Mari Saito Profile picture
Jan 3 10 tweets 4 min read
NEW: We've spent several months investigating pro-Putin activists across Germany who are agitating for Berlin to cut aid to Ukraine and pursue peace with Russia. Here are some of our findings...
We have discovered, through interviews and a wide review of social media posts and other online information, that key figures in this campaign in Germany have links to the Russian state or to far-right movements.…
These include organizers of several pro-Russia protests in Cologne who traveled together to Donbas last year to distribute aid. In a video of their trip, Elena Kolbasnikova and Max Schlund thanked the People's Front, a group headed by Vladimir Putin, for help organizing the trip.
Max Schlund actually used to be called Rostislav Teslyuk in Russia. His partner’s brother said Schlund served as a senior lieutenant in the Russian Air Force. In 2022 Schlund completed a transaction to buy an apartment in Moscow, according to Russia’s property registry.
Over the summer in Berlin, a man in a suit attended an event held by the German Communist Party. At one of the event panels ("Peace with Russia") the businessman, Oleg Eremenko, argued that Ukrainian youths were being taught to hate Russia. @reuters…
Eremenko confirmed to Reuters that he worked for the GRU. He said he served inside Russia but declined to give details. “I served, and that’s it,” he said. “I’m now in Germany in, let’s say, a civilian status,” promoting Russian culture and memorialising World War Two dead.
Eremenko has also been pictured with Igor Girkin. Six yrs ago, Eremenko took part in a Russian dating show where a close associate of Girkin appeared on stage as one of his friends. Asked about it all, he said: “Too much information will do no favours for the pro-Russian side"
Here are some of the other figures involved in public rallies and online work to push a pro-Kremlin message. Seewald is behind a Telegram account called that shares memes and German translations of Putin's speeches. He's been cited by Bavaria's verfassungsschutz as an extremist.
Please read the full story for more reporting from @zverev_live @m_tsvetkova and @reporter_polina. As always, great to work with @ChristianLowe4 and @jmaclondon on this.…
As always, if you have any information that you think would be of interest to us please reach out via DM or email. Falls Sie Informationen haben, die für uns von Interesse sein könnten, bin ich per DM oder E-Mail erreichbar.

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More from @saitomri

Oct 26, 2022
NEW: We reviewed more than a thousand pages of Russian military documents left behind in a command bunker in Balakliia, Ukraine. The documents shed new light on Russia's chaotic retreat from the Kharkiv area in Sept. Thread with some of our findings 1/x Image
The documents - some half burnt in a furnace in the bunker - show Russian troops anxious over the arrival of HIMARS and grappling with desertions and casualties. One soldier said it was like playing "roulette". Ukrainian strikes could land anywhere.…
From a roster of daily briefings and other documents seen in the bunker, here was the command structure in place in Balakliia. Ivan Popov headed the military grouping for "Balakliia". He's since been promoted to general, according to his wife. 3/x Image
Read 16 tweets
Jul 29, 2022
NEW: Long before Russia invaded Ukraine, the Kremlin was building a network of secret agents to smooth its path. Our latest @specialreports investigation:… @m_tsvetkova
Though Moscow failed to topple Kyiv in a few days, Chornobyl was different. A source with direct knowledge of the Kremlin’s invasion plans said Russian agents were deployed to Chornobyl last year to bribe officials and prepare the ground for a bloodless takeover.
Chornobyl also served as a drop-off point for documents from SBU headquarters, the source said. In return for payment, Ukrainian officials handed Russian spies information about Ukraine’s military readiness.
Read 9 tweets
May 5, 2022
NEW: Documents and other clues left behind by retreating Russian troops in Bucha point to the units behind the town's brutal occupation, including an elite, paramilitary force that reports up to Putin's former bodyguard…
When I first arrived in Bucha, there were still burned-out tanks on the streets. Residents were just starting to come back into town to check on their houses. Bodies were getting exhumed from the mass grave and residents were talking about neighbors who were buried in backyards..
The houses and buildings that had been occupied were usually in states of complete disarray. Food and bottles littered everywhere, just a mess of wrecked computers and piles of Ukrainian documents. Meanwhile, residents turned to Facebook and Telegram to look for those missing.
Read 21 tweets
Mar 9, 2022
Stopped by the Berlin central station last night, which has been transformed into a refugee transit centre. Hundreds of volunteers wearing high-vis bibs directing newly arrived Ukrainian refugees to donated food and clothing, and matching them up with shelter.
One of the volunteers I met was a refugee himself from Iraq who said he arrived in Germany in 2015. He said arriving in Europe was not easy and harder still to stay. Searched for the right word for a while then said he felt it was his “duty” to be at the station everyday
I’d obviously read about the incredible effort underway at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof but was still blown away by the scale of it. A nursing room, a children’s play area, a designated area for volunteer drivers, a busy sign up/info desk for volunteers.
Read 6 tweets
Feb 3, 2022
Hello, I wrote about the EXTREMELY dystopian vibes inside the bubble at the Beijing Olympics. Exhibit A: Hotel bartenders making specialty cocktails in their full PPE gear…
The whole thing is kind of … just surreal. Venues and lobbies are constantly sprayed down with disinfectant by workers sometimes wearing PPE with the Olympic Rings. When I got back to my hotel yesterday I almost slipped on floors that are frequently washed down with Lysol
Adding to the feeling of overall dislocation at the hotel bar, they were playing French rap over the speakers and CGTN on the big screen.
Read 6 tweets
Jul 21, 2021
1/ NEW: It was bittersweet to write about Ted Adegawa, who helped built his town into the surfing destination it is today. First, his torch relay was canceled. Then they banned fans. Now, like everyone else, he'll have to watch the event on TV. #tokyo2020…
2/ Ted traveled to the U.S. for the first time in 1964, the same year as Tokyo's last Olympics. He learned to surf in Santa Monica and when he returned to Tokyo a year later he told his father, who designed and sold neckties to salarymen, he wanted to make surfboards instead.
3/ Ted decided to move his surf business to Isumi after he saw American soldiers surfing perfect swells there in 1970. It meant so much for him and other locals to host the Olympics' inaugural surfing event here. In anticipation of the Games, Ted even opened a tiny museum here
Read 11 tweets

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