German online newspaper Telepolis and its pro-Russian stance

Telepolis is an online magazine from Germany, established in early 1996 by journalists Armin Medosch and Florian Rötzer. 

It has consistently provided a platform for voices sympathetic to the Kremlin’s perspective, often opposing Western political stances, such as Ulrich Heyden, a Putinist residing in Russia.

The German Society for Protection of Oppressed Peoples has labeled it as a journal that serves the Kremlin’s interests under the guise of leftist ideology. 

This critique stems from the publication’s consistent opposition to Western policies and its sympathetic portrayal of Russia’s actions abroad.

Florian Rötzer is known for his criticism of the West

Florian Rötzer is a journalist who regularly expresses skepticism towards the West and has a history of questioning the accountability of Ukraine in various geopolitical crises, including the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, shot down by pro-Russian rebels with a Russian missile.

This approach is exemplified in Rötzer’s own writings, where he has expressed surprise that accusations regarding the MH17 tragedy have not been directed at Ukraine and has suggested that Western nations were too quick to blame Russia. 

In one of his controversial pieces, Rötzer critiqued the Dutch and Australian governments for their swift condemnation of Russia following the Joint Investigation Team’s report on MH17. 

He argued that tactical reasons prevented these countries from allowing Ukraine to join the accusations, suggesting that Ukraine’s direct involvement in the conflict made its participation in the JIT problematic. 

Rötzer also speculated that Amsterdam and Canberra did not expect the investigation to progress and hoped for a partial admission of guilt from Moscow, which would lead to compensation for the victims’ families.

Moreover, Rötzer highlighted his belief that the European Court of Human Rights is deliberately delaying the case concerning compensations for the MH17 victims’ families due to the sensitivity of the matter for Western nations. 

He pointed out that Dutch MPs demanded the publication of documents that could potentially implicate Ukraine, indicating a suspicion that Ukraine had underestimated the risks to civilian aircraft. He also noted the lack of crucial data in the court proceedings, such as Ukrainian radar data and information from NATO’s AWACS system, and mentioned that the court did not allow the defense to listen to a half-hour recording from the cockpit voice recorder of the downed plane.

Voice of Europe and Telepolis self-justification

The German online magazine Telepolis recently found itself embroiled in controversy after being highlighted in an InsightNews Media article titled “A list of news websites that reposted pro-Russian Voice of Europe’s pieces.” and called it fake news.

  • Url:
  • Article heading: “Fake news alert! How Telepolis was targeted by pro-Ukrainian propaganda”
  • Quotes from the article: “There is no mention of Voice of Europe at all, not even in the links… The “voice of Europe,” whose contents we had previously addressed following the scandal in the Czech Republic, is nowhere to be found. The Heise Group’s product management found exactly a link in one of our texts that we deleted; it was irrelevant in terms of content anyway. Our forum management also took care of the matter. Links to Voice of Europe had not been allowed for a long time.”

The InsightNews article scrutinized various platforms for disseminating content that aligned with Russian perspectives, particularly focusing on the influence of the pro-Russian media platform Voice of Europe. If Telepolis was included in the list, it means two factors were matched: it quoted or reposted the pro-Russian platform Voice of Europe and Russian state propaganda, and it published narratives that support the Kremlin’s views.

Telepolis was specifically mentioned due to its article “How many Western mercenaries and special forces are fighting in Ukraine?” authored by Ted Snider. This piece originally included references to Voice of Europe content, a detail that was subsequently removed—an action confirmed through web archive records. The archived version revealed that the article once cited a leak claiming the presence of 97 NATO special forces in Ukraine in 2023, a link pointing directly back to Voice of Europe.

In a time when the distinctions between journalism, propaganda, and misinformation are becoming increasingly hazy, this situation also highlights the wider implications for media credibility.

The Voice of Europe scandal

Described as a pro-Russian platform, Voice of Europe faced criticism ahead of the European Parliament elections due to its Russian affiliations.

Given that the Czech government sanctioned the platform amid allegations of spreading pro-Russian misinformation, this engagement has raised concerns about its role in spreading Russian-influenced narratives within Europe.

