Release date: December 5, 2023
Authors: Jan Rathje

In the CeMAS report titled “Through the Crisis into the Reich”, significant trends within the conspiracy-ideological sovereignist milieu of “Reichsbürger” and other groups in Germany since the Covid-19 pandemic are analyzed. The report characterizes conspiracy-ideological sovereignism as a component of the German far right with a longstanding antisemitic tradition. The sovereignist milieu promotes a political order focusing on inequality and shares antisemitic world conspiracy myths, along with revisionist ideas such as the restoration of a German Reich. Furthermore, it is noted that the size and resonance of the milieu exceed the figures presented by German authorities.

The report also elucidates how the utilization of “alternative” media channels, particularly on Telegram, enabled sovereignists to disseminate and normalize their ideology during the pandemic. Sovereignist narratives were even publicly shared by prominent organizers of the Querdenken protests, such as Michael Ballweg of Querdenken 711 - Stuttgart. Additionally, a faction of QAnon-“Reichsbürger” emerged, contributing to an increased dissemination of sovereignist content within the QAnon milieu.

In conclusion, the report warns of the dangers of radicalization and professionalization within the conspiracy-ideological sovereignist milieu since the onset of the pandemic. Not only has the number of acts of violence increased, but their quality has also evolved. Drawing from investigations conducted in 2022/23 against the alleged terrorist groups “Vereinte Patrioten” and “Patriotische Union”/“Gruppe Reuß”, associated with the “Reichsbürger” milieu, the report provides evidence that elite soldiers and police officers within and outside this milieu have been deliberately recruited for the implementation of “Day X” plans.

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