Manuel Ochsenreiter

Manuel Ochsenreiter (*1976) is a German far-right editor known for his closeness to the orbit around Russian neo-Eurasianist ideologue Alexander Dugin.

From an early age he got politically active in the youth wing of the conservative CDU party, and became a frequent contributor of the New Right weekly Junge Freiheit. 2004 to 2011 he had been editor-in-chief of the Deutsche Militärzeitschrift ("German Military Magazine," DMZ). Since 2009, Ochsenreiter acts as the editor-in-chief of the far-right journal Zuerst!, a successor to Nation Europa (1951-2009), a central organ of the Nazi diaspora after WWII. Ochsenreiter has also been a contributor to the Swedish far-right weekly Nyd Tider between 2017 and 2018, edited by the Czechoslovakia-born Vávra Suk.1

It is not quite clear how Ochsenreiter made the acquaintance with Dugin, but ever since the early 2010s he appears with figures associated with him. These contacts intensified following the Crimean annexation. Since then, Ochsenreiter had also been publishing articles for Orthodox oligarch Konstantin Malofeev’s Katehon think tank (2015 to 2017).2 He has been a frequent guest on the Russian media programs RT and Sputnik, predominantly on their respective international versions.3

Ochsenreiter appeared also in the orbit of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. He was speaking at several party events, and had been scientific advisor to the AfD Bundestag MP Markus Frohnmaier from September 2018 until January 2019.4

In 2019, Ochsenreiter made first headlines with his involvement in a false-flag attack in Western Ukraine: an arson attack on a Hungarian cultural center to be blamed on Ukrainian nationalists.5 Subsequently, his name also appeared in an investigation by the BBC and other newspapers in regards to documents that link him to Russian influence campaigns.6

Ochsenreiter is married and has two sons.

1990s

Manuel Ochsenreiter was born in 1976 in the Southern German Allgäu region, and raised as a Catholic. Already in 1994, when he was still in high school, he frequently contributed articles to the New Right weekly Junge Freiheit,7 for which he would write for over a decade.

In 1995, he was one of the authors of the anthology Wir 89er, edited by Roland Bubik, in which twelve representatives of a generation of New Right proponents presented their political goals in opposition to those of the '68 movement.8 As a result, in the same year Ochsenreiter was interviewed by the public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk,7 and was introduced in the magazine Focus.8

Manuel Ochsenreiter (born 1976) talking about the fall of the wall and the Wir 89er group. At the time of the interview, in 1995, he was still a student.

In his early years, Ochsenreiter was an active member of the Witikobund ("Witiko Union"), a völkish association of Sudenten Germans, which is deemed right-wing extremist by the German interior ministry.9 Although the union seems not to play a major role in Ochsenreiter's current activities, membership is basically for life, since according to the Witiko Union credo "Who betrays the ancient duty today, will betray the new one tomorrow." 10

At a young age, he joined the "Young Union" (Junge Union), the youth wing of the Christian conservative CDU party. Within the Young Union Ochsenreiter founded in 1995 the "Conservative Awakening" (Konservativer Aufbruch) faction.11 Strategically positioning himself in the right-wing camp, he also became a member of the "Christian-Conservative Germany Forum" (Christlich-Konservatives Deutschland-Forum, CKDF), close to the CDU, for which he served as deputy state chairman of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.12

After his high school degree in 199613 he attended the military service, and up from 1999, studied communication and marketing in Berlin at the private "Institute for Marketing and Communication" (IMK) in Berlin, from which he graduated as a marketing communications specialist.1413 During his studies he joined a dueling fraternity, the Burschenschaft der Märker ("Fraternity of the Margraviate"), of which he is still a member. Today he holds the rank of "Alter Herr" (Old gentleman) in the fraternity.13 His fraternity had close ties to Junge Freiheit, for example it hosted the weekly's summer festival in 2003.

