Representatives of the AfD in Donbass, or the Kremlin’s “useful idiots” – DW – 9/20/2022

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

The Russian media has not failed to enjoy this news, especially under the headlines: “German deputies plan to visit Russia and Donbass”, “German deputies will visit Russia and Donbass.” Some publications frankly added that they were talking about representatives of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, explaining in depth that these were not deputies from the Bundestag, but from the state level. And on the Tsargrad TV channel they even came up with the following headline: “Germany sends a delegation to Russia and the Donbass: German delegates want to see everything in person.” But what is it?

The journey is a surprise for the leadership of the party

Indeed, five representatives of the right-wing populist party AfD went to Russia, including three deputies from the state parliaments: Christian Blex (Christian Blex) from North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as Daniel Wald (Daniel Wald) and deputy chairman of the state organization AfD Hans-Thomas Tilschneider (Hans-Thomas Tillschneider) from Saxony-Anhalt.

The board of the AfD, elected at the party congress in June 2022 Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa/photo alliance

No one sent this “delegation”, as Tsargrad reports, to Russia and the Donbass. Moreover, even the leadership of the party was not aware of the journey of party members. This was a big surprise to the AfD government.

During a meeting on the evening of September 19, it was decided to oblige travelers to “explain” all details about the organization and the course of their trip. And henceforth – “prearrange all communications related to any form of travel with the federal government.” The resolution was passed with ten votes in favour, one abstention and one against.

And the deputy chairman of the AfD, Peter Boehringer, found it necessary to complain about the extremely scant information he had about the trip, adding that it was not carried out on behalf of the party leadership. And according to his information, there are no deputies from the Bundestag of the AfD in the group.

On the way to the “Potemkin village”

The participants of the trip themselves explain their motives by distrust in the way the respectable German media report about the war in Ukraine, by the desire to form their own picture of the state of affairs and the humanitarian situation. situation in Donbass.

At the same time, they are not at all ashamed that travel from Russia to Moscow-controlled areas, including Crimea annexed by the Russian Federation, is considered a violation of the state border under Ukrainian law, and that violators are included in the list of persons who attack Ukraine. not allowed to enter.

Such a destroyed Ukrainian village is unlikely to be shown to German guestsPhoto: Pavlo Gonchar/ZUMA Wire/image images

Analysts of the American research center Robert Lansing Institute, in turn, point out that in wartime travel to the occupied territories of Donbass without the participation of the Russian army and special services in their preparation and execution is hardly possible.

Most likely, German populists will be used as “useful idiots”: they will be sent by plane to Rostov-on-Don, then they will be taken to Donbass occupied by the Russian Federation, they will present the distribution of humanitarian aid to local residents and “proof” of the boundless gratitude to the “denazifiers” of the inhabitants of the villages conquered by the Russian army. And then they’re all about it tell their compatriots in Germany.

“International Observers” in Unrecognized Elections

The Kremlin has long welcomed the German right-wing populists and receives them at the highest level. In December 2020, the AfD delegation received the award audience with Foreign Minister Lavrov. That delegation was led by Tino Chrupalla, who later became the leader of the party.

Representatives of the AfD were generally frequent guests in Russia. For example, they went to the 2018 presidential election and then gave interviews to the Russian media and assured the public that there was no violation whatsoever.

Ulrich AimeaPhoto: picture-alliance/Flashpic/J. krick

And the Bundestag deputy of the AfD, Ulrich Oehme, even acted as an “international observer” in those Crimea elections, praising their organization, even though the European Union and the OSCE refused to send their observers to the annexed peninsula. vote and not recognize the results. it is remarkable that costs for Ulrich Eme’s four-day stay in Crimea took over the State Duma Commission for International Affairs.

In 2018, he visited the annexed Crimea together with his colleagues in the faction in the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia and Christian Bleks. Moments later, the Bundestag deputies of the AfD traveled to the annexed peninsula for an economic forum. Their colleague from the Berlin Senate, Gunnar Lindemann, traveled twice to the self-proclaimed “DPR” four years ago, calling one of the separatist leaders a “true military hero”, acting as an “international observer” – a connoisseur of the “open and democratic” will of the local voters.

A private jet for right-wing populists

Ulrich Aime is clearly far from the only AfD representative paid by the host country.

Three representatives of the AfD returned from Moscow in such a plane Photo: Getty Images/AFP/F. coffee

Made a lot of noise in 2017 private jet history, who had been chartered and paid by the Duma to send home three representatives of the party who had been delayed in Moscow, which at the time did not even have its own deputies in the Bundestag. According to estimates by German media, that freight cost about 25,500 euros.

However, 25,000 dollars is nothing compared to the 300 million dollars that Russia has spent bribing politicians and political parties in several western countries.

Friends of Russia in Germany has fallen sharply

After the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the Kremlin’s friends in Germany have noticeably declined. If Russia sympathized until February 24, the lifting of Western sanctions and post-communists demanded from the Left Party, and right-wing populists of the AfDand after this date, overt Russian aggression, as contrary to international law, – albeit with varying degrees of harshness – was condemned by all parliamentary parties of the FRG.

Sara WagenknechtPhoto: picture-alliance/dpa/K. Nietfeld

Two events are noteworthy in this regard. A sharp crisis erupted in the Left Party a few days ago after an uncoordinated speech in the Bundestag in the past by party chairman and faction leader Sahra Wagenknecht, who accused the German government of unleashing economic war against Russia.

And in the “Alternative for Germany” they decided keep your own leader in check, questioning Tino Khrupalla’s suitability for the position. This came in response to his speech at an extraordinary meeting of the Bundestag after the start of the Russian aggression, when Khrupalla said that “it cannot be our aim today to search for just one culprit”, and urged “the Russian contribution to Germany and Europe.” Several hundred people left the AfD in protest.

Tino Khrupalla and Alice WeidelPhoto: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa/photo alliance

Later, the right-wing populist leader found it necessary to state unequivocally that “of course we condemn this war”, and that he himself “is not Putin’s puppet”. And now Khrupalla has also criticized his party members who decided to go to Russia and the Donbass it occupied. “We don’t approve of this trip. It was all under our radar,” he said on Tuesday, September 20. And AfD co-chair Alice Weidel added that it was a “private trip” that did not match the party’s stance.

Also see:

Life in Russian-occupied villages near Kharkov

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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