The use and subsequent deletion of the reference to Voice of Europe in the Telepolis article raises questions about editorial policy and sourcing integrity, particularly in light of the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine, where information warfare is critical. Nevertheless, we thank the Telepolis editorial team for noticing our analysis, removing the link, and adjusting their policy towards the sources (at least in this case).

Telepolis is known for its “alternative” dissemination of pro-Russian narratives

Despite its claims of independent journalism, Telepolis has been using its platform to legitimize pro-Russian views in Germany while minimizing or dismissing the legitimacy of Ukrainian and broader Western narratives. 

Among examples, we provide the following citations and links:

“Russia is afraid of an attack on a NATO country, as I mentioned before. Of course, Russia would not be afraid to attack soldiers of other nations in Ukraine.” (

“Zelensky and his generals are in disagreement over the implementation of the counter-offensive and his demand to defend Bakhmut and Avdiivka at all costs, which the military leadership sees as a strategic mistake that has already cost Ukraine many soldiers and equipment.” (

“In his speech, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the collective West of wanting to divide the world and destroy his country. The war in Ukraine has rekindled an old discussion, and the “West” is already preparing mentally for the time after a Russian defeat. The debate is also characterized by thoughts of eliminating Russia as a geopolitical factor and competitor of the USA.” (

“”How the USA cracked Europe with the Ukraine war and China’s rise” Europe suffers and joins in. Germany is the biggest loser in the US collision with Russia and China. Western Europe, especially Germany, is the big loser. Expensive energy from the USA has replaced cheap Russian energy. This has undermined the competitiveness of the German manufacturing industry and contributed to even higher European inflation… Europe has also lost Russia’s huge market, which sold industrial goods. In addition, it has lost the wasteful expenses of the Russian elite…  Above all, however, the assertion of a Russian threat to Europe is not valid… This weakness, in fact, demonstrates the legitimacy of the Russian need for a demilitarized Ukraine as a protective buffer. Russia is in demographic decline and does not have the resources to restore hegemony in Central Europe. The battlefield has exposed his weakness, as only modest weapons aid from NATO could keep Russia in check.” (

“But the article was falsified, says the reporter, and perhaps aligned with the NATO line… My narrative was not consistent with the narrative of NATO, and maybe that was a problem. The narrative of NATO tries to make us believe that there has never been a conflict between Ukrainian citizens around the Maidan in Ukraine, but that everything is only Russia’s invention. Based on my observations on the ground since 2014, I believe that Russia invaded and bombed in a criminal manner, just as true as the claim that the Maidan was a nationalist coup. Meanwhile, on the other side of the trenches, there were fighters and families from Ukraine who were determined to resist Kiev. I know it’s extremely unpopular to say that today, but I’m a journalist and not a PR man.” (

“Zelensky wants to take tougher action against citizens who evade military service against Russia. High losses in combat must be compensated. What Ukraine is doing against unwilling people.” (

“In addition, there is the possibility that a Ukrainian army, which is exhausted and bled out by years of failed offensives, will eventually fall victim to a Russian counterattack, which would lead to far greater territorial losses than Ukraine has suffered so far” (

“When I asked him to explain whether he wanted to indicate that Russia is fighting more humanely in Ukraine than the USA in Iraq, Chomsky replied, “I do not suggest it; it is obvious.”” (

The now-outbreak Ukraine war is above all a long-prepared proxy war between the USA and Russia for geopolitical interests, with the Ukrainians on the battlefield. Because the USA and the West have been pursuing the declared goal of including Ukraine in NATO since the NATO Summit in 2008 at the latest.” (

The assertions cited above might make readers shift the blame for the war started by Putin’s regime on the West and Ukrainians. It would fit the Russian agenda in Europe.

In conclusion, Telepolis stands out in the German media landscape not just for its left-wing stance but also for its pro-Russian orientation. There are numerous instances in which Telepolis refers to and quotes clearly pro-Russian news outlets, and it gets quotations from Russian state media too.

The publication’s editorial choices continue to reflect a contentious intersection of left-wing ideology and pro-Russian narratives, complicating its credibility as an independent source.

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