Germany Divided about Approach to Russia - SPIEGEL ONLINE
Deep historical and economic ties mean the relationship between Germany and Russia is both complex and nuanced. PDF | On Feb 9, , Kari Liuhto and others published The economic relations between Germany and Russia. For a quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall in , relations between Russia and Germany progressed steadily. Berlin tried to.
We should forego verbal escalation.
The Russia question is no longer some academic exercise in foreign policy circles. Ever since the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany has adopted the issue as a central plank in its political platforms, German-Russian relations have become a crucial election issue, particularly in eastern Germany. Indeed, there is a deep division in Germany that runs between the east and the west and between Russophiles and Russia sceptics. The division cuts through the country's established parties, particularly the Social Democrats but the disconnect is also apparent in the CDU and even within the pro-business Free Democrats FDP.
The Russia issue is one that crosses party lines. FDP leader Christian Lindner likewise belongs to this group. They are in favor of clear criticism, toughness on sanctions and the setting of clear limits.
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- Germany–Russia relations
They favor dialogue, dismantling sanctions and even readmitting Putin to the G And then there are the far-left Left Party and the far-right AfD, both of which are completely uncritical if not admiring of Russia and its authoritarian model. One side argues that Putin is shifting borders within Europe, destabilizing Ukraine, seeking to divide the European Union and carrying out a covert cyberwar against the West.
They emphasize Germany's historic responsibility toward Russia and they demand a realistic approach. An understanding with Russia is absolutely necessary, they say.
And, they add, Russia is more than just Putin. Every new foreign minister finds the move into the Foreign Ministry a challenge.
Germany and Russia's contradictory relationship
On the one hand, Germany's foreign policy is marked by continuity and reliability. On the other hand, every new minister wants to raise their own profile. And that's also true of Heiko Maas. Searching for an issue where he could distinguish himself from his predecessors Steinmeier and Gabriel, Maas decided on Russia.
Germany–Russia relations - Wikipedia
Furthermore, with the relationship between the West and Russia already at a low point, the risk of doing damage to Germany's broader foreign policy goals was limited. Nevertheless, Maas underestimated how sensitive an issue it was, particularly within his own party.
Even those who were early supporters of his appointment to the Foreign Ministry have privately expressed irritation. How can someone from the party's left wing, they wonder, suddenly take a tougher stance toward Moscow? Even in the Chancellery there has been a fair degree of bewilderment about the new minister, to the point that Merkel and her people approached leading Social Democrats to ask what, exactly, their foreign minister was up to.
Indeed, a recent meeting of the party's executive committee turned into something of a tribunal. But that could start a public debate many politicians are loathe to have — namely about the role and ability of Germany's intelligence agencies.
Hacks on Germany's government and parliamentboth of which are suspected of emanating from Russia, showed that the country's intelligence agencies were not prepared to stop foreign cyberattacks, said the DPAG's Meister.
Public debate over German defense policy raises similar concerns over preparedness. That assessment is held by many in the capital — and across party lines — but it is not one that is shared publicly. Germany seeking a new role The government is much more active, however, when it comes to the international stage. The Normandy format talks saw Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine hold talks on the conflict in eastern Ukraine How might things progress over the next four years?
That would cost, among other things, money. Money for the military and the intelligence agencies. That, in turn, would demand a certain amount of political will, which would have to be sold to voters. Both experts agreed that politicians must find a way to close the gap between the expectations being placed on Germany from the outside and the mentality of voters at home.
Germany–Soviet Union relations, 1918–1941
The two also agreed that a public debate in Germany could help the government in dealing with Russia. A harder line with Heiko Maas?
A good example of that fact could be seen in a press release issued by outgoing Foreign Minister Gabriel on the nerve agent attack in the UK: