After the Kremlin successfully hacked the US elections and put Donald Trump in the White House, Putin is now turning his sights on Germany and its upcoming 2017 elections. His task in Germany is made much easier since he has the support of a number of "helpers" - such as Sahra Wagenknecht , the leader of the opposition party Die Linke. In a remarkable interview this week on the Russian propaganda channel RT, Frau Wagenknecht attacked the German chancellor Angela Merkel, NATO, and, of course, her favorite target the United States. But she also claimed that German media outlets are controlled by the US:
SS: The EU Parliament adopted a resolution aimed at countering Russian propaganda. In this resolution it says that RT is trying to ‘divide Europe’. Will Russian media be muffled in Europe? And why is an alternative point of view considered as a threat?
SW: Well, this issue is worth discussing. Of course, media are under pressure. There’s evidence that the U.S. exert influence on European media. For instance, there are journalists – including German journalists – who have close ties with the U.S. But nobody has ever discussed this or criticised them. So I don’t think it’s appropriate to say that the Russian media have problems, since the American influence on the media has never raised any questions.
Naturally, various media co-operate with different parties. But democracy requires media pluralism; there shouldn’t be any dominant sides. I, personally, believe that the real problem is that Germany’s media is controlled by a small group of people and that private publishing houses belong to billionaires who put pressure on the media to meet their private interests. The real problem is that media pluralism is weakening, there are more and more newspapers controlled by small groups of people. Something should be done in this respect. I’m talking not only about Germany but about other European countries as well.
SS: Sahra, but I’m worried about the fate of our channel - RT. Why is an alternative point of view considered as a threat?
SW: Well, what can I say? This channel, naturally, has its own agenda like other pluralistic media. But I believe you can hardly say that your channel is trying to divide Europe. If I thought RT is able to divide Europe, I probably wouldn’t agree to be interviewed by your channel.
SS: But I still can’t believe this subject can be seriously discussed. You know, in that same resolution they condemn information warfare by Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. Can Russian media be as dangerous as terrorist groups?
SW: Well, I think, it’s absurd to say that. We shouldn’t talk about pseudo-threats – we need to combat Islamic terror groups because we suffered terror attacks in Europe. So that’s what we should concentrate on.
By attacking the Western media on Putin's RT, Sahra Wagenknecht spits on the graves of Anna Politkovskaya, Ilyas Shurpayev,Yury Shebalkin,Konstantin Borovko,Leonid Etkind and scores of other journalists - all of whom were murdered by Putin's thugs for daring to report on the widespread corruption in Russia. And, according to Freedom House, the situation for journalists has gotten much worse following the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine:
Physical assaults on journalists were reported in a range of Russian regions in 2014. Several reporters investigating the deaths of Russian soldiers in Ukraine were threatened and attacked. In August, Lev Shlosberg, a Pskov-based newspaper publisher and member of the opposition Yabloko party, suffered a serious assault that left him unconscious. Shlosberg said the attack was related to his paper’s investigation into the secret deployment of Russian troops from the Pskov region to eastern Ukraine.
I won't go into the dire position of journalists in Crimea following its "liberation" by Russian forces in 2014. Suffice it to say that all reporters critical of the situation in Crimea have been either beaten into silence or imprisoned.