Thursday, April 4, the evening news program “heute journal” (it. “Magazine today”) on ZDF began as usual: on the screen appeared familiar to millions of viewers TV presenter Klaus Kleber, with a serious face looked at the camera and announced:
«Good evening. By water and by air the American, German and armies of other European allies are moving to Estonia tonight to knock out the Russian units that entered there, as a few years ago in the Crimea.”
(Channel ZDF (abbr. from him. Das Zweite Deutsche Fernsehen, — the Second German television) is one of the largest broadcasters in Europe. Its audience is about 30 million people. Their average age is 61 years, so the ZDF channel is jokingly called Kukident-Sender, and its audience is Kukident-Generation, where Sender is a transmitter, Generation is a generation, and Kukident is the name of a popular dental care product).
Entering into shock its multi-million audience “generation Kukident”, 63-year-old moderator Klaus Kleber — lawyer by education and international lawyer by the nature of the first activity, paused, and then with the same serious face explained what was said:
“Don’t worry, it’s not. It’s just an image, but realistic. For example, this should be NATO’s response to an attack on the territory of one of the participating countries. The problem today is that the unity of the Alliance, created to protect itself from the threat of the Soviet Union and to link Europe more closely with the United States, to its 70th anniversary seems the most fragile in its history.”What to say: the time to declare the Third world war and the Russian attack on Estonia Herr Kleber chose a more than successful! After all, April 18 in Moscow will arrive the President of the Republic of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid. According to the Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov, “Vladimir Putin during a meeting with his Estonian counterpart wants to allay Tallinn’s fears about the security of the Baltic country. Russia has repeatedly stressed that there are no threats to its neighbors from our side. The purpose of the meeting — to get to know each other and discuss current issues, but specific solutions after the visit should not wait,” Peskov said in an interview with the Estonian newspaper Postimees.
The formal reason for Kaljulaid’s arrival in Moscow is the opening ceremony of the restored historical building of the Embassy of Estonia. However, as joked Moscow wit, in the Russian capital, she after March 29, the St. Petersburg office of the Rosselkhoznadzor reported the destruction of 72 tons of banned Estonian sprat. But this is nothing more than a scoff, while Klaus Kleber his provocation committed quite seriously.
Moving away from shock, viewers brought down on ZDF flurry of accusations:
“Russia is occupying Estonia? Just an illusion? People trust You. Illusion as the nightmare scenario of anything positive carries. There is still fear,” one user commented on Twitter “escapade” Kleber. “Wow, Klaus Kleber, I haven’t been this shocked in a long time,” wrote another.
More restrained on the antics of Kleber, the German media reacted. Included in one of the largest media companies in Germany Funke Mediengruppe news Internet portal DerWesten in the article “Zuschauer Sauer auf Klaus Kleber — “Unterirdisch” (“the Audience was angry at Klaus Kleber: “Below the plinth”) said: “Many authors of the tweets accused ZDF that he acted vulgarly: “we Appreciate the moderation just started the transfer as below the plinth. What is it?” they were indignant.”
Channel ZDF and never once was distributing anti-Russian materials. For example, on September 22, 2018, a 43-minute documentary film directed by Edmund Koch “Putin’s Kalter Krieg” (“Putin’s Cold war”) was shown, which claimed that “Russian agents” were infiltrating Europe under the guise of “Chechen refugees”. Here is what is said about this film in the summary posted on the portal of the channel:
“Campaigns of lies, psychological manipulation and penetration are the methods of the new Cold war. Thus, the West must be destabilized. Is it true that for many years the agents of the Russian special service of the FSB, disguised as refugees, were sent to Germany? At least, this is reported by a former senior FSB officer. The head of the German Department for the protection of the Constitution Hans-Georg Maasen said about “operations against Germany and German interests.” Russian expert Stefan Meister believes that the Kremlin deliberately crosses the “red lines”. The former Colonel of the Russian special service of FSB knows methods of generals and plans of the Kremlin for penetration and destabilization of the West by means of agents. He is probably the highest-ranking intelligence officer to have left Russia in the Putin era. For 20 years he served the Russian state but then was deprived of influence. He eventually left Russia and has been on the run ever since. The former Colonel was involved, according to his own statement, in secret operations in which Chechen spies were illegally thrown with forged documents into Germany. The author of the film five times secretly met with the former Colonel and talked to him for more than 15 hours — with the camera and without it. “For former intelligence agencies interview — a big risk, — says Russian-American historian Yuri Felshtinsky. — The FSB will do its best to find him.”
Again, the film was released on TV in September last year. Over the next six months, Hans-Georg Maasen, who dared to publicly doubt the correctness of the migration policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel, was expelled from the post of head of the German internal counterintelligence (namely, the Federal office for the protection of the Constitution). But something any “Chechen agent of the Russian FSB” neither law enforcement authorities, nor mass media of Germany to the world didn’t show. As for the “announcement” by Klaus Kleber of the beginning of the Third world war, this “duck” is not new: in 1938, the American radio station CBS broadcast a “direct” transmission, notifying the population about the attack of the Martians. The country was gripped by panic, people fought hysterically, jumping out of Windows, grabbed the first available under the hand and ran out of their houses. Many kilometers of traffic jams lined up at the borders — people tried to go anywhere, and armed volunteers began to come to the police stations. And only 40 minutes later the announcer said that it was a radio play on the “War of the World” by H. G. Wells, timed to the coming Halloween.
And in December 2006, the main state television channel of Belgium RTBF, interrupting all programs, announced the sensational news about the collapse of the country in Flanders and Wallonia. Then too there was a General panic accompanied by the record in groups of self-defense. It lasted about two hours until the speakers confessed that he played the viewers. Since the “draw” led to serious consequences — millions of people were injured – they were removed from their posts.
To the credit of the Germans, they did not succumb to the provocation of Klaus Kleber — no one panicked, no one grabbed his weapon. But the leadership of ZDF did not follow the example of colleagues from the Belgian RTBF: as of Friday evening — the last working day of this week — there did not react to his “prank”. And it is unlikely to react: Kleber, “awarded” in 2017, the anti-award “Sour cucumber”, awarded by the German media community, has repeatedly been in the center of scandals, from which came out dry. So there is every reason to believe that the management of the channel he is still in favor, as evidenced by at least his earnings: according to the influential newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, he is the highest paid of all 3,600 employees of ZDF, including CEO Thomas Belluta, receiving about 320 thousand euros per year.