Voices from the former Soviet Union


Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters

The interior Minister of Bavaria, Joachim Hermann, who will become the “locomotive” of the Christian social Union (CSU) in the elections to the Bundestag on 6 June made a surprise for his party initiative demanded to raise pensions to living in Germany Russian-speaking Germans. Political rivals, the CSU is also trying to enlist the support of Russian-speaking voters. Especially for them, printed leaflets and invited to the meetings of the Russian-speaking deputies. What caused the surge of attention to this part of the electorate — to understand”.ru”.

“After the elections to the Bundestag, Germany would be outraged by (…): it becomes obvious that a fairly large group of Russian voters does not like liberal democracy and vote for the “Alternative for Germany”. Even more dissatisfaction will cause the fact that (…) their votes will have a decisive influence on the outcome of the vote,” writes the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

For a long time the Russian-speaking population supported the Christian democratic Union (CDU). “These people were incredibly loyal to the CDU to thank for the fact that Chancellor Helmut Kohl gave them the opportunity to move to Germany (…). But times have changed. Now many of those who had voted for the CDU, ready to support ADG,” writes Tageszeitung.

The Russian-speaking electorate, until recently, did not show political activity, and the German party did not pay him much attention. But gradually the immigrants from post-Soviet countries have become increasingly interested in what is happening in German politics. So, the Russian-speaking Diaspora have increasingly expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that in the Bundestag only one Russian MP Tsertik Heinrich (Heinrich Zertik), and 13 deputies of Turkish origin, although in numbers the Turkish community is inferior to the Russian.

“According to various estimates, in Germany from three to four million people, which is associated with Russia and the Soviet Union. For a long time it was thought that once they moved to Germany, the German share values, and seek to integrate and quite resistant to Russian propaganda. But it turned out that it is not that this audience is quite specific, with their ideas about Russia and about Europe. In particular, the electorate is quite sharply against migrants. He has racial prejudices. It turned out that this is not a force that can be ignored and even more wrong to accept it as the German electorate of the traditional political forces. Now with some delay the German party looking for some keys to this audience,” says Director General, Russian international Affairs Council (RIAC) Andrei Kortunov.

The exception was the extreme right of the “Alternative for Germany” (ADH). Since its formation in 2013, the party systematically worked with potential voters, and only in Russian language. The party program for the convenience of the electorate translated into Russian, ADG acquired pages are popular in post-Soviet countries social networks such as “Odnoklassniki” and “Vkontakte”.

As shown by the recent elections to the land parliaments of Berlin and the Federal States of North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-württemberg, these measures are justified. ADG received up to 40 percent of the vote in areas where there are former Soviet citizens.

The party hopes that the election to the Bundestag Russian-speaking Germans as well give it a voice. It is likely that it will happen. “For the first time in my life I will go to the polls. Vote for ADG (…). No other party supports family values against premarital sex, birth control, and LGBT people,” says 25-year-old native of Kazakhstan and a mother of two children, Yanna M (Janna M.).

In the beginning of last year in Germany there was a scandal involving the Russian-speaking population, which showed German politicians that ignore this part of the electorate is impossible. The reason for this was the controversial “the story girl: Liza”. Then, on the streets of German cities left hundreds of angry representatives of the Russian Diaspora. “After the incident on the Russian-speaking citizens talked about as the fifth column of the Kremlin, and drew attention to their political promiscuity and susceptibility to the rhetoric of right-wing populists,” wrote Deutsche Welle.

As a result, other German parties were forced to connect to the active struggle for the voices of these constituents. So, this spring, the CSU has launched a social media campaign in Russian language. In addition, the Bavarian streets there were posters with the image of CSU leader Horst Seehofer, which in Russian were written the slogan “We don’t want a Republic, where the dominance of the left and multiculturalism” and “the German passport is not worthless goods.”

Ahead of the elections to the Landtag of the Federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which took place on 14 may, the CDU/CSU, the social Democrats and ADG were actively campaigning in the Russian language, participating in rallies and handing out brochures. From the stands of the policy of the Russian spoke about the success of integration, and admired the industriousness of the Russian-speaking Germans, and swore to defend their interests.

So, the social Democrats promised the Russian-speaking voters to make free kindergartens until 2022, to cancel tuition fees for master’s programs and to introduce subsidized public transport tickets for pupils receiving secondary education.

The leader of the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Lachet from the pages of one of the Russian regional magazines has promised to raise pensions for immigrants, seeking to enlist the support of older Russian-speaking Germans. This statement caused a lot of noise in the German media. The fact that pension issues are handled by the government at the Federal level, therefore keep the promise Laset at all desire could not.

ADG has created websites in Russian, the pages of which urges voters to protect children “from the consequences of uncontrolled migration” and “from teaching perversion in schools”. The question about the lessons of sex education in the German educational institutions is of particular concern among immigrants from Russia and former Soviet republics, who have repeatedly taken part in demonstrations against such activities.

Such an active flirtation with the Russian-speaking electorate has been criticized in the press. So, Handelsblatt turned against the ruling coalition, noting that the party, calling the study of the German language is one of the most important factors in successful integration, campaigning in Russian.

Before the election in Germany is three and a half months. It is difficult to say whether representatives of the CDU/CSU to win over the Russian-speaking electorate on its side, thereby taking away votes from the ADH, which, as writes the German media, is increasingly becoming the “party of Russian-speaking population”.