Jürgen Helfricht, a chief reporter at the German daily Bild, has been dismissed from his position following the publication of a book he co-authored, which has been criticized for its pro-Kremlin stance.
Accordding to TVPworld, the book, titled "Learning to Love Russia," was released without the knowledge of Bild's editorial team and has been described by German media as a comprehensive tribute to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The book's publication has sparked controversy, particularly due to its foreword written by Putin himself and the involvement of former Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky as a co-author. Russian politicians have positioned the book as a counter to what they call "long-standing lies of Western propaganda."
Bild's editors have publicly stated their disapproval of the book, emphasizing that they would never endorse content that praises Putin. They expressed disappointment in Helfricht's lack of professionalism and his endorsement of a message that idealizes Russia, leading to his immediate suspension.
This incident is not isolated in German media. Another journalist, Hubert Seipel, had previously been involved in similar controversies for producing Kremlin-sympathetic reports and interviews, allegedly receiving significant compensation from the Russian government.
The book's creation was initiated by Hans-Joachim Frey, the artistic director of the Semper Opera Ball. Der Spiegel, a German weekly, criticized Frey for uncritically publishing Putin's statements and adhering strictly to the Kremlin's propaganda narrative.