Friday, June 14, 2024

Germany hunts for ‘Russian spies’ in government

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Correspondent IBP





According to the Zeit weekly, Germany’s counter-intelligence has been investigating two senior officials at the Ministry of Economic Affairs because Minister Robert Habeck suspects them of being Russian spies. The revelation was described as “explosive” and having the “makings of a political scandal” by the outlet.

Habeck and his aides contacted the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz, also known as BfV) this spring, citing “inconsistencies in internal documents” concerning the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, natural gas in storage facilities, and the report on Germany’s energy security.

The documents “oozed understanding” from the Russian point of view, and the arguments stated in them “often did not match the government’s official line.” The officials allegedly “deviated” from Habeck’s position on halting Nord Stream 2 certification, the status of Gazprom Germany, and the bailout of gas supplier Uniper.

BfV reportedly discovered “biographical anomalies,” such as a study trip to Russia in one case and “emotional closeness to Russia,” but nothing more substantial. According to Zeit, “no solid evidence of espionage or corruption has been found”. There was no probable cause to wiretap their phones, read their emails, or monitor the two officials.

Neither the BfV nor Zeit named the officials, citing diplomat Gerhard Sabathil’s “nightmare” in 2020. Accused of being a Chinese spy, he has never been able to clear his name, even though the charges were dropped.

Germany has long relied on cheap Russian energy imports to power its industry. On August 15, 2022, Habeck declared that this model had “failed and will not return” in a speech announcing a special gas tax.

With top ministry officials being civil servants set in their ways and many dealing with energy described as “east-leaning,” Zeit speculated that one or two of them may not have “completed the mental turn.”

The investigation appears to be ongoing, but both possible outcomes spell trouble for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government. If Habeck is correct and the two men are “Kremlin moles,” Russia will have successfully infiltrated one of Berlin’s most important ministries. If he was mistaken, the powerful Green Party politician will have to explain how he was duped into launching a witch-hunt against civil servants. In any case, the investigation is “likely to alienate” the bureaucracy, according to Zeit.

Correspondent IBP






We will provide you with an invoice for your reimbursable expenses.


New to Indonesian market? Read our free articles before subscribing to the premium plan. If you already run your business in Indonesia, make sure to subscribe to the premium subscription so you won’t miss any intelligence & business opportunities.


$550 USD/Year


$45 USD/Month

Cancelation: you can cancel your subscription at any time, by sending us an email

Add keywords to your market watch and receive notification:
Schedule a free consultation with us:

We’ll contact you for confirmation.


Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has called for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant Hamas in the wake of the seven-month conflict, with Israel threatening to invade Rafah, a city of 2.5 million people in Gaza Strip.
Fishermen, local communities, indigenous groups and environmental activists around the world are lashing out at Japan and its export credit agency, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).
A number of parties have started to anticipate the impact of the conflict between Israel and Iran on investor interest in startups as the conflict can affect the macro economy, particularly in the Middle East.
President Xi Jinping has emphasized China’s commitment to improving the lives of its people and clarified its collaborative approach with other nations, entities such as APEC, and including superpowers like the United States, during a meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
China’s conditions for a meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, as outlined by China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS). The conditions set by the MSS include the United States showing sincerity for such a meeting to take place. 
China’s Global Security Initiative (GSI) is intensifying its campaign for an alternative to the US-led international order, connecting it to its peace plan for Ukraine and rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia.