Germany detained 25 supporters and members of a far right group. The prosecutor said that they were planning a violent overthrow to the state in order to install a prince, who sought Russian support.
Prosecutors claimed that the conspiracy theories of Germany’s Reichsbuerger, and QAnon inspired the group. Their advocates were also among the people arrested following the January 2021 storming at the U.S. Capitol.
The Reichsbuerger, or Citizens of the Reich, does not recognize modern-day Germany to be a valid state. While some of these people are loyal to the German Empire under monarchy while others are followers of Nazi ideas, many believe that Germany is currently under military occupation.
According to prosecutors, the plot involved a member of a German royal household, Heinrich XIII P.R. as the leader of a future state. Ruediger, another suspect would head the military arm with the goal of creating a new Germany Army.
Prosecutors said that the group copied the government’s structure and created a “council”, which had been meeting regularly since November 2021. It was an administration-in-waiting with various departments such as health and foreign affairs.
The group said Heinrich who is referred to as a prince, and was a descendant of the royal Houses of Reuss which ruled parts of eastern Germany had reached out the representatives of Russia. This Russian representative, the group considered its main contact, it claimed, helped establish its new order. The group denied that the Russian representatives responded positively to its request.
The House of Reuss and Prince Reuss Office did not respond to our requests for comment.
A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said that security agencies are closely monitoring any contact with Russia.
According to the Kremlin, there is no evidence of Russian involvement in an alleged plot by far-right groups to overthrow Germany’s state. Dmitry Peskov said that this was a German problem internal to Dmitry Peskov.
Nancy Faeser, the Interior Minister of Germany, stated that the German government would respond to the allegations with all the force and consequences of law.
Faeser stated that “The investigations give a glimpse into a terrorist threat coming from the Reichsbuerger environment,” and added that “the enemies to democracy” knew how the constitution could defend itself.
Faeser stated that she will present in the coming days a bill to make it simpler to fire civil servants who are deemed enemies of the Constitution.
A spokesperson from the military intelligence services said that one active soldier was being examined, as well as several reservists. This soldier belongs to the KSK elite force of Bundeswehr, which was overhauled recently due to far-right incidents.
Prosecutors said that the group was involved in procuring equipment and trying to recruit members. They also held shooting lessons. They stated that the main focus was on recruiting members of the police and military.
According to German prosecutors, a former lawmaker for the far-right Alternative For Germany was also detained.
The AfD issued a statement condemning the efforts of the far-right group and expressing confidence that the authorities will quickly clarify the matter.
Prosecutors said that investigators believe the members had plans to attack the Bundestag in Berlin, the lower house of Parliament.
Wolfgang Kubicki (Vice President of the Bundestag) stated to the Rheinische Post that the building had been prepared for attack and they knew of possible threat situations. “The group’s plans were doomed when they were made.”
The plot revelations bring back memories of protesters storming the Reichstag building in Germany during the August 2020 mass march against coronavirus curbs.
Germany’s national intelligence agency has assigned around 21,000 individuals to the Reichsbuerger movement (Citizens of the Reich), with about 5% of these people being far-right extremists.
According to local media, Heinrich had been previously criticized by the House of Reuss for being a confused man who believed in conspiracy theories.
The German monarchy was abolished over a century ago. The legal rights and titles granted to German nobility by the Weimar Constitution, which was enacted on August 14, 1919, were eliminated. In Germany, there is no official prince or princess.
Prosecutors claimed that raids were carried out by over 3,000 security officers and police personnel from 11 German Federal States. According to the office, suspects were also detained in Austria and Italy.
Eight suspects are currently in pre-trial custody. They will appear before a judge Wednesday and Thursday, to decide the next steps.
Italian police claimed that they have arrested an ex-military officer from Germany aged 64 in Perugia. The case is being investigated and extradition procedures are underway.
According to the military intelligence service, it said that they had cooperated with the prosecutors in their investigation. They also shared information with federal criminal investigators and domestic intelligence services during the week leading up Wednesday’s raids.