NEWSWATCH: “The Kremlin creeps into Germany; The far-right AfD was buoyed by social-media campaigns of the kind Russia has used elsewhere” – Washington Post Editorial

Map of Germany

“The German party Alternative for Germany, or AfD, is anti-immigration, anti-Europe-bailout and very anti-Angela Merkel, the chancellor who was just reelected to a fourth term. Founded only four years ago in protest of European bailouts for Greece and riding the backlash to refugees flooding Germany, the AfD reaped 12.6 percent of the vote … and won a place for the first time in the Bundestag. … buoyed by social-media campaigns of the kind Russia has used elsewhere – faceless bots that multiply messages over and over. Once again, the Kremlin’s quest to disrupt democracy, divide the West and erode the rules-based liberal international order may have found a toehold. * * * … Merkel’s main rival, Martin Schulz of the faltering Social Democrats, called the AfD ‘the gravediggers of democracy.’ Maybe that is going too far, but it seems prudent to raise the alarm now that gravediggers are coming for democracy, before they begin to sink their shovels into the earth.”

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