Amid growing evidence that he is an asset Russia’s intelligence services, Markus Frohnmaier from the ultra-nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) has denied that he has been directly influenced by the Kremlin, despite evidence from Russian documents which established a close link between Moscow and Frohnmaier as reported German magazine Der Spiegel, German TV channel ZDF, Italian newspaper La Repubblica, and the BBC.
The documents date back to September 2017 when Frohnmaier was a candidate and suggest that express he would become “an absolutely controlled” MP in the German Bundestag if he were elected. The report also suggested that the Kremlin had assessed that it was “very likely” Frohnmaier, who supports Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine. would be elected and that he “required” support in his electoral campaign.
The documents were acquired by the “Dossier Centre,” an organisation funded by the prominent Russian dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The source of the documents appears to be an intercepted email between Pyotr Premyak, a former counterintelligence officer for Russia’s FSB, and former Duma deputy Sergey Sokolov.
Premyak has confirmed to ZDF that he wrote the email. but denies being the author of the attached report. Frohnmaier’s lawyers told the BBC that their client denies ever being under Russian influence. The BBC, however, obtained a document in which Frohnmaier requested support from Russia for his campaign in April 2017.
The AfD is now the main opposition to the broad coalition government between Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats.
Frohnmaier has repeatedly opposed the EU’s sanctions against Russia in the German Bundestag and has visited Russian-occupied Crimea and parts of the Donbass – the extreme eastern regions Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists – to show his support for Moscow’s war effort against the Ukrainian state.