Hands off

Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel arrived in Russia for talks with Vladimir Putin almost immediately after the visit to the United States. The politician revealed that Berlin continues the dialogue with Moscow in their own interests, not intending in the framework of solidarity with the Americans to abandon contacts with its Eastern neighbor. While representatives of most of the German parties and businessmen advocating for the abolition of anti-Russian sanctions, new head Mead Germany unexpectedly turned against Moscow. “the Tape.ru” find out how strong the Russian-German friendship and what to do Moscow, in order not to quarrel with traditional partner.

During the meeting, trump and Merkel, without exaggeration, watched the whole world: relations of two major leaders of TRANS-Atlantic unity were limping on both legs. Between them there was no personal chemistry, the Americans came out of the Iranian nuclear deal against the will of Europe, the European manufacturers of steel and aluminium was preparing to enter duties from the US.

the Admission came scanty: in contrast to the long official visit of French leader Emmanuel Macron, there was no greeting of artillery salvos, no trips to the former residence of the first President of the United States George Washington mount Vernon, nor a dinner party at the White house. The same happened and negotiations. Despite the fact that both sides tried to keep a good mine at bad game, and trump comically tried to shake Merkel’s hand, in fact nothing came: the decision on the Iranian deal is preserved, the duties on European goods is not canceled.

as soon as he returned to Berlin, Merkel went to Russia. In the West, noticed that the head of the German government is one of the few European leaders to preserve the dialogue with Russia. Merkel is also one of the first arrived for a meeting with Vladimir Putin after his inauguration. Observers have noticed another fact: the second person, whom he embraced him after his inauguration on 7 may, was a former Chancellor of Germany Gerhard schröder, repeatedly trying to establish stalled relations between the two countries.

Despite the relatively frequent contacts between the leaders of Russia and Germany, relations between Berlin and Moscow are experiencing one of the most difficult periods in the post-Soviet era. Economic ties are virtually frozen political and cultural stalled. The situation is complicated by the fact that Russia, according to Germany, the last time becoming more unpredictable, which annoys accustomed to the order of the Germans.

the Crack in relations between Moscow and Berlin was formed immediately after the annexation of Crimea to Russia in March 2014. The subsequent events in Eastern Ukraine deepened. Berlin, in the past always tried to maintain dialogue with Russia, now operates within the framework of European policy. Germany has taken a tough stance in favor of anti-Russian sanctions, despite the fact that they hurt German business.

This position is Berlin, then surprised and disappointed by the Russian authorities, who did not realize that Germany is a member of EU, and not only a separate country. Despite its leading position in the European Union, Berlin can not be considered with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which, because of historical animosity adhere to a rigid position.

the business community more opportunities: entrepreneurs are trying to build relations with Moscow in his field. They are in Russia intersect with the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the Munich international security conference. So, opening this year’s negotiations, the head of the Eastern Committee of German economy Wolfgang Buchele said that the losses due to sanctions restrictions between the EU and Russia in 2014 exceeded 100 billion euros. According to him, the German business strongly against restrictive measures.

Try to influence Merkel and the leaders of the chemical concern BASF, the companies Siemens, Volkswagen, Adidas, and Deutsche Bank, constantly urging to abandon the anti-Russian policy. However, to go to them to make concessions the Chancellor can not, because it threatens her serious image losses in the eyes of the European community.

However, not only businessmen, but also some politicians have urged German authorities not to tear down the connection, nalazhivatsya decades. The main agents of such a policy were the Ministers of foreign Affairs of Germany from the Social democratic party (SPD) Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Sigmar Gabriel — both played for the consistent rapprochement with Moscow and the gradual lifting of sanctions.

Representatives of the SPD call themselves “political grandchildren of the [former German Chancellor from the social Democrats] Willy Brandt,” the adherents of the “new Eastern policy” towards Russia (“Eastern policy” Willy Brandt was aimed at easing tensions between the FRG and the USSR and countries of Eastern and Western Europe in General). In many ways, their political beliefs and attitudes against Moscow formed a complex of guilt for unleashing the Fuhrer of the Third Reich the war against the Soviet Union and post-war reconciliation.

Steinmeier and Gabriel hoped that the new foreign Minister Heiko Maas (he was formerly Minister of justice) will continue their policy of rapprochement with Russia, however, this has not happened yet. Quite the contrary — Meuse, not experiencing guilt, releases pretty harsh remarks in the address of Moscow, which outraged his party.

He stressed he was not against dialogue with Russia, but not ready to make concessions: for him, more important than human rights and observance of the rule of law, which in Russia problems. The politician uses the word “hostility” toward Moscow, and in an interview with Spiegel, he compared Russian President Vladimir Putin, Donald trump and Recep Tayyip erdoğan with the party “Alternative for Germany”, known for his “nationalist, authoritarian and inimical to women’s rights.”

