On March 18, Germany's Handelsblatt published on its website an article entitled "Shadows of Nord Stream 2: Significant Opportunities for Ukraine." The piece claims U.S.-German negotiations are allegedly under way to ensure increased assistance to Ukraine on the part of Berlin in exchange for the U.S. ceasing efforts to block completion of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
Well, given that Handelsblatt is one of Germany's oldest daily newspapers, it probably doesn't make sense to mistust its reporters... Or does it?
The thing is that, having faced total fiasco in an attempt to have their pipe finally reach the German coast in the Baltic Sea, Russian propaganda started slowly but confidently to cultivate the narrative of the alleged secret talks being held between Berlin and Washington behind Kyiv's back on the completion of Russia's project.
A number of vested interests both in Russia and Germany are working to circulate these narratives. It is these vested interests that are trying to push these ideas to achieve r own geopolitical and economic goals within the EU media space and beyond.
After the new presidential administration took over in the United States, the intensity of these spins further increased, because it is very convenient to imply that the change of power fits into the paradigm of those "new negotiations" in the framework of which, it is claimed, Ukraine is nothing but a bargaining chip!
Surprisingly, these narratives kept being spun even after the new U.S. Presidential Administration declared a tough stance on Nord Stream 2 and, moreover, expressed readiness to make additional efforts to completely block NS2 completion.
Hence the question – what is the Handelsblatt piece is even talking about if realities show that things are exactly the opposite across the pond? The United States never changed its stance on the Russian pipe – moreover, it is radically strengthening its intentions to not let Nord Stream 2 be completed.
Here it would be wrong to turn a blind eye to the fact that it was Handelsblatt that was among the first media outlets to attack the AstraZeneca vaccine, as part of a larger-scale campaign to discredit the Oxford-made drug. In January 2021, Handelsblatt claimed in its piece that the vaccine is practically ineffective for the elderly recipients. However, in that material, a "respected" newspaper practically spread rumors, manipulated data on the number test subjects per certain age groups, and the efficacy rates. As a result, a scandal erupted, which called into question the newspaper's credibility.
Recently, Handelsblatt went on to publish another piece, mainly based on rumors, insider information and tips from unnamed sources, in the absence of indisputable facts that should be inherent in "high journalism" unlike paid puff pieces.
In both of these cases, it is worth noting that the attack on AstraZeneca and claims of some secret negotiations between the U.S. and Germany on Nord Stream 2 were all consonant with long-standing propaganda narratives designed in Russia. It seems that Handelsblatt journalists draw their inspiration from Russian news feeds!
And perhaps this isn't just an impression… Perhaps it's the newspaper itself, which, by the way, has collaborated with Russia's RBC agency for more than ten years, actually works to channel Russian propaganda in its latent and veiled ways. And perhaps it's from their eastern counterparts that they receive the so-called temniki (this is how Russians call secret instructions for the media on how to cover specific events) on compromising Astra-Zeneca and spinning rumors of U.S.-Germany talks on NS2. And no one seems to care about journalistic standards and controversial essence of claims spun.
Obviously, this is exactly the case.