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German Foreign Minister Throws Merkel Under the Volkswagen

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel says Berlin does not endorse media reports about Russian "interference" in Germany's elections — repudiating months of Russia hysteria peddled by Angela Merkel

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

It's clear that Angela Merkel has done something to upset the Gods, because she's the only world leader we know of who consistently gets served steaming-hot plates of karma schnitzel. 

During a meeting with Lavrov on Friday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel stressed that the German government does not endorse or corroborate media reports about Russian "meddling" in Germany's elections. 

<figcaption>Berlin distances itself from Merkel's Russian fairy tales</figcaption>
Berlin distances itself from Merkel's Russian fairy tales


There are many levels of irony to this hilarious statement, as we shall see shortly:

When asked by a reporter to comment on German media allegations that Moscow was behind the creation of fake news and alleged interference in the country’s electoral process, Gabriel said the government would not make such claims.

"The German media bear their own responsibility… The federal government does not make such accusations," Gabriel said.

"I’m speaking only for it [the federal government]," he stressed.

“I think you’re right,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, making his German counterpart laugh.

As RT points out, this puts Merkel in a bit of a pickle:

Speculation that Russia could allegedly influence foreign elections surfaced last year, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel claiming that Moscow might attempt to affect the 2017 general elections in Germany through cyberattacks.

“We already know that we have to deal with reports from Russia or also with cyberattacks from Russian sources or even with the reports from which we are confronted to some extent with false information,”Merkel said at a joint press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in November.

And then there's also this, via Reuters:

German officials have accused Moscow of trying to manipulate German media to fan popular angst over issues like the migrant crisis, weaken voter trust and breed dissent within the European Union so that it drops sanctions against Moscow.

But intelligence officials have stepped up their warnings in recent weeks, alarmed about the number of attacks.

Last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she could not rule out Russia interfering in Germany's 2017 election through Internet attacks and misinformation campaigns.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova drove the point home during her press briefing last week:

Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany Sigmar Gabriel, who was in Moscow yesterday, said clearly that the federal government of Germany and German officials have never blamed Russia and never accused it of fabricating fake news and interfering in election campaigns. As he said, the responsibility for this rests with the German media. He stressed that he only speaks on behalf of the German government.

If Gabriel "speaks on behalf of the German government", does this mean that Merkel is no longer allowed to speak? Because we think this could be a big step forward for German international relations. 

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