While the head of the German foreign Ministry criticizes Moscow for positive signals she sent other policies. For example, former Prime Minister of Bavaria Horst Seehofer, now occupying the post of head interior Ministry Germany. Despite the cooling of relations between Berlin and Moscow, he visited the Russian capital to restore existing economic ties and establishing new contacts. Politician was originally a consistent opponent of anti-Russian sanctions, repeatedly noting that restrictions on trade with Russia detrimental to the Bavarian economy and agriculture.

In some areas the Germans continue cooperation with Russia, acting in circumvention of the sanctions. One of the biggest scandals was the case with the supply of gas turbines for Siemens in the Crimea. Turbine sold to the joint venture Siemens and “security vehicles”, where the German company had 65 percent of the shares. After the scandal was leaked to the media, the Germans tried to deny the incident, claiming that had no idea about the supply to the Peninsula. To save face, Siemens had to return put of the turbine. Cooperation to bypass the sanctions began to hide even more carefully, but it continues.

supporters of the revision of the sanctions policy of Berlin towards Moscow found in the current Bundestag. Of the seven parties that entered the German Parliament after the elections on 24 September last year, five in favor of a review of the sanctions policy against Russia. Against — only the CDU, with Merkel and “green”.

So, 38-year-old head of the Free democratic party (FDP) Christian Lindner urged to “freeze” the issue of recognition of the Crimea and to cooperate with Russia where possible. Special relations with Russia and Deputy Chairman of the far-right party “Alternative for Germany” Alexander Gauland. Known for his provocative statements the politician has repeatedly said that “Crimea primordially Russian territory”. However, he almost immediately declared that the Germans can be proud of the deeds of their soldiers in both world wars. However, in Russia, then this few people paid attention.

Another lawyer of Russia in Germany called the Left party (Die Linke). Its representatives have traditionally criticized the German government, capitalism and Western policies. The party leader Sahra wagenknecht has consistently advocated the revision of anti-Russian policy.

could Not try to establish relations between Moscow and Berlin, “an old friend of Russia”, or as it is called in Germany “man who has long been friendly with Putin” — former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. As soon as he left the chair of the Chancellor to him, Russia offered a new job in the structure associated with Gazprom. For that at home he received the derisive nickname GAZ-Gerd. From September 2017, he is Chairman of the Board of Directors company of JSC NK “Rosneft”.

Western media have repeatedly ridiculed the fact that Schroeder and Putin have developed warm relations with Merkel. Friendly relations between the two men in Germany called “sauna friendship”, implying not just good political contacts and personal affection. However, between Putin and the current Chancellor is an understanding that is sufficient to maintain the dialogue: Chancellor born in East Germany, knows Russian, the Russian leader speaks German — they both have a good base for fruitful dialogue.

brings together the heads of the two States and the attitude of the Russian gas pipeline project “Nord stream-2” which should bind our two countries under the Baltic sea. For many European colleagues of the Chancellor, he became a bone in the throat. Many people do not like the fact that Putin and Merkel often talk on the phone, discussing details of the project, and that the dividends from it will get is Germany, which will turn into a gas hub of Western Europe.

At the meetings with European colleagues the Chancellor tirelessly explains that the pipeline will bring benefits to all EU countries, but not all believe her. So, Finland has agreed to build, and Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine, bypassing that will put a branch oppose. Kiev, frightened by the prospect of losing the loading of its gas transport system scares Europe the Russian invasion after the launch of the pipeline. US supply Poland threatens sanctions involved in the project to foreign companies. The Wall Street Journal learned that the American leader Donald trump urged Merkel to abandon support of the project of construction of the pipeline “Nord stream-2”. In exchange, he offered the EU a new agreement on mutual trade.

the EU has attempted to convince Berlin in relation to the “Nord stream-2”, using the publicity surrounding the poisoning of former employee GRU Sergei Skripal and his daughter, but Merkel remained adamant. Not seen in the special sympathies for Russia, the Chancellor calls the new pipeline “purely economic project”.

preparation for the beginning of its construction enters the home stretch, so the active cooperation in this sphere will continue. Despite the economic success from the start of the project, between Russia and Germany remain the serious political differences. Even with the lifting of sanctions in the future, Moscow and Berlin will have to spend a lot of effort to restore the lost trust, to get to the level that existed prior to 2014.

Despite the difficult history of relations between our countries in the twentieth century, the Russians in January 2014 considered Germany as one of the most friendly to Russia countries, which do not expect danger. In Germany was similar.

currently, only 15 percent of Germans see Russia as a predictable and reliable partner, another 70 percent in favor of tougher sanctions against our country. Germany is ready to listen to Russia, ready to go with her on contact, sometimes even turning a blind eye to transatlantic solidarity, but Russia must be ready to make concessions and compromises: for example, do not take care of human rights and norms of democracy empty chatter, but designed to divert attention from major economic problems.