When 13,000 demonstrators gathered at the Brandenburg Gate on Feb. 25 to call for an end to weapons supplies to Ukraine, the protest was led by Sahra Wagenknecht, a member of parliament for Germany’s far-left Die Linke party and a firebrand with national ambitions. Wagenknecht decried the prospect that German tanks, soon to be delivered to Ukraine, could once again be used to shoot at “Russian women and men.”
“We don’t want Germany to be drawn deeper into this war,” she said, as she called for the creation of a new peace movement and condemned the bloodshed in Ukraine, without mentioning Russia’s invasion.
Among the crowd in Berlin was Jürgen Elsässer, editor of a far-right-wing magazine, and dozens of members of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party who cheered Wagenknecht’s calls to cut off Ukraine. Elsässer’s Compact magazine had recently declared on its cover that Wagenknecht was: “The best chancellor — a candidate for the left and the right.”
The coming together of political opposites in Berlin under the banner of peace had been percolating for months, though the union remains ad hoc and unofficial. But marrying Germany’s extremes is an explicit Kremlin goal and was first proposed by senior officials in Moscow in early September, according to a trove of sensitive Russian documents largely dated from July to November that were obtained by a European intelligence service and reviewed by The Washington Post. [Continue reading…]