The material was created as part of the project “Major Disinformation of the Month. Analysis and refutation”
Pro-Russian forces in Europe are deliberately spreading fake news aimed at shaping the negative attitude of the local population towards Ukrainians.
Among European countries, Germany has received the largest number of Ukrainian refugees. Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, more than 1,150,000 people have been killed. of Ukrainian refugees were granted temporary asylum in Germany. Here, Ukrainian refugees are entitled to social assistance, as well as rental housing, language courses, and even paid retraining. At the same time, Putin’s regime considers Germany to be particularly important for spreading Kremlin propaganda, and its main focus is now on discrediting Ukrainians.
Pro-Kremlin political forces in the country regularly spread waves of hatred against Ukrainian refugees. For example, a scandal recently erupted in Germany over a photo of a free inspection service for a Ukrainian car. One of the German companies, Tüv Süd, decided to support Ukrainians in this way, although other companies provide this service for money. In other words, it is a private initiative of a private company that is characterized by compassion. And Tüv Süd pays for this private initiative from its own account, not from taxpayers’ pockets.
However, helping people who lost their homes because of the war angered members of the pro-Russian Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, who began to spread the manipulative thesis that Germans should pay for car inspections, while Ukrainian refugees should not. The massive dissemination of such false conclusions caused a wave of indignation against asylum seekers from Ukraine on social media. Thomas Hartung, a spokesman for the AfD parliamentary faction in Baden-Württemberg, was the first to share a screenshot of the Ukrainian car’s inspection. “No payment for car maintenance. So I’ll register my car in Ukraine,” Hartung wrote cynically on social media.
And then the topic of how Ukrainian refugees in Germany are supposedly living better than Germans (!) was continued by fake accounts filled with Russian propaganda content. The photo went viral and received almost three thousand shares and hundreds of aggressive comments.
Supporters of the pro-Russian AfD party, which regularly broadcasts pro-Russian propaganda, unleashed a wave of hate and manipulation by spreading hateful comments in the style of: “Ukrainians have more and more special rights. They can drive in Germany with their Ukrainian driver’s license, and now the TÜV inspection is free. Will Ukrainians soon be allowed to fill their tanks for free?”
The scandal seems to be an obvious provocation out of the blue, because according to this logic, AfD supporters can come to a shelter that feeds refugees for free and shout that “foreigners get free food, but Germans in Germany have to pay for it.”
This is not the first wave of hate against Ukrainian motorists. Last year, a fake screenshot of an Ebay Kleinanzeigen ad was shared on Facebook’s German segment, allegedly showing a Ukrainian license plate with a signature: “You can and have the right to park anywhere for free. You can drive at any speed you want. You will not be fined”.
A license plate with Crimean registration was “sold” for 150 euros, although in reality no one can simply put a plate on a car and drive around the country. But for the propagandists, the main thing was not plausibility, but the spread of hatred against Ukrainians. And even when Ebay Kleinanzeigen stated that the screenshot was fake and that such a message had never been published on their website, it did not stop the radicals from stirring up anti-Ukrainian sentiment.
The anti-Ukrainian attacks and systematic discrediting campaigns of pro-Russian political forces in Europe seem to be a latent part of the Kremlin’s propaganda strategy, which aims to imitate “popular discontent” with Ukrainians, which is supposedly a local initiative. Although the absurdity of such initiatives directly points to the Russian origin of such information and psychological operations by Moscow in the EU.
Ukrainian migrants abroad should remember that there is only one country in Europe where there is no Ukrainophobia and no one can humiliate Ukrainians with impunity. This is Ukraine.
Author: Valeriy Maydanyuk