EU REPORT: RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION DRIVE TARGETS GERMANY
Germany is the focus of Russian disinformation efforts much more than any other country in the European Union (EU), according to an EU report that the German foreign minister described as "not surprising," Michel Winde and Michel Fischer reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
"No other EU Member State is attacked more fiercely through disinformation than Germany," according to the report published by the EU diplomatic service in Brussels on Tuesday, March 9.
It notes "systematic" campaigns both at the political level and through media close to the Kremlin. At the same time, German politicians are accused of avoiding dialogue with Russia. Since late 2015, more than 700 cases have been collected on Germany in the EU’s EUvsDisinfo database.
France was targeted more than 300 times, Italy around 170 times and Spain more than 40 times.
The EU's European External Action Service analyses publicly available media reports and statements on the EUvsDisinfo website.
"The Kremlin is creating a mental image of a Germany, where a few sane voices are heard among a chorus of irrational "Russophobia,'" the report says. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas suggested on Tuesday that a "positive agenda" would be the way to counter disinformation from Russia.
Describing the findings of the EU report as "not surprising," he said that developing ties between the civil society in Germany and Russia - for example through the current "Germany year" in Russia - would also help make sure false information about Germany fell on deaf ears.
The EU report cited several campaigns by the Russian media are cited as evidence of a concerted disinformation effort. One of those is the story of a Russian family in Berlin whose three children were taken into custody by the authorities because their well-being had been endangered. Russian media have been running with this story since early last month.