RT DE can present itself as a “victim” of “Western dominance”, as they did after the decision on their YouTube channel. Widespread bans can also exacerbate government mistrust, which RT DE propagates in their programmes. Both Estonia and the Czech Republic have programmes dedicated to finding and highlighting Russian disinformation.50 Estonia, for example, with its large ethnically Russian population, outs individuals and social media posts that promote disinformation – it essentially uses a “naming and shaming” strategy. Due to ongoing efforts to increase media literacy in such countries, the governments can rely on citizen mobilisation efforts to counter Russian disinformation.51 Experts have long criticised the lack of media education in German schools. German students count to the “media illiterates” in comparison to other countries.52 Countering the effects of disinformation and fake news would disable populist groups of their ability to manipulate, and with that, the Russian foreign media in Germany would have less power.
As Germany is the country most targeted by Russian disinformation, the development of a viable strategy to counter its effects is long overdue. Strategies like those introduced in this paper must be considered when discussing Russian aggression toward Germany, Europe, and the West. Manipulating the public through information has always worked. But the potential to misuse media has only grown over time. Awareness for these hybrid strategies can and must be raised, particularly in strong and sound democracies like Germany.
2. Thomas Boghardt, “Soviet Bloc Intelligence and Its AIDS Disinformation Campaign”, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 53, No. 4 (2009), pp. 1-24 (8).
3. Douglas Selvage, Christopher Nering, “Die AIDS-Verschwörung: Das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit und die AIDS-Desinformationskampagne des KGB”, Bundesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der DDR, Vol. 33 (2014), p. 8f.
4. Ibid., p. 78.
5. For more on the dangerous and even violent effects of fake news, see Elle Hunt, “What Is Fake News? How to Spot It and What You Can Do to Stop It”, The Guardian, 17 December (2016), https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/dec/18/what-is-fake-news-pizzagate.
6. “Verfassungsschutzbericht 2020”, Bundesministerium des Innern, für Bau und Heimat, 15 June (2021), https://www.verfassungsschutz.de/SharedDocs/publikationen/DE/2021/verfassungsschutzbericht-2020.html, p. 312.
7. “Vilifying Germany; Wooing Germany”, EUvsDisinfo, 9 March (2021), https://euvsdisinfo.eu/villifying-germany-wooing-germany/.
8. “Youtube sperrt und entfernt Kanäle von RT DE”, Frankfurter Allgemeine, 28 September (2021), https://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/medien/youtube-sperrt-und-entfernt-kanaele-von-rt-de-17560234.html.
9. Susanne Spahn, “Russische Medien in Deutschland”, Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit¸ October (2020), https://www.freiheit.org/de/information-als-waffe.
10. “Über Uns”, RT DE, https://web.archive.org/web/20210923091208/https://de.rt.com/uber-uns/.
11. According to the Wayback Machine (web.archive.org), changes to the self-description of RT were made between 23-26 September 2021. Whether this change was connected to the ban of RT’s channels on YouTube, which took place just days after, cannot be confirmed.
12. “Über Uns”, RT DE, October (2020), https://de.rt.com/uber-uns/.
13. “Povelitel’ kukol. Portret Alekseya Gromova, rukovoditelya rossiyskoy gosudarstvennoy propagandy”, proekt.media, 23 January (2019), https://www.proekt.media/portrait/alexey-gromov/. See the English summary here: “Master of Puppets: The Man Behind the Kremlin’s Control of the Russian Media”, proekt.media, 5 June (2019), https://www.proekt.media/en/portrait-en/alexey-gromov-eng/.
15. Spahn, “Russische Medien in Deutschland”, p. 9.
16. “SNA”, snanews.de, https://snanews.de/.
17. Maik Baumgärtner, Roman Höfner, Ann-Katrin Müller, “Interne Anweisungen bei RT Deutsch, So arbeitet Putins Propagandasender”, Der Spiegel, 26 February (2021), https://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/rt-deutsch-so-paktiert-putins-propagandasender-mit-linkspartei-und-afd-a-e4884aed-0002-0001-0000-000175912889.
18. For more see: “FSB Team of Chemical Weapon Experts Implicated in Alexey Navalny Novichok Poisoning”, Bellingcat, 14 December (2020), https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2020/12/14/fsb-team-of-chemical-weapon-experts-implicated-in-alexey-navalny-novichok-poisoning/.
19. Jürgen Cain Külbel, “Der Fall Nawalny und die FSB-Geisterjäger von Bellingcat und Co (Teil 1)”, RT DE, 19 December 2020, https://de.rt.com/meinung/110793-fall-nawalny-und-fsb-geisterjager/.
20. “Verfassungsschutzbericht 2020”, p. 312f.
21. Klaus Ernst, “Wem nutzt die Vergiftung Nawalnys?”, Twitter, 3 September (2020), https://twitter.com/ernst_klaus/status/1301512197596680192.
22. “Gregor Gysi verdächtigt Nord-Stream-2-Gegner – und nicht Putin”, Welt, 04 September (2020), https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article215033894/Nawalny-Gregor-Gysi-verdaechtigt-Nord-Stream-2-Gegner-nicht-Putin.html.
23. “Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die kleine Anfrage […] der Fraktion der AfD, Drucksache 19/26684”, Deutscher Bundestag, 15 February (2021), https://dserver.bundestag.de/btd/19/266/1926684.pdf.
