Markus Frohnmaier and Allegations of Kremlin Influence

Markus-Cornel Frohnmaier is a Romanian-born German politician. He belongs to Alternative for Germany. He was selected Member of the Bundestag in the 2017 German federal election. Frohnmaier had discussions with the youth organization of United Russia “The Young Guards” up from 2016. Markus Frohnmaier is married to a Russian journalist and has frequently traveled to Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Mr. Frohnmaier has frequently spoken out against EU sanctions on Russia and made travels to Crimea, the Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia in 2014, as well as parts of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

The ZDF, Spiegel, and other media had conveyed that the Kremlin had specifically advocated Frohnmaier to promote Russian interests in the Bundestag. In a strategy paper of the Presidential Administration of Putin, which is to come from the time before the general election in 2017, it is stated that Frohnmaier “will be under absolute control”. Further on “our people could also set up a non-profit organization, which will be registered with the Bundestag and can be promoted through the pro-Russian positions.” Another document, apparently written on behalf of Frohnmaier’s campaign, openly requests for both “material support” and “media support” from the Kremlin.

Frohnmaier was also listed as a recipient of economic benefits in the OCCRP investigation of Russia’s International Agency for Current Policy.

Moreover, Some of Frohnmaier’s subsequent actions and connections make more sense, including the bizarre story of Manuel Ochsenreiter, a far-right commentator who operated in Frohnmaier’s office and was named in association with a firebombing aggression on a Hungarian cultural center in western Ukraine. The raid was allegedly designed to worsen Hungarian-Ukrainian relations, just as the two countries were discussing the language rights of the small Hungarian minority in the west of Ukraine. 

The story had been taken on by Viktor Orban, the authoritarian Hungarian leader who has profound Russian ties of his own, as a reason to make difficulties for Ukraine in various NATO and E.U. councils. Even though a lot about the attack remains vague, it looks very much like a classic Russian foreign policy scheme, dating back to Soviet times and beyond create a fake happening, deepen an ethnic conflict, then sit back and watch as it plays in Russia’s favor.

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