In view of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and former alleged attack plans by "Reich citizens", the Bundeswehr is increasingly training soldiers with a view to conspiracy myths and propaganda. "Great dangers can emanate from conspiracy theories and disinformation, for example from Russia," said the commander of the Internal Leadership Center in Koblenz, Markus Kurczyk, the German Press Agency. "We have to get into these issues, we have to sensitize the soldiers here."
Shortly before the first anniversary of the Russian attack in Ukraine on February 24, the 58-year-old major general declared: "We also see the risk of being caught in false information bubbles on the Internet with them." With media training, soldiers would be trained to question news and allegations and to supplement them with other, verified information.
If soldiers themselves post something on social media, they must be aware "that certain rules apply to them," Kurczyk added, referring to Bundeswehr official secrets and their anchoring in the free democratic basic order.
One-week courses on political education
Like the police, the Bundeswehr is not entirely immune to right-wing extremism. During an anti-terrorist raid against "Reichsbürger" in December, some active and former soldiers were caught. "Reich citizens" do not recognize the Federal Republic and its democratic structures.
The Center for Internal Leadership usually organizes one-week courses, some at its locations in Koblenz and Strausberg near Berlin and some on site with the armed forces throughout Germany. "For example, we recently did political education with the permanent crew of the sail training ship "Gorch Fock"," reported Kurczyk.
The Center for Internal Leadership, whose origins date back to the 1950s, offers around 40 different training courses with military and civilian lecturers. The courses, which are called "Modern Leadership" or "Conspiracy Stories", are aimed at officers and soldiers before deployments abroad, but also, for example, at legal advisers and military disciplinary lawyers. According to the center, the concept of the inner leadership as a model of the responsible acting and socially anchored citizen in uniform is unique in the world.