Kondratiev, a Ukrainian who has been living in Berlin for eight years, wanted to show in a balanced way how Ukrainians who have fled to Germany experience their situation, what they like about Berlin and Germany and what they don’t like and how things should continue for them. “People are happy to be safe in Berlin, but they also love their homeland and some things that are different. That’s not ingratitude.”
Blame for rubbish, praise for rubbish separation
They also say things there that bother many Germans and give an interesting picture from the outside: in some shops, card payment is only possible from a minimum amount or not at all, administrative processes sometimes take a long time, in some places in Berlin garbage is left for a long time.
In the manipulative compilation, Lina Bishep from Kharkiv can be seen saying that the money she receives as a refugee is not enough for a normal life. This ends the excerpt. In the original video, on the other hand, she also explains that there is a large selection of good food that is cheap. However, they cannot always afford a coffee, for example, because many services are expensive.
In the original video, the Ukrainians also talk about what it’s like in Berlin, they praise waste separation and the deposit system, they talk about the many Greens and what a role model could be for cities in Ukraine. What was made of it “looks like something out of the manual ‘Propaganda for Beginners’,” says Bishep. The intention behind it is clear: “Conjure up a conflict between Germans and Ukrainians with one minute from a fast 47-minute video.”
Videos go back to group from Belarus
Pazderski wasn’t the first to share the compilation. It started in pro-Russian channels. The source could be in Belarus, the country whose President Alexander Lukashenko is closely aligned with Putin. The watermark of a group that translates as “Yellow Plums” can always be seen in several variants that are now haunting the web. Opposition media in the country attribute “yellow plums” to the Lukashenko regime.
Lukashenko himself expressly praised her in a press conference. Investigative journalist Anton Motolko also believes the group is capable of recognizing a video of Ukrainian refugees in Germany as an opportunity and using it to create atmosphere. “They have done something similar before. They are managed by the government and also have the resources,” says Motolko to t-online.
The channel did not respond to a request from t-online. It’s also possible that the manipulative post wasn’t originally from there. Metadata shows it was created as early as May 17 at noon, around 20 hours before it was posted.
So far, however, no versions are known in which the watermark of “Yellow Plums” is missing. In many videos there is a second lettering, “Red October”. This is a German-language channel with pro-Russian propaganda that was created in April.