Are German elections the next frontier of Russia-sponsored 'Fake News?'

Xenia Tan
Johannes Simon | Getty Images

The possibility of Russian interference in German elections is "not too comforting," a former German defense minister told CNBC, adding that polls later this year will be a testing ground as relations are tense.

While both Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to the necessity of dialogue, "they mainly agree to disagree on, more or less, every single topic that was at stake – maybe Syria, maybe the Ukraine, maybe the question of potential interference in elections," according to Karl-Theodor Zu Guttenberg, who served as minister of defense from late 2009 to early 2011 in a Merkel-led government. He resigned over a plagiarism scandal.

This potentially means areas of contention between both countries will not be resolved, raising the possibility of interference by Russia in the upcoming elections in September. With no proof of the opposite, Guttenberg told CNBC's Squawk Box . He added that "there is some rather harsh discussion ongoing in Germany [on] whether this is accelerating."

Johannes Simon | Getty Images

In early May, Merkel made her first bilateral visit to Russia since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 from Ukraine. The visit comes ahead of the a G20 summit in July and the German federal elections in September, which early polls suggest she is poised to do well enough in to form a new coalition government.

This worry comes on the back of Russia allegedly having a hand in swaying the U.S. elections.

"We've heard the debates in France, we have seen what has happened or maybe not happened, from a Russian perspective in the U.S. It is something which is being put into perspective, [and] is not too comforting," he said.

The lack of difficulty in swaying public opinion is an increasing worry by German politicians. In the last two years, approximately one million refugees have arrived in Germany. Almost simultaneously, the proliferation of "fake news" and racism has risen.

However, Guttenberg said Merkel's party, the Christian Democartic Union, has no reason to be threatened and are "regarded as the front runners." While he would not exclude the idea that the Alternative for Germany party is likely getting support from Russia, they have "stagnated over the last two months."

Even so, there are a few more months to the German elections and Guttenberg cautioned that "a lot of things can happen. There are some words that we might face another wave of refugees heading to Germany this summer. You'll never know whether there will be another terror attack. So that could play out badly for her."

Furthermore, Russia still has a stake in Europe and that gives them reason to watch the EU and the countries within it.

"I think Russia is still highly dependent on the European market and a lot of people in Russia have a cultural affinity towards Europe," Guttenberg said, "I think there is prevailing interest to keep the Europeans, at least at a healthy length."

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