Tinder spy threat: German tourists warned about honey-traps in Russia

The German foreign ministry has cautioned travelers visiting Russia to be vigilant of Tinder honeytraps set up to spy for Russian authorities.

“Be careful on Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, and other apps; there may be bad motives hidden behind new contacts,” it warned after damaging spy revelations by Russians, the media outlets reported.

German foreign ministry warned travelers visiting Russia

“Russia is not the best destination at the moment for a first date with your online flirt,” the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

In Germany’s largest spy scandal in decades, Russian intelligence taped classified exchanges regarding the German Taurus cruise missiles and British troops “on the ground” in Ukraine to fight Russian invasion and posted them to social media.

“Russia has not just been spying heavily on Germany for years. Germany is the epicenter of a Russian influence campaign. “Russia attempts to illegitimately influence politics, the economy, and society on a number of levels,” wrote Konstantin von Notz, chairman of the German parliamentary control board, which monitors the country’s intelligence agencies, in mid-March.

Russian influence network involving “Voice of Europe” and MEPs

Prominent leaders of the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party allegedly received tens of thousands of euros from the pro-Russian news website Voice of Europe last week.

  • Czechia has designated the website as a Russian influence operation with the goal of destabilizing Europe through far-right propaganda.
  • Alexander De Croo, the Belgian prime minister, stated that Russia contacted them and paid them cash via Voice of Europe.
  • Police raids have also been conducted in other European nations in relation to the website, with Poland raiding homes and seizing about €90,000 (£76,900) in cash.
  • The funds are alleged to have come from Ukrainian pro-Russian oligarch Vladimir Putin’s ally, Viktor Medvedchuk, who lives in Russia after a PoWs exchange.

Maximilian Krah and Petr Bystron: pro-Russian voices in Germany

Maximilian Krah and Petr Bystron are the two German MPs accused of receiving direct payments in this case. They are at the top of the AfD’s list of contenders for the upcoming European Parliament elections in June 2024. This practically assures them employment in Brussels, according to the German tabloid Bild.

The German Interior Minister responded by accusing the AfD of being “part of the Russian propaganda apparatus.”.

Maximilian Krah, is a far-right politician. For 10 years Krah was a Christian Democrat. He switched to the AfD party soon after Russia invaded and annexed Crimea. He seized the opportunity to be on Russia Today.

Today he is a loud pro-Russian voice. The far-right AfD party is deeply connected to the Kremlin. AfD members have been offered all-expenses-paid trips to Russia.

Krah follows the Kremlin’s agenda, stating that “the war in Ukraine was started by the US”, and “Russia was only defending itself.” Maximilian Krah got elected to the European Parliament in 2019. In the European Parliament, his voting pattern is pro-Putin.

Revelations about the Kremlin’s honeytrap spies

The revelations that the Kremlin’s honeytrap spies operate not only in Russia but also in the West was shared by a glamorous KGB spy Aliia Rosa in 2022, when Russian launched an all-out war against Ukraine, and disinformation campaigns in the Western nations.

Russian agents are dispersed throughout the US, and the entire West, according to Aliia Roza, a former member of the Russian intelligence services. A former honeytrap in the US, she now teaches Beverly Hills students top-secret Soviet seduction tactics.

According to Aliia, “agents can occasionally reside in other nations, such as America or England, and they’re just like a basic average family.”

Russian intelligence services are thought to use honey traps, target decision-makers in the current context of increased tensions between Russia and the West, and obtain kompromat on significant European politicians.

Expulsion of Russian diplomats, suspected in spying, from Germany

In April 2023, Germany carried out a mass expulsion of Russian diplomats. In response, 34 German diplomats had to leave Moscow.

According to media reports, German security authorities concluded that Russian representatives used their diplomatic immunity to recruit informants for the purpose of sabotage or spreading disinformation.

According to reports, the Kremlin supported both far-left and far-right protests against the German government in addition to attempting to forge a new alliance between Germany’s far-left Die Linke party and far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

Moscow’s efforts to undermine Germany’s support for Ukraine

The Washington Post reviewed documents that were seized by a European intelligence agency. It has come to light that the Kremlin is attempting to bring the political opponents of the German left and hard-right together to form an “anti-war” coalition.

Moscow wanted to undermine Germany’s support for Ukraine. Die Linke and the AfD have both historically had pro-Russian positions. According to reports, the Kremlin has sent several radical politicians on all-expenses-paid excursions to Russia.

Russian spy in Germany’s Federal Intelligence Agency

In another recent scandal, a suspected Russian spy was disclosed in the Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) in Germany. Spiegel and Tagesshau, the German newspapers, learned that this suspected Russian spy was assigned to get sensitive data about the Ukrainian army and help Russia in the war.

In particular, the Russian secret service FSB attempted to get data on the location of Ukrainian army artillery and air defense locations via a BND employee who was disclosed and arrested later. The employee earned a six-figure sum as a reward for his services, and the money was discovered on him when he was detained.

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