German media is reporting that Germany’s top intelligence chief has said Russia is deliberately spreading disinformation about gas shortages and rising energy prices in Germany to “divide German society.” According to a report by Handelsblatt:
August 17, 2022 In light of the mounting crises, the president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, has warned of their impact on internal security in Germany. His agency is observing “that a radicalized minority of right-wing extremists, delegitimizers, Reich citizens and conspiracy believers are positioning themselves to occupy issues such as the war in Ukraine, rising prices, inflation and the corona pandemic and misuse them for mobilization,” Haldenwang said Wednesday in Cologne. “To make matters worse, Russia is using tools such as cyberattacks and disinformation as hybrid levers to divide society in Germany.” In particular, Russia is targeting issues related to Europe’s energy supply, he said. According to the Cologne-based federal office, Russian actors are trying to stir up fears of a possible existence-threatening energy or food shortage in Germany with the “targeted dissemination of false information” about gas shortages and price increases, for example. [Translated with DeepL]
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US media recently reported that German baseload year-ahead power prices, the European benchmark, are up almost 500% from a year ago and that the country’s top regulator already warned that Germany must dramatically pull back its gas usage to avoid a shortage this winter. A recent think tank report alleged that “decades of naivety, incompetence, and greed” led German policymakers to progressively deepen the country’s dependence on Russian natural gas, which accounted for 55 percent of its gas imports in early 2022.
The Global Influence Operations Report has extensively reported on Russia’s influence operations in Germany, noting that the Kremlin’s influence strategy is characterized by the systematic exploitation of existing social and political cleavages and attempts to undermine public confidence in democratic institutions in Germany.