German intelligence agencies are certain Russia will try to influence 2017 electoral contest – but have countermeasures prepared

Germany: Merkel losing voter support in home state election from Al Jazeera English

In the wake of allegations that the Kremlin attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential Election, German intelligence agencies have expressed certainty that similar attempts will be used by Moscow to influence the 2017 German contest which will see current Chancellor, and vocal Putin critic and opponent, running for re-election. Russia has a pattern of backing nationalist, right-wing parties in electoral contests throughout Europe, with the euro-skeptic far-right Alternative for Germany presenting a challenge to “establishment politics” in a way that Moscow particularly enjoys. Chancellor Merkel has spoken extensively on the deployment of so-called “fake news” across the internet: “Today, self-regenerating opinions can reinforce themselves through certain algorithms. We must learn to deal with this.” Head of Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency Hans-Georg Maassen has warned that Russian intelligence will likely employ a disinformation campaign in order to “introduce insecurity to German society, weaken and destabilize the federal republic.” Germans are not strangers to Russian “disinformation campaigns,” as The Guardian cites the 2015 rape of a Russian teenage immigrant girl to Germany in which Middle Eastern refugees were falsely blamed.

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