Currently, foreigners who are used by propaganda have two key tasks:
- create the illusion of foreign support to Russia itself and military-political gambles of Putin’s regime;
- disseminate Russian narratives, propaganda, and disinformation to foreign audiences.
The prime example: Alina Lipp (Germany)
Russian war propaganda reaches hundreds of thousands in Germany. Who are the people who make Putin’s lies socially acceptable? Alina Lipp best-known for her pro-Russian Telegram channel “Neues aus Russland” (“News from Russia”) where she spreads propaganda and misinformation.
In her previous life she studied sustainable governance at the Leuphana University Lüneburg, focusing on environmental studies. Lipp was involved in German politics as a member of the Greens party, but at some point suggested that they were too “anti-Russian” for her.
Lipp’s mother is German and father is Russian. According to Alina, her father, Vladimir Lipp, told her the truth about the Russo-Ukrainian conflict around 2014, after the Revolution of Dignity and after Russia annexed Crimea.
After the annexation, she actually travelled to Crimea and launched the YouTube channel called “Glücklich auf der Krim” (“Happy in Crimea”).
The characters of her video compared life in Crimea before and after the Russian occupation (of course, in favor of the latter). For example, He claimed that the living conditions on the peninsula are “much better than in the countries of the EU.”
Such a sort of person as Lipp is a part of the group of “relatively attractive, young women who do pro-Kremlin propaganda” along with people like Mira Terada, Maria Butina, Liubov Sivaya and Anna Chapman. Their job is to show everything Russia does in a good light and constantly criticize the West and Ukraine. They have all now relocated to Russia or to areas that Russia occupies illegally.
In an Orwellian way, she calls herself a “peace journalist”. At some point she started reporting from occupied by Russia Donbas to create propaganda content.
In Jan, 2022, she was part of the big group claiming that Russia does not want war and is a peaceful country. On 16 Feb, 2022, she was visiting a conference called “Geopolitical war of the West against Russia: the Ukrainian case” in Russia.
At the end of Feb, 2022, she reasoned that the “special military operation” was necessary due to the “genocide” of Russian-speaking population in Donbas by the Ukrainian “Nazi regime”. Based on Lipp, Putin doesn’t kill civilians and actually “saves lives”.
As of today, her “Neues aus Russland” is one of the biggest pro-Russian Telegram channels (and definitely the biggest one in German) with over 185 000 subscribers. Most of its content is naturally just parroting of the most popular Kremlin narratives.
She’s spread (fake) horror stories of “Ukrainian organ trade” and refuted Russian bombing of kindergarten. She’s claimed that it was actually the Ukrainians who bombed the Mariupol theater with children and women inside.
She’s also downplayed the number of civilian casualties, spicing it up with an image from Russian music video where a “corpse” moves inside a body bag. This same video was shared during the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming that it was actually a hoax “plandemic”.
Lipp uses this method a lot: she often posts debunked or fake videos from various contexts, usually from Russia. Sometimes she deletes her posts after someone points out the truth, sometimes she doesn’t.
Now, there can be two explanations for her actions: she is either a) willingly spreading debunked disinformation, or b) gullible and naive. Who knows which one of these is worse?
In Nov, 2022, she was guest at the Forum of International Friends of Crimea held at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow. There she even gave an empowered speech in support to Russian troops that she claims are now “fighting against NATO”.
Her website is still very active, and her latest blog post and video on Donbas is from 6 Mar, 2023. In the first part she explained how Ukrainians “terrorize” Donbas and in this second edition she interviews pro-Putin actors about these “terrors”.
She’s even tried to do some funny, but as we all know that Germans and humor are usually not a very good mix (just kidding). In a video she published on her website she played the German minister for foreign affairs, Annalena Baerbock.
German government has stated they are investigating Lipp’s propaganda activities in Ukraine, and she may face up to three years in prison. The accusations were especially about the “genocide in Donbas” narrative, which have been proven to be a lie on many occasions.
All this information came from Lipp herself, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. In Germany, hate speech is still very much against the law and the authorities are simply following these laws, but it has become a very effective propaganda weapon against the West for all pro-Russian actors, including Alina herself. But even if she was sentenced to prison for 3 years (which REALLY doubt), that would still be 5 years less than what the Russian opposition leader Ilya Yashin got for discussing over the Bucha massacre.
Interestingly, most of her channels and her website don’t contain any ads (or perhaps they’ve been demonetized), so in theory it is unclear how Lipp makes a living. In reality we all know who pays for her bills.
If you are interested in the topic, you can find out more about Alina Lipp and other prominent propagandists and Foreign Voices of Russian Propaganda on our website by using the hashtag #RuAgents or basically search results.
By the way, a bit of optimism: one of the organizers of pro-Russian protests in Köln will be put on trial for russian propaganda
And Berlin’s Brotfabrik Theatre cancels pro-Russian film screening, of German-Russian “filmmaker” Alina Lipp.
Thanks to Pekka Kallioniemi for the great review