Ochsenreiter was one of the youngest editors of the weekly15 and headed the "Zeitgeist & Lebensart" department of Junge Freiheit in Berlin.16 Because of the newspaper's austerity measures, he first left it in 1998, but later rejoined.17

Thorsten Thaler, deputy editor-in-chief of Junge Freiheit, sees Ochsenreiter's "merits" in his contributions on Islamism and left-wing radicalism.12 In the jubilee volume of Junge Freiheit he was described by Götz Kubitschek as a "primary rock"18 of the weekly. In addition, Ochsenreiter also contributed to other German far-right journals, such as Sezession, which is also ascribed to the New Right, as well as eigentümlich frei.19

Ochsenreiter edited Dietmar Munier’s Deutsche Militärzeitschrift (DMZ) from 2004 until February 2011. DMZ openly glorifies the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS – in one publication it denounced the "Soviet myth" that Germans, and especially “Waffen SS tank divisions” were defeated during the Battle of Kursk, in another one DMZ praises the "Atlantic Wall” as “strategically important fortress" with no mention that it was built by Todt Organisation’s slave labour.

Dietmar Munier (*1954) is the owner of a far-right publishing empire. He is CEO and co-owner of the publishing house Lesen & Schenken, which comprises other publishers such as ARNDT, Orion-Heimreiter, Bonus and Pour le Mérite. According to estimates by the Schleswig-Holstein constitution protection authority and the Federal Government, the Arndt Verlag with affiliated branches is one of the most well-known publishers of the right-wing extremist spectrum.20

Arndt’s subsidiary Bonus published one of Alexander Dugin’s books “Conflicts of the Future - The Return of Geopolitics."21 The appendix contains several interviews between Ochsenreiter and Alexander Dugin, covering topics such as the Syrian crisis, the confrontation between Putin and the West, the Ukrainian Civil War and the NSA scandal. Manuel Ochsenreiter called Dugin a “long-standing and fatherly friend."22

2009

Since December 2009, Ochsenreiter acts as the editor of the far-right journal Zuerst!, a successor to the Nazi journal Nation Europa, published from 1951 until the end of 2009. The extremist former editor of Nation Europa, Harald Neubauer, has continued as a regular columnist of Zuerst!. According to a 2019 study on contacts between the Russian and the German far-right recounts Nation Europe's history as follows:

"The magazine was founded in 1951 by former SS Sturmbannführer and Chief of Anti-Partisan Warfare Arthur Erhardt and the Nazi poet and former SA Obersturmführer Herbert Böhme. An important contributor was Karl-Heinz Priester, former director of Kraft durch Freude, a large state-operated leisure organisation in Nazi Germany. After the war, he became involved in the neo-fascist circles around the European Social Movement. A close collaborator of notorious Nazi intelligence asset Otto Skorzeny, who was living in hiding in Francoist Spain at the time, Priester attempted to utilise the magazine Nation Europa to promote the idea of an ethno-pluralistic united Europe, a ‘Nation Europa’, ideas that today resonate in the Identitarian movement. Other eminent figures of Nation Europa included former SS Obersturmbannführer Helmut Sündermann, one of the most senior national- socialist journalists, and important propagandists of the Third Reich, as well as Gottlob Berger, notorious former SS Obergruppenführer and general of the Waffen-SS."4

2011

In 2011, Ochsenreiter can be seen with a Hezbollah official.23

2012

In 2012, Ochsenreiter appears on the anti-Semitic New Horizons conference in Teheran, Iran. Other participants were "Hands Off Syria Coalition steering committee member Issa Chaer," Thierry Meyssan, "World Workers Party member Caleb Maupin, Alt Right journalist Tim Pool, Holocaust denier Kevin Barrett, and Duginists like Voltaire Network associate Mateusz Piskorski, German editor Manuel Ochsenreiter, Leonid Savin, and Claudio Mutti the leading fascist infiltrator of the Campo Antimperialista."24

The conference brought thus together cross-front agitators with important figures from the far-right neo-Eurasianist milieu. The Russian guest of the conference, Leonid Savin, is editor-in-chief of Konstantin Malofeev's Katehon think tank. From 2013-2016 Savin was publishing the Journal of Eurasian Affairs, on whose advisory board Piskorski and Dugin were listed, and which hosted articles by i.a. Ochsenreiter as well as Claudio Mutti.25

2014

In March 2014, Ochsenreiter appeared among a delegation of election observers in the Russia-annexed Crimea. It included "Hikmat Al-Sabty, Torsten Koplin (former Stasi informant), Piotr Luczak and Monika Merk of the Left Party together with the German right-wing extremist activist and Russia Today star Manuel Ochsenreiter."26 On March 17, 2014 Ochsenreiter appeared on an edition of the RT talk show Cross Talk entitled “Welcome Crimea!," where he compared the Crimea invasion to the reunification of Germany.27

