• Germany's news in English

Putin Euro influence strategy targets AfD

The Local · 24 Nov 2014, 10:14

Published: 24 Nov 2014 10:14 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Bild reported on Monday on a document titled “Putin: the new leader of international conservatism”, in which the Moscow-based Centre for Strategic Communications lays out how the Russian leader could influence key EU member states including Germany.

The paper's authors highlight one of the AfD's financing methods - trading gold - as a way for the Kremlin to buy influence into the party. The advisors suggested the Russian government could sell gold to the party at a loss or use the Germans as a middleman for gold trading at commission as a way of filling the party's coffers.

The AfD has sold gold worth €2.1 million since October, making low profits but aim to maximise the amount of public aid - calculated according to how many votes a party wins and its other income - it receives.

Putin's experts also suggest repeating the strategy of making loans to the party, which has proved successful in France.

There, the First Czech-Russian bank loaned the far-right National Front (FN) more than €9 million – and its leaders have showered Russia with praise in return.

"Russia feels isolated," Christian Wipperfürth of foreign policy think-tank DGAP told The Local. "A lot of things have changed in West Europe and Central Europe in the last 20 years and Putin and the Russian people don't understand it.

"Russia is going back to its instinctive conservatism, as in the century before World War One."

The Ukraine crisis is a particular sore spot as in the past, "Germany and Russia have found common ground. Germany is very reluctant to take military action.

"In this country we feel like the bombs will be falling on us, whereas the Americans feel like the ones sitting in the bomber."

Russia hasn't agreed with German reluctance to intervene in cases like Iraq or Libya out of pacifist principle, but out of a default position of opposition to Brussels and Washington and a shared dislike for meddling in the Middle East, he said.

But Russia's clear interest in Western Europe shouldn't be taken as confirmation that it would directly fund political parties in the West, Wipperfürth argued.

"I believe it's true that Russia wants closer connections in central and western Europe, but I don't think (Russia) needs to do this."

Story continues below…

While AfD was not present at a meeting of Russian representatives with European far-right parties in Vienna in March, the strategy paper proposes targeting the party's vice-president Alexander Gauland (73).

Gauland was an important voice in favour of a vote against EU sanctions on Russia at the AfD party conference in March 2014.

He was also a special guest of the Russian ambassador in Berlin in September as well as speaking at a pro-Russia conference on Saturday alongside Russian Railways president and Putin confidant Vladimir Yakunin.

AfD spokespeople could not be reached for comment on Monday.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd