AfD’s Harald Weyel: A Pro-Russian Politician Under Scrutiny

Harald Weyel is a German politician. He designates Alternative for Germany. Harald Weyel has acted as a member of the Bundestag from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia since 2017. He is a pro-Russian Politician. He voted against an explanation in the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe which resolved that forced detention and deportation of children from Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine is “genocide”.

He is one of the Politicians of Germany’s far-right AfD who benefitting from a pro-Russian propaganda campaign. On 5 May 2023, a Facebook page posted a total of six paid ads to boost a video with Harald Weyel, who poses in the Bundestag for AfD and is the party’s deputy treasurer. The video was broadcast by Deutschland Kurier, a publication with close links to the far-right party. In it, Weyel argues that Russian-Orthodox churches are being “attacked” in western Ukraine. Kyiv has blamed the orthodox church in Ukraine for strengthening ties to Russia.

The promoted subject doesn’t appear coincidental. Several of the pro-Russian Facebook ads belonging to the drive also broached the edgy relationship between Kyiv and the church, as Le Monde reported. “What cruelty! Do we want to accept people into the European Union who burn churches and kill priests?” read one ad, for instance. Some weeks before the ads went viral, a video circulated online with the false claim that it offered “radicals” in Ukraine scorching down a church. As it turned out, the footage was taken in Russia and is a decade old.

AfD politician Weyel states that he had not been mindful of the campaign. He says he does not understand and cannot influence “who picks up or even ‘advertises’ my serials arising in direct or indirect reference with my Bundestag and Council of Europe mandates.”

In June 2022, Weyel, together with other party associates, established the “Union for the defence against the discrimination and the exclusion of Russian-Germans as well as Russian-speaking fellow citizens in Germany” (Vadar). The association’s material was also encouraged by the propaganda campaign.

Vadar interprets Germany with an “anti-Russian sentiment” and likes to offer legal help to “Russian-Germans and Russian-speaking fellow residents” who allegedly have been distinguished against or marginalized as a result of Russia’s war of aggression. The association conveys a bank account with an academy that is majority-owned by Russians, according to a report by the regional newspaper Sächsische Zeitung. Public broadcaster ARD stated last year that German security services are examining Vadar’s links to Russia.

One of the organisation’s first actions was to engage in support of Alina Lipp. Lipp is a pro-Russian influencer and is under probe in Germany for allegedly supporting Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine on several events. Moreover, At the start of June, Facebook ads, which we were capable of attributing to the pro-Russian network, promoted links to Telegram posts by Vadar. One post argued that a German bank was contrasting against Russian clients.

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