Putin constantly talks about the fight against “neo-Nazism”. But while serving in the GDR, he himself recruited one of the leaders of the neo-Nazi movement in Germany . The agent was called Rainer Sontag. Here is his story

Russian President Vladimir Putin , while serving in the KGB in East Germany, recruited as an agent Rainer Sontag, one of the leaders of the German neo-Nazi movement of the 1980s. Sontag’s story is told by Atavist.

Sontag was born in 1955 in Dresden. As a teenager, he first went to prison – he was sentenced to 18 months for trying to illegally leave for Germany through the territory of Czechoslovakia. After the end of his term, he was blackmailed into becoming a secret informant for the Dresden police. After two more prison terms (for another attempt to escape from the GDR and for theft), Sontag applied in 1986 to move to West Germany as part of the then official program. By that time, he was already a supporter of neo-Nazi ideology.

Putin, the newspaper writes, before arriving in Germany worked in the fifth department of the KGB, engaged in the fight against “ideological sabotage” by recruiting informants among opponents of the regime. Arriving in Dresden, he began to oversee interaction with one of the East German police units, codenamed K1, which was responsible for investigating political affairs.

Putin recruited an officer of this unit, Georg Schneider, and a cadet of the Stasi security service, Klaus Zuchold. As Zuchold himself later said, he and Putin met during a football match organized by the Stasi; the future Russian president played as a striker. His German, Zuchold recalled, was not perfect, and they communicated in Russian – although Putin was officially sent to Dresden as a diplomatic interpreter.

With the help of Zuchold and Schneider, Putin created a network of about 20 Dresden informants with connections in the West. Thanks to this, the future Russian president was quickly promoted to the KGB.

At the same time, Schneider came up with the idea to recruit Sontag – according to Atavist, the goals of recruiting the far right at that time were to control the spread of far-right ideology in the GDR and destabilize the situation in Germany with their help. Due to Putin’s mediation, Sontag’s application to move to the West was granted, after which he settled in Frankfurt. There, thanks to his prison past and good physical shape, he quickly joined the local criminal community. Sontag worked for a long time as a bouncer in a brothel, and was also put on trial for assault and possession of a weapon.

By 1988, Sontag managed to enter the inner circle of Michael Künen, one of the leaders of the neo-Nazi movement in Germany. They created detachments that staged pogroms and mass fights with left-wing radicals, and at the same time tried to legalize themselves in the political field by creating the German Alternative party. When Kuhnen’s health seriously deteriorated (he died of AIDS some time later) and he began to gradually retire, Sontag began to gain more and more influence. At the same time, within the neo-Nazi movement itself, Atavist notes, many did not trust Sontag, suspecting that “something was wrong” with him.

All the while, Sontag kept in touch with his curators. And although the specific information he passed on did not remain in the documents, Atavist notes, he provided what East German intelligence and the KGB needed most: influence and direct communication with people in power. At that time, it was clear that the far right could turn into an influential political force, the newspaper writes.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Sontag returned to the territory of the former GDR, where he set about creating nationalist movements, in fact being the main link between the neo-Nazis of the West and East. Putin had already left Germany by that time, but Georg Schneider still remained Sontag’s curator from the Dresden police. In 1991, Rainer Sontag was killed during an armed conflict with a local gang of pimps.

Schneider, who left the police to become a private detective, was beaten in his own home in 1999. Who exactly was involved in the attack is unclear. After the beating, he was never able to fully recover, began to abuse alcohol and died in 2010 at the age of 62.

Zuchold became a security consultant. In 2015, based on his interview, a large investigation into Putin’s work in Dresden was released, where Sontag’s recruitment was mentioned for the first time. Two years later, an attempt was made on Zuchold: according to him, an unknown man on the train stuck some kind of sharp object in his hand, after which he had to undergo several operations.

“If there is a winner in this whole dirty story, it is Putin, now one of the most powerful people in the world,” concludes Atavist. The publication notes that after coming to power, Putin “made alliances with far-right leaders across Europe.” “Putin’s influence is also felt in contemporary Germany, where the Kremlin has forged ties with members of Alternative for Germany, a nationalist party professing such virulent anti-Semitism and racism that it is under official domestic intelligence surveillance. The Alternative Center is located in Saxony, where Dresden is located. It has remained a stronghold of the German far-right since the days of Sontag,” the Atavist publication says.

(C)MEDUZA 2022

One comment

  1. Putin loves him some Nazis. It should also be pointed out that many from Himmler’s organization moved right into the eastern regime’s secret services. They had been well trained.


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