Inflation, gas shortages, the Ukraine war and possibly a new corona wave in autumn – in view of this explosive mix of topics, extremists are currently trying to connect with mainstream society and mobilize them for their agenda. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution comes to this conclusion. A radicalized minority of right-wing extremists, so-called delegitimizers, Reich citizens and conspiracy believers are currently positioning themselves to misuse the numerous crisis topics for their own purposes, warned the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, on Wednesday.
According to Haldenwang, the fact that Russia uses instruments such as cyber attacks and disinformation as “hybrid levers” to “divide society in Germany” makes things even more difficult. That is why the Office for the Protection of the Constitution closely monitors whether the agitation on the Internet is reflected in a mobilization for activities relevant to the protection of the Constitution in the real world. So far there have been no signs of nationwide anti-state protests or even violent mass riots, according to Haldenwang.
According to the assessment of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Russia uses questions about Europe’s energy supply in particular for disinformation campaigns. With the targeted dissemination of false information about gas shortages and price increases, “Russian actors are trying to stir up fears of a possible existence-threatening energy or food shortage in Germany,” said the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). Accordingly, Russian propaganda in the extremist milieu is likely to increase and fuel conspiracy narratives with the aim of “driving a wedge into our society”.
Fears of inflation are also served by the AfD, which is classified by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a suspected right-wing extremist. At the beginning of last month, for example, the AfD parliamentary group submitted a bold motion to the Bundestag in which, among other things, greater weighting of the particularly sharp increase in food prices was demanded when calculating inflation. The motion was rejected by the majority of the Bundestag deputies.
In the area of right-wing extremism, according to the assessment of the Cologne Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the economic effects of the Russian war of aggression are attributed to an alleged incompetence of the democratic parties, especially from the party spectrum, and price increases are presented as a result of globalization. The aim is to “exploit displeasure and growing problems in the everyday life of the population in order to undermine trust in the state, government and democracy in the long term”.
As an example, the constitutional protectors cite the right-wing extremist “Freie Sachsen”, which initially made a name for itself with protests against the Corona measures and are now increasingly focusing on social issues. The smallest party recently called for a demonstration against rising energy prices with a video that alluded to the kidnapping of Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens).
But there is also a threat of further radicalization in the left-wing extremist spectrum, for example in view of the efforts of the federal government to solve the energy bottleneck by importing liquid gas. According to the intelligence agency, the left-wing extremist scene is trying to radicalize the “legitimate democratic protest” of climate activists. That is why the authority has “in view of appropriate activities against the fossil infrastructure”.