German AfD MP received money from Moscow, media report alleges

Petr Bystron
Petr Bystron

Petr Bystron, a member of Germany's Bundestag from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and hopeful MEP, has allegedly been receiving payments from a "Russian influence network," according to a joint investigation by Germany's Der Spiegel and Czech newspaper Denik N.

According to the investigation published on March 29, pro-Russian influence network Voice of Europe channeled several hundred thousand euros to six EU countries, including Germany, partly in cash and partly in cryptocurrency. Journalists discovered that Bystron was among those receiving these funds. Content produced by other AfD members, including Maximilian Krah, was also published on the Voice of Europe website, where they echoed the Kremlin’s propaganda.

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The report notes Krah and Bystron are acquainted with the godfather of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk. The German MPs had visited him in Kyiv in 2021. Medvedchuk is believed to be behind Voice of Europe, according to Czech intelligence.

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In comments to the Czech News Agency (ČTK), Bystron said he would legally challenge the journalists' accusations. He also claimed that the investigation represents "revenge" by Czech PM Petr Fiala's government for his speech at an anti-government protest in Prague in September 2022, in which he criticized Fiala for referring to protestors as "Russian cockroaches."

“I will file lawsuits in Czechia against both the responsible author [from Denik N] and against the platform itself," he said.

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Bystron also criticized the shutdown of the Voice of Europe website, which Czechia declared a Russian influence platform, calling it an "assault on freedom of speech."

On March 28, Belgian PM Alexander De Croo stated that several MEPs received money from Moscow to spread Russian propaganda. According to him, there was close cooperation between Belgian and Czech intelligence services in dismantling the Russian propaganda network responsible for this.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine