The German company Optronic HR on Thursday confirmed it was looking for Russian-speaking extras to act as civilians during NATO drills in Bavaria.
Optronic HR had posed numerous job ads offering Russian speaking extras a daily 88-120 euros ($94-$129) for pretending to be farmers, shop owners and other improvised local residents in fictitious villages that were set up at the Hohenfels training grounds for upcoming NATO drills due to take place on April 28-May 15.
“We are just looking for Russian speakers, so they would look European… German is also required, as the drills are taking place in Germany and the story and the roles are in German. You live in barracks but you cannot leave the accommodation. So you live for 15-18 days without internet, alcohol, telephones or drugs. Work will take up 10 hours at most, the rest is free time,” Optronic’s human resources department representative Polina Borroth said while broadcast by the Rossiya 24 channel.
Optronic HR has been recruiting people to take part in NATO drills for over a decade. The company also produces lasers for military applications. The relevant job ad is still up on its website us-statisten.de and states that the extras will represent the local population of a crisis-hit region in order for NATO troops to prepare for missions abroad. The extras are expected to have a basic knowledge of English, German, Polish or Czech aside from Russian. They will wear infrared detectors to determine if they would have been hit by soldiers on battlefield.
Commentators said the setting for the drills indicated preparations for offensive rather than defensive operations.
Germany’s Federal Employment Agency said it would look into the issue.