Troubles in Germany and Russia’s Influence

SARFAN fans! As we’ve talked about in previous posts, it’s important to understand our history so we can understand the actions happening now.

After World War II: Germany, Europe, and the rest of the World were beginning the process of moving away from Hitler’s ideology of fascism. While Germany split into two countries, we all hoped this ideology would never crop up again.

If you’re a fan of this site, then you know that’s obviously not the case.

Recently, German authorities have conducted extensive counter-terrorism operations and taken judicial action against extreme-right organizations and networks in 2020. The scale of action by the authorities illustrates both the sophistication and extent of extremist sentiment present among the radical right-wing milieu in Germany, which is currently more developed and dangerous than in other Western European states and around the world.


Members of the German Kommando SpezialkräfteMembers of the German Kommando Spezialkräfte

Members of the German Kommando Spezialkräfte

One example of this growing concern in Germany can be seen within the Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK, German Special Forces Command). This past summer, Germany’s Minister of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer ordered the partial dissolution of the KSK after growing criticism over right-wing extremists within its ranks. The KSK were also seen to be more headstrong and independent, ignoring the chain of command and operating on their own, as well as having a toxic leadership culture. Police had seized explosives and weapons from the home of a KSK soldier suspected of being a right-wing extremist, and the Minister had also revealed that there’s been a disappearance of 48,000 rounds of ammunition and 62kg of explosives from the KSK.

Luckily these incidents aren’t happening in a vacuum. The Minister has launched investigations into the missing ammunition and explosives, and has begun reorganizing the KSK, while dissolving one whole company deemed unfit to be replaced. “Anyone who turns out to be a right-wing extremist has no place in the Bundeswehr and must leave it,” she told German radio. We here at SARFAN appreciate when leadership takes a firm stance against the followers of these extremist ideologies and we hope to continue holding leadership accountable when groups like these start gaining traction.

Numerous hate crimes targeting German leaders, refugees and refugee centers, as well as arrests of far-right and neo-Nazi individuals, have been recorded between 2016 and 2020.

·         On 13 January 2016, prosecutors reported that they had charged three unnamed men and one woman with establishing a far-right militant group, known as the Old-school Society, in May 2015 in order to conduct attacks on ultra-conservative Islamists and refugees in Germany.

·         July 2016, 18-year-old Ali Sonboly conducted a small-arms attack, inspired by Anders Breivik, at a shopping center in the city of Munich, Bavaria, killing nine people and wounding 15 others in an attack intended to target “Turks and Arabs”.  

·         Late- 2017, Andreas Hollstein the mayor of Altena, North Rhine-Westphalia, was wounded after being stabbed at a kebab shop in the town. The 56-year-old assailant had criticized the mayor’s pro-refugee policies.

·         August 2018, in Frankfurt, Hesse, a lawyer of Turkish heritage, Seda Basay-Yildiz, who defended a family during a trial involving the neo-Nazi group Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund  (NSU), was sent a fax threatening the lives of her and her daughter by a group of neo-Nazi individuals who identified themselves as ‘NSU 2.0’. Five police officers in Hesse, who had shared racist messages, swastikas, and images of Adolf Hitler on a Whatsapp group, were suspended on suspicion of sending the message.

·         2019, eight people were wounded during a xenophobic vehicle-attack that targeted a crowd in a square in Bottrop, North Rhine-Westphalia, during a New Year’s celebrations. The assailant, 50-year old Andreas N., allegedly made racist comments following his arrest and was later admitted to a psychiatric hospital for suspected schizophrenia.

·         2019, at the Zittau residence of Romana Gehring, a member of the Die Linke leftist party, an IED was placed by unidentified militants and detonated. It was also reported that this attack was preceded by a bomb threat on the party’s headquarters in Berlin, which was evacuated following the threat. Luckily there were no casualties in the attack.

·         2020, Christof Gramm, the head of the Militärische Abschirmdienst (MAD, Military Counterintelligence Service), announced that 592 soldiers suspected of right-wing extremism in 2019 were being investigated, and that eight neo-Nazis had been discharged from the army for extremism.

 

These are just a small snippet of the attacks since 2016 conducted by neo-Nazis in Germany. SARFAN is always looking at these incidents and trying to see how Russia’s post WWII ideology might be impacting the situation. After all, we see a lot of these same groups openly supported by the Russian government. Where Germany is actively stepping in to try and solve these problems, Russia can be seen enabling these groups so that they can spread their hateful ideology and become a problem for neighboring countries. Russia sees fanning these flames as another means to destabilize Western Europe while they continue spreading their hateful ideologies throughout Eastern Europe and across the world as they continue invading other countries with their private groups of right-wing extremist mercenaries. Do you all think we’re off base? If you look at the history and study the results, we think we’re just scratching the surface. Again, we always appreciate submissions from you guys and please don’t hesitate to reach out. As always, stay informed, be safe, and if you have any ideas for articles in the future, please reach out!

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