Russia's Recruitment Tactics Intensify

Written by Kathrine Frich

Jun.18 - 2024 6:47 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
Moscow has turned to financial incentives and blackmail to recruit spies.

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Financial Incentives and Blackmail

After the expulsion of numerous Russian diplomats from the European Union, Moscow has turned to financial incentives and blackmail to recruit spies.

According to Ziare The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) reports that Russian intelligence is spending significant sums to recruit agents in Germany.

This comes despite Western efforts to limit their operations following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Propaganda and Extremist Channels

With Kremlin propaganda channels banned, Russia has shifted its influence operations to local extremist parties.

The rise in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the authoritarian left BSW party, both of which echo Kremlin propaganda, has prompted concern.

These parties oppose providing arms to Ukraine and spread Russian narratives about the war.

Despite media bans and the expulsion of 600 Russian diplomats from Europe, Russia continues to find new ways to influence German affairs, moving efforts to platforms like Telegram, which are harder to monitor.

Conspiracy Theories and Right-Wing Extremism

Right-wing extremist groups in Germany remain receptive to Russian influence operations. Among these are adherents of the Reichsbuerger conspiracy theory, some of whom are on trial for plotting a coup against Germany's democratic order with alleged Russian support.

New conspiracy theories in these circles include baseless claims that the war in Ukraine aims to create a depopulated area for relocating Israel's population, falsely implicating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The BfV highlights the ongoing danger of such misinformation campaigns and their potential to destabilize German society.