Just over a year ago, on April 29, 2021, the handover of the Hanseatic city without a fight at the end of the Second World War was commemorated in Greifswald.

A plaque was unveiled to commemorate the commander of the 90th Rifle Division of the Red Army, Major General Nikolay Lyashchenko.

At the time, he had been persuaded by the Greifswald city commander, Rudolf Petershagen, that the city would surrender without resistance.

Markus Wehner

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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The inauguration of the commemorative plaque was initiated by the Russian Oleg Eremenko, a grandson of the Soviet major general.

Eremenko also thought up the installation of a 30 x 40 centimeter commemorative plaque, the city of Greifswald had it made, it was placed next to the mayor's office, "because the formal act of handover without a fight was carried out in this room", as the city said communicates.

Eremenko also awarded the city of Greifswald a medal "For Officer Honor" posthumously to Rudolf Petershagen, as the city reports on its website.

Present at the ceremony were the Lord Mayor (OB) of Greifswald, Stefan Fassbinder from the Greens, who has a doctorate in history, the Russian Ambassador Sergei Netschajew and Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig from the SPD.

A photo shows Schwesig with the mayor, the ambassador and Eremenko in front of the Greifswald town hall.

Schwesig, who has appeared with the Russian Ambassador at numerous events such as the Russia Days in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, gave a short speech.

In it, she said that the commemoration helps "to process the history with its many facets and to remember it".

There were also facets to be discovered in relation to the person who initiated the commemoration.

Because Oleg Eremenko works in Berlin for an ominous Russian association that calls itself "Ofizery Rossii", in English officers of Russia.

According to his business card, he calls himself "Official Representative of the All-Russian Organization 'Officials of Russia' in Germany".

After the event, the "Officers of Russia" announced on their website that their association had put up a commemorative plaque in Greifswald, not the Hanseatic city itself.

With reference to this association, Eremenko has collected numerous funds in Germany in recent years, including for the "Defenders of Donbass", i.e. for the separatist "People's Republics" in Donetsk and Luhansk.

To raise money for Soviet WWII veterans, he worked with former East German top agent Rainer Rupp, who used the alias "Topas" to spy on NATO headquarters for the Warsaw Pact from 1977 to 1989.

As a publicist, Rupp now defends Putin's policies and recently described Ukraine as the "most fascist country in Europe".

A film about Rupp on YouTube shows him hugging Eremenko before leaving Berlin before traveling to Russia.

Thanks to Rupp's dedication, Eremenko was able to collect large sums of money.

At the end of 2020, Rupp called for donations for the last living Soviet veterans of World War II via the KenFM portal, which became known in circles of conspiracy supporters.

According to Rupp, on January 5, 2021, a check for a good 100,000 euros was handed over to Eremenko at the Soviet War Memorial in the Tiergarten.

The action should also send a signal "against a foreign policy of sanctions" against Russia, said Uli Gellermann from KenFM in a speech at the time.