On the 22nd of June 2014, Ochsenreiter took part in a far-right conference called “Identitarian Ideas VI,” hosted by the Swedish far right think-tank Motpol (Antithesis) and the Swedish far-right periodical Nationell Idag (National Today). The historian Anton Shekhovtsov reported:28

"At this conference, Austrian identitarian ideologue Markus Willinger presented his new book Europa der Vaterländer (Europe of Fatherlands); Manuel Ochsenreiter, editor of the far right magazine Zuerzt! (First), was talking about geopolitics of the crises in Ukraine, Syria and Kosovo; while Patrik Forsén of the Swedish right-wing extremist Nordisk Ungdom (Nordic Youth), John Morgan of Arktos, Patrik Ehn from Nationell Idag, Eva Charlotta Johansson from Motpol, and Manuel Ochsenreiter discussed Ukraine, Russia and the United States."

In October 2014, Ochenreiter appeared at the anti-Semitic New Horizons conference in Teheran, Iran, alongside Mateusz Piskorski, Claudio Mutti and Leonid Savin. The conference was hosted by Sheikh Imran Nazar Hosein, who can also be seen with Ochsenreiter in an Iranian TV transmission.29

Sheikh Imran Nazar Hosein and Manuel Ochsenreiter

 There are several pictures available from that event. One shows Ochsenreiter with Mateusz Piskorski at the conference.23

Another photo from Teheran shows Ochsenreiter together with Leonid Savin holding up a flag sporting the "Eurasianist" symbol.

A third picture from Teheran was posted by the "Eurasian Artist Association," and includes Ochsenreiter, Mutti, and Savin.30

On November 4, 2014 the Eurasian Artists Association had posted a picture with Ochsenreiter and Dragana Trifkovic with members of the "Unite Continental Brigade."31

In November 2014 Martin Sellner and Alexander Markovics were introducing the Identitarian Movement Austria in a detailed interview by German far-right magazine Zuerst!, edited by Ochsenreiter.32

On November 28, 2014 the Eurasian Artists Association posted a picture with Ochsenreiter and Vona Gabor, leader of the Jobbik, in Budapest.33

The same day, the Facebook page also posted a picture of Ochsenreiter with Roberto Quaglia and Leonid Savin on the Red Square in Moscow.34

2015

During a RT show from January 20, 2015, the RT reporter, Tim Kirby, obviously enthusiastic about Ochsenreiter, had questioned him humorously about official German government concerns that Zuerst! was lobbying to abolish the country’s anti-Nazi laws.35

In March 2015, Alexander Dugin was invited to a readers meeting by Ochsenreiter's Zuerst! magazine.36

In June 2015, Ochsenreiter appeared in Warsaw during a discussion panel entitled “Poland and Germany in the era of US hegemony: together or against each other?.”

Left to right: Bartosz Bekier, Mateusz Piskorski, Manuel Ochsenreiter, and Michał Prokopowicz.

2016

In spring 2016, Mateusz Piskorski, Manuel Ochsenreiter, Markus Frohnmaier, the chairman of the AfD youth organization, and spokesman of AfD deputy chairman Alice Weidel, and the Thuringian AfD MP Thomas Rudy registered a German branch of Piskorski's European Center for Geopolitical Analysis, the Deutsches Zentrum für Eurasische Studien (German Center for Eurasian Studies, GCES),37 at the district court Berlin-Charlottenburg. Its website names both geopolitika.rs and the Journal of Eurasian Affairs as cooperation partners.38

Despite Piskorski’s detention in May 2016 by Poland’s Internal Security Agency, the Berlin association under Ochsenreiter started its activities. It was around that time, the Eurasia Artists Association would post a picture with Alexander Dugin and Ochsenreiter. Dugin is holding a German translation of one of his books in his hand.39

In July and September 2016, Ochsenreiter was sent to "observance missions" to Donetsk and Lugansk, where he corroborated that the primaries were not violating any provisions of the Minsk Agreement.40 With him were the AfD MPs Thomas Rudy and Udo Stein. The event was also reported on the Katehon website.41

According to Ochsenreiter, the GCES has been almost inactive and destitute since the arrest of his friend and business partner Piskorski, its co-founder Thomas Rudy however affirmed the association was financed by donations.

