Disinformation. A critical look at Russia's alleged influence on German farmers.

by Dr. Johanna Weber //

Time and again, voices are being raised in the media claiming that Russia is instrumentalizing the protests for its own purposes through disinformation [1]. Allegedly, it is becoming increasingly clear how Russia is trying to use the farmers' protests in Germany for its own purposes. Russia would have information campaigns aimed at influencing public opinion in Germany. Russia would also have exploited the financial situation of farmers and used disinformation to influence the farmers' protests in order to shape the narrative that financial aid and arms deliveries to Ukraine were at the expense of German farmers. At the same time, Russia falsely claimed that Ukraine was selling these weapons on the black market. Russian media would paint the picture of an economically depressed and politically unstable Germany in order to undermine the credibility of the German government and support for Ukraine and to strengthen the narrative of Russian superiority among the Russian population. Russia also wants to weaken solidarity with the EU and NATO and sow doubts about the legitimacy of democratic institutions [1]. In this context, the fact-checking website Mimikama.org called for transparent journalism [1].

Pro-Russian media had indeed raised the question of whether arms supplies to Ukraine could also end up elsewhere, but had to admit that this must currently be regarded as unproven [22]. Although Russian media such as Russia Today (RT) report on weaknesses in the German economy [2], German media do the same [3]. However, RT's report is in fact in line with the data from the Federal Statistical Office, so it cannot be described as propaganda [4]. Perhaps this is the reason why German politics currently seems untrustworthy anyway, regardless of any statements from the Russian side. Poll ratings for the popularity of the traffic light coalition and its members have fallen recently [5], as has trust in the media [8, 11, 12]. According to the Körber Foundation, trust in democracy is also currently falling [10]. Again, facts and not propaganda, if Russian media were really making such claims. We have found no corresponding sources other than that of Mimikama, which claims this [1]. In this respect, Mimikama does not have to complain about a lack of transparency in other sources - lack of sources and lack of information about its own funding, Mimikama should definitely be criticized on this point [9]. In another article, Mimikama linked the protests to the right-wing political spectrum, again without linking sources and by the same author [13, 14, 15]. The suspicion arises that this is mere opinion, but not neutral reporting or transparent journalism.

Incidentally, it is not only pro-Russian media and groups that oppose condemnation of the peasant protests [16], and one pro-Russian medium (Anti-Spiegel) does report on the protests, but quotes a whole range of German sources [17]. Again, it is the pro-Russian Anti-Spiegel that reports on Russian television broadcasts about the German protests. Two references are made to Ukraine: on the one hand, Russian television claims that Ukrainian grain is a competitor for German grain and that it is contaminated with pesticides; on the other hand, the Slovakian Prime Minister is quoted as saying that Ukraine has become dependent on Western financial aid. One reference is also made to weapons: European allies had ordered weapons for themselves, but not for Ukraine. Nowhere is there any mention of German farmers being cut back in order to procure weapons for Ukraine [18]. It may be that there are other pro-Russian sources that say otherwise, but we do not have them at present. In any case, according to the pro-Russian Anti-Spiegel, which we have analyzed, arms supplies to Ukraine are not the reason for the protests.

However, farmers also have other reasons for their dissatisfaction, and these are real, rationally justifiable fears. Farmers also formulate these in concrete terms [23]. As part of the increasing globalization of their industry, ever larger agricultural groups are entering the market and taking over smaller farms, including the associated land [19, 20, 21]. The abolition of the diesel tax relief is driving this trend further and is costing many farmers around the world their livelihoods, including in Germany. These are facts and not propaganda. There is no need for arms deliveries to Ukraine or Russian disinformation to make entrepreneurs and employees in the agricultural sector dissatisfied; politics at another level can do this without any outside help. 


[1] https://www.mimikama.org/moskau-spiel-mit-protesten-desinformation-waffe/

]2] https://meinungsfreiheit.rtde.site/kurzclips/video/192968-deutsche-wirtschaft-schrumpft-ampel-ist-problem/

[3] https://www.rnd.de/wirtschaft/deutsche-wirtschaft-schwach-industrie-in-sorge-mittelstand-besonders-betroffen-BDXD7PBYOZGNXHAJV6X63AQGYE.html

[4] https://www.destatis.de/DE/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/2024/01/PD24_019_811.html

[5] https://www.forschungsgruppe.de/Aktuelles/Politbarometer/

[6] https://www.merkur.de/politik/trend-umfrage-beliebtheit-ampel-klatsche-scholz-wagneknecht-soeder-legen-zu-gewinner-zr-92744044.html

[7] https://www.fr.de/politik/ard-deutschlandtrend-olaf-scholz-umfragewerte-kanzler-beliebtheit-zufrieden-ampel-koalition-zr-92759583.html

[8] https://sciencefiles.org/2023/05/05/keine-verschwoerungstheorie-kaum-jemand-traut-ard-und-zdf-noch-ueber-den-weg-die-friedrich-ebert-stiftung-hat-es-gezeigt/

[9] https://www.mimikama.org/

[10] https://koerber-stiftung.de/presse/mitteilungen/deutsche-verlieren-vertrauen-in-ihre-demokratie/

[11] https://www.infratest-dimap.de/umfragen-analysen/bundesweit/umfragen/aktuell/glaubwuerdigkeit-der-medien/

[12] https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/794879/umfrage/glaubwuerdigkeit-der-medien-in-west-und-ostdeutschland/

[13] https://www.mimikama.org/kaperung-bauernprotest-rechte-gruppen/

[14] https://www.mimikama.org/bauernprotest-deutschland-faktencheck/

[15] https://www.mimikama.org/extremisten-bei-bauernprotesten-faktencheck/

[16] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Oh5IPGTRrM

[17] https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/2024/guter-protest-boeser-protest-klimakleber-versus-bauernprotest/

[18] https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/2024/wie-in-russland-ueber-die-bauernproteste-berichtet-wird/

[19] https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/driving-dispossession

[20] https://clubderklarenworte.de/das-nahrungsmittelmonopol/

[21] https://clubderklarenworte.de/regierung-zahlt-53-mio-fuer-klimaneutrale-kochherde-im-senegal/

[22] https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/2023/benutzt-die-hamas-im-kampf-gegen-israel-westliche-waffen-die-an-die-ukraine-geliefert-wurden/

[23] https://www.agrarheute.com/politik/bauernprotest-breite-unterstuetzung-branche-615282

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