On December 7, the German newspaper Zeit reported a massive operation involving more than 3,000 soldiers, police and counterintelligence officers. Searches and arrests were carried out at 130 addresses in different German cities. 52 people are accused by the national authorities of involvement in a conspiracy to stage a violent coup. It is stated that those arrested belong to ultra-right terrorist organizations, including the Reichsburger movement, and are commitment to the ideas of QAnon. However, things are apparently a little more complicated. Izvestia studied the history of the issue.
Some 5 years ago, the term QAnon evoked a sarcastic smile from political scientists and journalists. However, even now the mainstream American and European media use this word to refer to an anthology of all known “conspiracy theories” on both sides of the Atlantic: from reptilian hunters to anti-vaxxers; the accusation of ultra-nationalism and the use of “hate speech” is necessarily added to them. Indeed, if you try to explain the ideology of QAnon, then it will hardly be possible to do so. The movement, which has neither a leader nor a structure, captured the minds of tens of millions of people around the world. It was born in October 2017 in just a few threads of one of the American imageboards, that is, from a dozen messages on the forum of an unidentified author.
At first, the QAnon narrative was more like an epic, in which United States President Donald Trump, along with his associates, fought against a world globalism represented by Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Bill Gates, many American and European politicians and show business stars (the same “deep state”). The WikiLeaks leak of 21,000 emails from former Chief of Staff Bill Clinton and Hillary’s campaign manager, John Podesta, is considered the starting point of the movement. As you know, the American intelligence services then blamed intelligence specialists of the Russian Federation for breaking into official mailboxes, and thus revealed to the world the infamous doctrine of “Russian interference”. The scandal, in turn, gave rise to the theory of the pedophile lobby among the American political elites, known as Pizzagate. Its next links were the “Jeffrey Epstein case” and, in part, the #MeToo movement.
For a while, the protest did not go beyond the internet and caused nothing but a smirk among the Washington elites, but as time went on, it became less and less funny. In less than a year, QAnon was able to win a huge following in the US and Europe, including congressmen and prominent figures in the Republican Party. A September 2020 Pew Research poll found that 41% of Republican voters thought QAnon was “somewhat” or “very good” for the country. Soon, Trump and MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) supporters announced their support. When asked about QAnon, Trump himself replied the with following: “I heard that these people love our country. I know they like me and I appreciate it.”
QAnon continued to transform, absorbing more and more different versions, theories and ideas, often quite radical ones. Many QAnon supporters consider the coronavirus pandemic artificially created, and someone is looking for the heir to the surviving John F. Kennedy. The virtual world finally mixed with the real one, and therefore it is not surprising that some of the theses of QAnon were picked up by representatives of radical ideologies on both sides of the Atlantic.
QAnon ACROSS THE OCEAN.
The promotion of QAnon in Europe has been linked to the figure of Stephen Bannon, Donald Trump’s campaign manager and later a senior political adviser in his administration. Bannon has repeatedly provided public support for right-wing conservative movements in Europe. Bannon is known for his meetings with representatives of Marine Le Pen’s “National Rally”, the “People’s Party” of Belgium, the Italian “League of the North” and “Alternative for Germany”, whose object was to create a continental political alliance called “The Movement” (The Movement).
However, in the case of the Alternative for Germany, not all of its members were in favor of creating such a coalition. The then co-chairman of the party, Alexander Gauland, called this project an “illusion”.
Today in Germany, as elsewhere, QAnon still lacks a specific political platform and remains an abstract, web-traveling idea that unites supporters of diverse protest groups, regardless of their political preferences. In other words, QAnon adherents can be found both among the voters of the Alternative for Germany and among those who voted for the Left.
BLAME THE AfD PARTY.
Meanwhile, the German special services launched a truly large-scale special operation. Failed revolutionaries were sought and found among former and current officers of the Bundeswehr, policemen and politicians. According to Zeit, the rebels planned to subsequently restore a new government in Germany, headed by a representative of an ancient aristocratic family, Heinrich Reiss (in accordance with the family naming tradition – Henry XIII). Separately, it is emphasized that the former deputy of the Alternative for Germany, and now a judge, Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, was intended to be the Minister of Justice.
There is no reason to unite the German right with the Reichsburgers and QAnon supporters, into one political movement, and what is happening is more like an attempt to distract the public from real problems in the country, Vladislav Belov, head of the Center for German Studies at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with Izvestia.
“Both of them are informal and undefined groups of people whose political views can be radically different. “Reichburgers” is an ideology that does not recognize the legitimacy of the Federal Republic of Germany and promotes disobedience to the state apparatus. QAnon has absorbed all possible “conspiracy theorists”. To say that they are somehow connected with the real Alternative for Germany political party is incorrect and illegal. It is likely that on the eve of the anniversary (December 8 – Ed.) of the incumbent government taking the oath with these arrests, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution is trying to demonstrate that it is still relevant and that its taxpayer funding is well spent, the expert said.
By the way, Heinrich I of Russia is considered to be the ancestor of the Reuss house… And the German press writes absolutely seriously, that the government investigation is checking for any Russian connections among the conspirators.