On August 14, 2015, the Eurasian Artists Association posted a picture with Ochsenreiter and the Russian visual artist Alexey Guintovt.42

Presumably during the same trip in August 2015, the Eurasian Artists Association posted a picture or Manuel Ochsenreiter with the daughter of Alexander Dugin, Daria Dugina.43

2017

In February 2017, Ochsenreiter appeared at the Isticharia Round Table (Advisory Committee for Strategic Studies and Communication founded by Lebanese Iman Rizk) under the headline "Donald Trump’s Middle East Policy."44

On February 2, he appeared on an AfD event in Gotha, together with AfD MP Robby Schlund, where the two hold up a Novorossiya flag.45 The event was also reported on Konstantin Malofeev's Katehon think tank.46

Anne Applebaum et al. in their study "Make Germany Great Again" mentioned a high-level meeting between representatives of European far-right parties, attended by a high-ranking member of the Russian Communist Party as well as Manuel Ochsenreiter:

"In April 2017, a member of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Alexander Yushchenko, attended an anti-sanctions conference organized by the AfD in Freiberg. It was a gathering of the European far right, with members of the following parties present: Austrian FPÖ, Belgian Vlaams Belang, Czech Freedom and Direct Democracy, Italian Lega Nord. The AfD was represented at a high level by Alexander Gauland. The influential right-wing journalist Manuel Ochsenreiter, editor of the German magazine Zuerst! was also present."47

In April 2017, Ochsenreiter can be seen with the daughter and think-alike of Russian fascist ideologue Alexander Dugin, Daria Dugina, as well as Andrew Kovalenko. Igor Storkin posted on April 25, 2017 a picture on Facebook saying: “Manuel came to visit” (Мануэль в гости заходил). In the room hung banners with skull motives.48

The skull symbol seems to be derived from a military flag from the Chetnik Detachments of the Yugoslav Army, which formed during the war against the Turks in 1876-1878. It says: "With faith in God - freedom or death” ("С верой в Бога - свобода или смерть"). Chetnik detachments fought i.a. under Hitler and Mussolini in WWII. Two Russians connected to the Belgian neo-Nazi Kris Roman and AfD politician Frohnmaier, with whom Ochsenreiter would develop especially close contacts, seem to have contact to people in the orbit of this neo-Chetnik formation.49

2018

Otherwise he is still giving lectures on right-wing platforms, such as in February for the AfD Niedersachsen, such as on 6 February, 2018.

In April 2018, Ochsenreiter was speaking at a conference organized by the far-right think tank Institut für Staatspolitik ("Institute for State Policy"), the most important ideological forge of the German far-right. The topic of the talk was “Russia, USA, Europe. On Sovereignty and Hegemony."

Manuel Ochsenreiter speaking at a conference organized by the far-right think tank Institut für Staatspolitik on April 14, 2018.

Russian far-right agent provocateur, Maria Katasanova, met with Manuel Ochsenreiter and Andrew Kovalenko, according to her Facebook post from April 24, 2018. The photo is subtitled "Russian-German team - Our people are everywhere."50

Katasanova made headlines in 2016, when she was holding up the by now famous triptych of Putin, Marine Le Pen, and Donald Trump during a press conference. In March 2017, she met with Marine Le Pen to deliver a personal copy of the triptych. There she dropped the line: “We do everything we can to support you on the internet”.51

Katasonova, 23, is the assistant of Yevgeny Fyodorov of the United Russia party, a member of the Rodina party,52 and involved in the “National Liberation Movement”, for which she serves as poster child.53

She is also actively collaborating with Konstantin Rykov,54 said to be the éminence gris behind the social media campaigns in favour of Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, as well as the political smear campaigns against Hillary Clinton and Emmanuel Macron.55

In May 2018, Ochsenreiter appeared on a memorial ceremony in Donetsk together with Linke politician Andreas Maurer.

In September 2018, Ochsenreiter led an interview with the French far-right lawyer Élie Hatem entitled "The project of world chaos."56

In spring 2019 reports appeared that connected Ochsenreiter with a false-flag arson attack on a Hungarian cultural center in Western Ukraine to be blamed on Ukrainian nationalists.

When additionally documents were leaked to i.a. BBC, Der Spiegel and La Repubblica from the Russian Document center, Ochsenreiter made news again, since his name appeared in the context of a Russian influence campaign.6

An undated photo shown in the documentary shows Ochsenreiter with Sargis Mirzakhanian, alleged Russian liaison to AfD politician Markus Frohnmaier.