German twin of the pro-Russia “Voice of Europe”

WeltNetz.TV is a self-proclaimed “independent platform for video journalists” and a so-called “alternative media.” It claims to give viewers and readers a different perspective than the mainstream media in Germany, but this perspective is too similar to the Kremlin’s views.

Diether Dehm, one of the founders of this pro-Russian information platform, has been caught disseminating Kremlin-style falsehoods, particularly about Russia’s war against Ukraine. Dehm is thought to have worked for the Stasi under the communist administration.

Dem labeled the Russian troops’ killing in Bucha a “fake” and opposed the delivery of Western weapons to Ukraine, while WeltNetz.TV employees sent open letters to the German government demanding a prohibition on arms supplies to Ukraine. They are also known for promoting the Russian coronavirus vaccine.

Articles published by WeltNetz primarily support Russian narratives and criticize the measures and policies of the United States, the EU, and the EU nations.

WeltNetz and its biased pro-Russian propaganda

In general, the news website regularly publishes articles and promotes pro-Russian propaganda and culture, condemning Western policy on the Russia-Ukraine war. The key narratives include Ukrainophobic articles, the use of Putin’s vocabulary, such as “special military operation” (Russia’s war against Ukraine), Novorossiya (Moscow’s expansionist label for Ukrainian territories it aims to annex), and the demonization of the West. 

The authors on the WelntNetz platform vilify, stigmatize, demonize, and blame the West for all of the problems. They support left-wing radical, pro-Russian, and Eurosceptic sentiments and demand a cessation of support for Ukraine. Their articles intimidate Europeans with a direct conflict with Russia, give Russia positive coverage, and justify its war aggressions.

Among the most recent pieces is one about Russia’s presidential elections, which portrays Putin as a true leader and hero, a fighter rather than a dictator. An article that Putin would love. We quote it:

“In 2014, the regime in Kiev starts a war against Donbass… The West is arming Ukraine and pushing the Ukrainian dictator to launch a new campaign against the Donbass. The Russian army intervenes in 2022.”

This article mirrors a common narrative in Russian state propaganda media and pro-Russian commentators, specifically focusing on “NATO’s expansion and color revolutions” and portraying internal opposition within Russia.

The narrative asserts that the foreign policies of NATO and Western countries are aggressive and aimed at destabilizing Russia. This “reporting” often aims to justify internal power consolidation and rally support for Vladimir Putin by framing him as a defender of Russian sovereignty.

An online news outlet recently also disseminated a series of reports highlighting protests in Europe and criticisms regarding Western foreign policies, particularly those of the US and Israel. These reports focused on events and opinions that underscore the opposition within parts of the European community to military engagements and the perceived complicity of Western nations in conflicts affecting Gaza. Each piece of coverage offered a different perspective on the broader discourse of fictitious anti-war sentiment while at the same time justifying Russia’s war and Western involvement in global conflicts.

A pro-Russian online news outlet also criticizes prominent independent German media. For example, it recently responded to the coverage of demonstrations by leading German newspapers such as BILD. This report aims to illustrate pro-Russian media segments’ critical reactions when mainstream outlets express skepticism or criticism towards activities they perceive to align with Russian interests.

“Kremlin propagandists stir up Corona riot,” the BILD headline screams into the area and means peaceful citizens who, in order to defend the Basic Law, defy the curfew and walk across Berlin’s Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz.

The BILD newspaper does not tolerate so much democracy and stamps the initiators of the democracy walk, the “Communication Office Democratic Resistance,” and the journalist Uli Gellermann as agents of Moscow who are supposed to spread anarchy.”

It also actively recruits “experts” to produce reports or podcasts that are openly pro-Russian and promote the Kremlin agenda. Additionally, one of their video podcasts is named The Red Square. 

The Red Square with Wolfgang Gehrcke” is a podcast featured on, notable for its staunchly left-radical and pro-Russian stance. The title, referencing Moscow’s Red Square, not so subtly hints at the program’s ideological alignment with Russian political themes, which often diverge sharply from Western democratic principles.

The podcast stands out for its radical left viewpoints, positioning itself as a champion of the marginalized yet often delving into overtly pro-Russian narratives. It positions itself against mainstream Western media and political norms, often promoting controversial and alternative perspectives that align more closely with Russian-style “democracy.” This approach raises concerns about the program’s objectivity and its potential to spread divisive, polarizing ideologies under the guise of fostering open debate.

Hosted by Wolfgang Gehrcke, the show claims to democratize political discourse, yet it seems more focused on undermining trust in Western democratic institutions and extolling an overly idealized view of governance that resonates with Kremlin rhetoric. 

“The Red Square” consistently presents itself as a radical alternative, challenging established norms and promoting a specific political agenda that may undermine genuine democratic debate and promote a distorted view of political reality.

Here’s an example of a video on these topics:

In the German media landscape, the word “Russian understander” has become a swear word. Just like in the times of the Cold War, the threat is propagated from the East, and the world is divided into “evil Russia” and “good West.”.

Gabriele Krone-Schmalz (former Moscow correspondent and presenter of the ARD) has been advocating for good relations with our neighbor Russia for years. 

