The documentary series “betrifft” by the German public broadcaster SWR looks at how Russia Germans – ethnic Germans who lived in the former Soviet Union and moved to Germany in the 1980-90s – perceive the invasion of Ukraine. ISD Senior Analyst Julia Smirnova spoke to SWR about the role of Russian-language propaganda.
“Parts of the Russian-speaking population who had already informed themselves from Russian state media before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (…) are now at risk,” she explains.
Julia shared several examples of videos with false information about Ukrainian refugees being spread in Russian-language Telegram channels in Germany. “These videos are circulated with the aim of inciting hatred against Ukrainian refugees, claiming that they are aggressive, that they hate everything Russian, and that they cause damage to their host countries.”
False claims of alleged attacks by Ukrainian refugees on Russians abroad are also spread by Russian state and pro-Kremlin-owned media, targeting both audiences in Russia and Russians abroad, Julia said. “One of the goals of these campaigns is to scare Russian people. It is claimed that Russians are being attacked on the streets just because they speak Russian.”