Putin Verstehen: The Pro-Russian Presence on German Facebook


Vitalii Rybak, analyst and journalist at UkraineWorld and Internews Ukraine, analysed the Pro-Russian Presence on German Facebook.

A wide network of German-language public groups and pages on Facebook shares Kremlin narratives about NATO, the U.S., and Ukraine.

When UkraineWorld studied the activity of the popular Ukrainian news website strana.ua, it discovered that some of its manipulative articles were shared in German-language public Facebook groups Russlandversteher (The Russia Understander) and Gegen Defender 21 (Against Defender 21). UkraineWorld decided to study the activities of these groups further and tried to find similar communities on Facebook.

“The Voice of Donbas”

If one takes a look at the content shared in the Russlandversteher and Gegen Defender 21, there are quite a few similarities:

  1. Articles from Russian state-owned outlet RT are shared quite often.
  2. NATO countries are portrayed as aggressors, while Russia is portrayed as merely defending itself from the West. In particular, posts in both groups blame the U.S. for pushing NATO expansion eastward and causing a war between Ukraine and Russia.

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