Diether Dehm, pro-Russian media founder and author

Diether Dehm is one of the “most interesting” founders of Weltnetz TV. He is a songwriter, music producer, and far-left politician in Germany. He used the alias Lerrin, a combination of his nicknames Larry and Lenin, as a singer in the 1960s. Diether Dehm joined the German Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1966, when Social Democrat Willy Brandt rose from Western Berlin mayor to German Foreign Minister.

The Stasi recruited Diether Dehm as an informant in 1970. According to a KGB report, the organization’s political views primarily motivated him to cooperate. As an unofficial Stasi staffer, Dehm provided a lot of information about the moods of the left groups at Frankfurt University, the artistic circles of Western Germany, and their activities.

It is to be recalled that the Stasi was considered one of the most repressive and powerful special services of the Cold War era. The Stasi gained such fame thanks to its highly developed network of informers—unofficial employees.

Open sources say Dehm stopped working with the Stasi, but do spies ever resign? Was there a successful attempt to eliminate the past and become a politician?

He won elections to the Frankfurt Municipal Council in 1993 and the Bundestag the following year. Dehm was forced to leave the SPD due to the disseminated information about his cooperation with Stasi. In 1996, the District Court of Frankfurt found it legal to call Dehm a Stasi informant.

Dehm was elected to the Bundestag several more times under PDS flags, but after his defeat in 2003, he joined “The Left” party. He won another election to the Bundestag in 2005.

Since 2010, he has been the head of the Federal Working Group of Left Entrepreneurs, representing the interests of entrepreneurs. This platform published a video in 2014 that spoke gently and lovingly about Russia, which then annexed Crimea. They told me that everything was unclear and that 60% of the population in Crimea has Russian roots. Their argument’s logic was reminiscent of Hitler, who annexed Austria and parts of Czechia before attacking Poland.

In 2021, Dehm was given the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine to protect him from the coronavirus. He received his first dose in May in Moscow, during a celebration of the 76th anniversary of the USSR victory over Nazi Germany, and the second two months later in San Marino. 

This became known after Dehm appealed to the district health department of Fulda to issue a certificate of vaccination from Covid but received a refusal based on the decision of the Hessen Administrative Court (VGH) in Kassel, according to which people vaccinated with Sputnik-V are not entitled to a German vaccination certificate.

The fact that he was on a business trip at the state’s expense during the vaccination adds peculiarity to this conflictual event.

Journalists and experts who publish on the Welnetz platform usually call the Russian-Ukrainian War the “War in Ukraine,” “forgetting” the fact that it was Russia that started it with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In a strange coincidence, most of the Weltnetz.TV posts promote the cessation of the war without a withdrawal of Russian invading troops from occupied territories and with the halt of weapons supplies to Ukraine.

Dehm called his party leadership a “careerist apparatus of BND-trimmed egomaniacs.” On the North-Atlantic military alliance, he said: “The biggest criminal organization after the SS was NATO. And NATO is still that way today.” And in an appearance on the Russian propaganda channel RT in German at the beginning of February, he still celebrated Vladimir Putin as a unique personality whom no Western statesman could hold a candle to.

As ZDF reported, Dehm’s expulsion proceedings were organized. ZDF quoted from a motion stating that the former Left Party member of the Bundestag had called for “supporting and organizing a competing election bid against the Left Party in the 2024 European elections.”

At the end of August, during an appearance, Dehm hinted that a new left alliance should run in the European elections. Dehm himself announced on Twitter that he knew nothing about an application to leave the party.

Germany’s network of pro-Russian news sites

Insight News conducted a study in February and March that identified a network of news websites in Europe that propagate pro-Russian narratives, interconnected by quotations, hyperlinks, and user traffic. Among them are 60 dozen local German sites that either spread disinformation from the Kremlin’s state media or publish materials with narratives that fit Moscow’s agenda.

The identified network of websites disseminates negative materials against the political establishment in Germany and favorable materials about right-wing radical and Eurosceptic parties in the context of the European Parliament election campaign.

The websites on the list have different levels of bias, from constant criticism of the West, choosing only negative information about Ukraine and positive coverage of Russia, to spreading well-known Russian fakes and harsh Kremlin propaganda quoting Putin’s state media.

Pro-Russian websites network in Europe that serves Russia’s information warfare

WeltNetz connects with other pro-Russian media.

In this network, the most notable authors linked to WeltNetz are Thomas Röper and the Apolut media.

Thomas Röper is known for his involvement with “Anti-Spiegel” and “Apolut.” Röper, having lived in Russia for over 20 years, frequently critiques Western media and propagates narratives that often echo Kremlin narratives and falsehoods.

He disseminates Russian propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine, as well as fabricated news about the Bucha massacre. He also shares fake information about US biolabs in Ukraine, as well as the possibility of Poland annexing western Ukraine.

Apolut is a German online journal that presents itself as independent but publishes articles that support Russian narratives. The author’s list includes pro-Russian journalist and AntiSpiegel editor Thomas Röper, RT author Hermann Ploppa, and Russian-linked publicist Wolfgang Bittner. It promotes Moscow’s narratives about Ukraine and blames the US and the West for the war there. Justifies Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

This connection underlines the importance of understanding how such platforms may impact public opinion, especially in the context of Russian interference in the European elections.

As Germany faces increasing challenges related to misinformation and foreign (Kremlin) influence, platforms like that utilize contributors with strong bias and spread Russian narratives pose high risks. It poses a threat to the national security of Germany and to democratic processes in light of the elections to the European Parliament.

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