“Wir sind die rote linie”: how Russia spreads fakes about German protests against providing arms to Ukraine


Russian mass media are now actively distributing materials with a video recording of the German protest in Nuremberg “against the provision of weapons and tanks to Ukraine”. Propagandists claim that German citizens demand that the government stop being America’s puppet and help Ukraine. They also want the war in Ukraine to end peacefully through negotiations.

We carefully researched this topic and found confirmation of the well-known thesis — the Russians are lying again.


How did the protest against vaccination against Covid-19 turn into a Russian absurdity?

On January 31, 2023, one of the most famous Russian mass media, “RIA News”, published an article in which it was told how the Germans protested against the supply of weapons to Ukraine. As proof of their words, they attached a video of a German rally, but did they really go out on the streets with such a goal?

Protests against the supply of arms were… only in the Russian mass media

Well, of course not. Journalists of this publication took a random video from the Internet, hoping that their reader does not know German and will not be able to translate what is written on people’s posters. Here are some examples:

  • “If a citizen becomes uncomfortable, he suddenly becomes an Extremist”;
  • “Our children are not guinea pigs”;
  • “This is a war against our own population — let’s fight back!”

In fact, the video shows a protest of people who are against vaccination and who did not like the actions of the German authorities to suppress the coronavirus. This protest took place in Nuremberg on January 17th, 2022, which we were able to find out just by doing a Google image search. Similar protests also took place in Berlin, Saxony, Liechtenstein and other territories. The number of protesters sometimes reached up to 4,000 people.

There were actually protests only a year ago against vaccination

Another Russian media outlet published a different version of the video, allegedly with comments from the protesters. They really say that they are against providing weapons and tanks to Ukraine and do not want to be puppets of the USA, which drags them into the Third World War. We have not been able to find out who these people are, but we suspect that fragments of their direct speech are embedded in this video.

Also, we checked who wrote the news about these protests. When we saw the results of the search, we were not at all surprised — we did not find any mention of these rallies in the media of other countries except Russia. For example, “Press TV” did not try to make a quality fake at all. On the main image of the news about the rallies of people who are against providing Ukraine with «Leopard» tanks, they put a photo of a peaceful action in support of the idea to help our country.


Why did Russia again try to deceive the whole world?

Because she wants to spread the idea that no one abroad supports an armed solution to the war in Ukraine. They really don’t want the allies to help Ukraine with armaments, because every day they understand that they have fewer chances to emerge victorious from this war. Help from other countries will speed up this process.

There were actually rallies in support of Ukraine

Therefore, they are trying to convince the world that the war should be ended by negotiations and come out of it by agreement (on Russian terms, of course). Moreover, they convince everyone that it is the Europeans who are pushing Ukraine to a peaceful solution with their own hands and are already tired of the war.


What is the real situation with the rallies in Germany?

We asked Bohdan Myronenko, an expert on Central Europe and the Balkans at the ADASTRA Analytical Center, about the pro-Russian protests in Germany. He replied that indeed such protests happen from time to time. In big cities, small groups of up to 300–400 people with posters come out a little more often. Such protests are rare in small towns.

Bohdan Myronenko, an expert on Central Europe and the Balkans at the ADASTRA Analytical Center. Source: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012321901170 

If we talk about something larger, in big cities the number of demonstrators can reach several thousand. Here it is worth understanding that these are not purely pro-Russian actions, but protests in which various currents are mixed.

Mostly, such rallies are poorly organized by the Russian diaspora, so all this is taken care of by Russian state institutions, which present it as ordinary peaceful protests. Also, currents whose opinions coincide with the Russians, such as extreme left, extreme right, anti-vaccinators, pro-Palestinian groups and others, can be involved in the organization.

“The vagueness of their demands makes it possible to find an extraordinary circle of supporters. The same people can go to joint rallies with the extreme left on one weekend, who say that the West supports the Ukrainians who are arranging genocide in the population of Donbas, and Israel doing the same with Palestinians. On the second weekend, they can come out with the extreme right, who want to leave the eurozone and introduce a Catholic state. And on the third weekend — with anti-vaccinators”, — Bogdan Myronenko.

Such people want attention and popularity, perhaps to get into the circle where more serious political forces play.

If we talk about the German political forces that support the pro-Russian protests, they can roughly be reduced to two parliamentary ones — the extreme right «Alternative für Deutschland» and the extreme left «Die Linke». On both sides, there is an opinion that Germany should spend less on supporting Ukraine and its refugees.

From the left side, slogans are often told that «we are for peace through negotiations«. It is implied that Ukraine should not win back territories, but put pressure on the authorities to come to an agreement.


Tetyana Stelmakh

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