Germany’s upcoming election sits at the centre of a global propaganda battle

Russia’s rulers are trying hard to influence decisions in Germany, writes Patrick Maynard in Berlin, but they’re not the only ones using dishonest tactics on the global stage

Friday 16 July 2021 17:45
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<p>German Green candidate Annalena Baerbock </p>

German Green candidate Annalena Baerbock

In early May, Annalena Baerbock was a rising political star in the EU’s most powerful member state. As the new leading figure of the German Green party, she was the main candidate for a political organisation that had gone from being a fringe player to having a shot at the federal government’s leadership.

“Could Green Party leader Annalena Baerbock become Germany’s next Angela Merkel?” Deutsche Welle, the German state-owned broadcaster, cooed. “Annalena Baerbock: Woman who could be Germany’s next chancellor,” the BBC proclaimed. With the federal election coming up in September, it seemed the position was Ms Baerbock’s to lose.

Then the hashtags started.

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