24. “Blockieren, Verschweigen und Vertuschen: Bundesregierung antwortet auf AfD-Anfrage zu Nawalny”, RT DE, 15 February (2021), https://de.rt.com/europa/113197-causa-nawalny-informationspolitik-regierung-bestehe/.
25. “Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Kleine Anfrage der Abgeordneten Dr. Alexander S. Neu, Christine Buchholz, Sevim Dağdelen, weiterer Abgeordneter und der Fraktion DIE LINKE: Neue Erkenntnisse zum Absturz von Flug MH17, Drucksache 18/3818”, Deutscher Bundestag, 18. Wahlperiode, 13 March (2015), https://dserver.bundestag.de/btd/18/042/1804299.pdf.
26. Ibid., p. 6.
27. Ibid., p. 7.
28. Ibid., p.10.
29. “Erst Corona, dann Sinnkrise?”, Deutsche Atlantische Gesellschaft e.V., 31 May (2020), https://ata-dag.de/aktuelles/medien-tipp/erst-corona-dann-sinnkrise/8723/.
30. Iuliia Mendel, “Russia Is the World’s Leading Exporter of Instability”, Atlantic Council, 19 October (2021), https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/russia-is-the-worlds-leading-exporter-of-instability/.
32. Spahn, “Russische Medien in Deutschland”, p. 16.
33. “Brexit: Verlassen die Briten das sinkende EU-Mutterschiff? [DFP 25]”, RT DE, 29 March (2019), https://de.rt.com/programme/der-fehlende-part/86577-brexit-verlassen-briten-sinkende-eu/.
34. Markus Krall, Die Bürgerliche Revolution (Stuttgart: Langenmüller, 2020).
35. “EU Elections Update: The Long Game”, EUvsDisInfo, May (2019), https://euvsdisinfo.eu/eu-elections-update-the-long-game/?highlight=EU%20Election.
36. Paul Stronski, Richard Sokolsky, The Return of Global Russia (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2017), https://carnegieendowment.org/2017/12/14/return-of-global-russia-analytical-framework-pub-75003.
37. Susan Bonath, “Impfen, bis der Arzt kommt: Paul-Ehrlich-Institut meldet Hunderte Todesfälle”, RT DE, 9 May (2021), https://de.rt.com/meinung/117189-impfen-bis-der-arzt-kommt-paul-ehrlich-institut-meldet-hunderte-todesfaelle/.
38. Crhistian Steidl, “Häfuige Autoimmunerkrankung bei mit AstraZeneca Geimpften”, 1bis19: Magazin für demorkatische Kultur, 28 April (2021), https://1bis19.de/wissenschaft/toedliche-autoimmunerkrankung-bei-ca-10-der-mit-astrazeneca-geimpften/.
39. “Expertengruppe hinterfragt angebliche ‘Überlastung der Intensivbetten’ – Alles nur Fake News?”, RT DE, 17 May (2021), https://de.rt.com/inland/117595-ueberlastete-intensivstationen-doch-nur-fake-news/.
40. Nils Metzger, “Sind Daten zu Intensivbetten übertrieben?”, ZDF heute Faktencheck, 17 May (2021), https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/panorama/corona-schrappe-intensivbetten-divi-faktencheck-100.html.
41. Harald Neuber, “Linke, Nichtwähler und AfDler bei RT Deutsch”, Telepolis / heise online, 22 September (2015), https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Linke-Nichtwaehler-und-AfDler-bei-RT-Deutsch-3375581.html.
42. “About Us”, maffick, https://wearemaffick.com/#about.
44. “Get Wasted”, TikTok, https://www.tiktok.com/@getwasteed.
45. Rüdiger Rauls, “Klimawandel hat wieder Konjunktur – Teil 1”, RT DE, 10 August (2021), https://de.rt.com/meinung/122067-klimawandel-hat-wieder-konjunktur-teil-eins/.
46. A summary of the different publications of Rauls on apolut.net can be found here: https://apolut.net/?s=r%C3%BCdiger+rauls.
47. Jan-Henrik Wiebe, “Russlands heimliche Medienzentrale in Europa”, t-online, 16 November (2018), https://www.t-online.de/nachrichten/deutschland/id_84584050/mitten-in-berlin-russlands-heimliche-medienzentrale-in-europa.html.
48. For more compare: Lutz Hagen, Anne-Marie Au, Mareike Wieland, “Polarisierung im Social Web und der intervenierende Effekt von Bildung: eine Untersuchung zu den Folgen algorithmischer Medien am Beispiel der Zustimmung zu Merkels ‘Wir schaffen das!’”; kommunikation @ gesellschaft, Vol. 18 (2017), pp. 1-20.
49. Ulrike Gruska, “Der Kreml auf allen Kanälen”, Reporter ohne Grenzen, 7 October (2013), https://www.reporter-ohne-grenzen.de/fileadmin/images/Kampagnen/Sotschi/ROG-Russland-Bericht-2013_web.pdf, p. 35.
50. Joseph Robbins, “Countering Russian Disinformation”, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, 23 September (2020), https://www.csis.org/blogs/post-soviet-post/countering-russian-disinformation.
52. Manfred Götzke, “Warum Schüler in Deutschland auf Fake News hereinfallen”, Deutschlandfunk, 16 February (2020), https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/digitale-analphabeten-warum-schueler-in-deutschland-auf.724.de.html?dram:article_id=469899.