Stop Frau Merkel !

Остановить фрау Меркель. Влиятельные немцы призвали канцлера Германии отказаться от антироссийского курса

Influential Germans called German Chancellor abandon anti-Russian policies.

Subject: Sanctions.

More than 60 influential European politicians and public figures signed a declaration entitled “A new war in Europe? Not in our name “, which was sent to the federal government of Germany, the members of the Bundestag and the largest media Germany. The authors call for treatment Berlin to take on an important mission and begin the process of detente in relations with Russia.

The declaration states that in 1990 the society had hoped that the confrontation of East and West came to an end, and soon established a “new European order of peace and security from Vancouver to Vladivostok“, “common European home”. But politicians quickly forgotten about the need to abandon war as a method of solving conflicts” and now in Europe, people are afraid again.

In the opinion of those who signed the appeal, and among them, the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, former German Interior Minister Otto Schily, the head of the Eastern Committee of German Economy Eckhard Cordes, cosmonaut Sigmund Jahn, Dutch film director Wim Wenders and others, now the West is trying to “oust Russia of Europe “, which is contrary to history and dangerous for the world. After all, “since the days of the Congress of Vienna in 1814, Russia is one of the fundamental European countries“, and “all those who tried to force change this state of affairs, suffered a bloody failure“, including Hitler’s Germany.

The authors of the declaration indicate that NATO’s eastward expansion without deepening the dialogue with Moscow understandably causes concerns Russia. “The need for security is a Russian legal and as serious as that of the Germans, Poles, Balts and Ukrainians,” – the authors write, and as an example of “aggressive expansion of the Westresult in an invitation to Ukraine and Georgia into NATO in 2008. Politicians and public figures have come to the conclusion that the West needs to properly assess the gravity of the situation and resume a constructive dialogue with Russia. They also encourage the media to comply with the duty of convincing unbiased coverage of events as they often demonize whole nations without understanding their history.

In recent years, the rhetoric of Germany, which was considered the main “evroadvokatom” Russia is becoming increasingly fierce and peremptory. Hear whether Angela Merkel‘s call to review their policies?

In Germany, the first week is a discussion about how to deal with Russia as productive sanctions, in which Germany takes a leading role – says a leading researcher at the Department for European Policy Studies IMEMO, Germanic Alexander Kokeyev. There is an opinion of the government, and we must bear in mind that this is the opinion of the two largest parties of Germany: CDU / CSU coalition with the Social Democrats (though the latter in favor of a softer policy toward Russia).

But there is a certain amount of pressure on the government from different circles. This declaration is presented, for example, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who was appointed to one of the leading positions in the company, which is close to “Gazprom”. His friendly relations with our President. Merkel does not support this so-called “friendship sauna.”

Was named Cordes, industry representatives. Big business in Germany, firms such as Siemens, Adidas, BMW, Daimler-Benz and many other sanctions are concerned, as they bring them substantial losses. The list is also present Shealy, representatives of “green” and just people who pay attention to the fact that the sanctions do not give the West in ideological terms. Russia, by contrast, is increasingly rallying around the president, in the country there are anti-Western sentiment, which only aggravated by the sanctions. Therefore, there are voices and there are letters.

“SP”: How big is the value of such appeals, is there a chance to be heard?

I think it’s important. Germany – a country with the most extensive connections with Russia, which she in general, does not want to break. Yes, government support sanctions. But it must be emphasized that both the government and Merkel, and especially Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier advocated that the dialogue with Russia will not tear, to continue to use all possible diplomatic means. They are opposed to squeeze Russia out of the negotiation process, but at the same time in favor of retaining the sanctions because, in their view, Russia has committed illegal acts.

But, again, there is an opposite point of view. Is there a US pressure? Of course there is. But I would not be so exaggerated. With all the pressure of Germany, along with France during the American invasion of Iraq refused to participate. Unfortunately, now is not the only pressure, but also that the interests and views of the Allies on the Euro-Atlantic bloc largely coincide. Of course, such treatment of the public, where there is a major political figures and representatives of big business to play a role in the fact that Germany tries to not only maintain but also expand the dialogue.

“SP”: – Can Germany and the West to compromise, for example, in the expansion of NATO to the East?

In principle, it is possible. After the Georgian-Ossetian war Berlin, for example, took the position that we should not rush and promise of Georgia‘s membership in NATO. And even today, leading to the policy of sanctions Germany clearly says that Russia needs to be explained: the West is not ready to accept Ukraine into NATO. Another thing that is meant to NATO, saying safeguards.

Very often recall a conversation Helmut Kohl and Mikhail Gorbachev, when Russia allegedly promised not to expand NATO to the East. I will say, as a political scientist: these promises do not exist. Kohl promised to make this request, Gorbachev said that NATO is its understanding. But NATO can not promise anyone anything. The Union is founded on the fact that if someone wants to be a member, the entry ban for relations with third countries, the Alliance can not. If the country will ask NATO membership will be a question on how she is ready for it. Georgia is not ready because it has an internal conflict. Ukraine certainly not ready, there are fights, it still considers its Crimea. On its accession to NATO in the foreseeable future, even out of the question.

“SP”: And in the future be?

In the process of NATO enlargement Russia’s interests must be taken into account. Initially, it was a requirement that the Alliance is not approaching our borders. But he approached and extended. Now the West clearly understands that Russia pressed and under pressure, and that Ukraine may take the unit. Therefore, in the West say they are not ready to join her. In this regard, it was Germany, not the US or weakened France, with all the complexities of the current relationship remains our main partner. Germany’s role in the world in recent years has increased very much. Therefore, Russia is also trying to identify their position. Characteristically, President Putin in his message to the Federal Assembly said “our European friends” and not simply “the European countries.” Russia remains ready to consider them as friends if they are willing to consider our interests. The situation is very difficult, but there are prospects for an agreement, including on sensitive issues such as NATO enlargement is not. But no promises, no guarantees can be expected.

Director of the Center for German Studies, Institute of Europe Vladislav Belov believes that a significant part of German society shares the view expressed in the Declaration. But the government’s position does not coincide with it.

In Germany, have not conducted surveys, which were set to clear questions, not formulated in such a way as to obtain a particular response. Therefore it is difficult to say how German society supports and thinks along the same lines as the authors of the appeal. To some extent you can judge by the blogs and comments to articles. It seems to me that the majority of the discussion participants, in general, agree with this view. Not accidentally closed the Süddeutsche Zeitung comments on articles related to Russian subjects.

If we talk about the official Berlin‘s position here is different. It is extremely tough and condemns Russia’s policy towards Ukraine. This is reflected not only in the criticism of Moscow and support the sanctions, but in excessive rigidity in the Russian top political leadership. While the conflict in Ukraine is not allowed, neither Angela Merkel nor her government‘s position will not change.

“SP”: – Is the German society to accept the position expressed in the declaration, or propaganda has done its job?

– German society is divided. There are actively thinking part of it on their perception of the situation closer to those who signed a petition. Declaration because seeks to strengthen the dialogue on the transition from hard-liners who preach Merkel for talks. There is a call to return the discussion platforms, which closed today an indirect criticism appeal Merkel freeze “Petersburg Dialogue”.

But there is a passive part, which is guided by a propaganda machine. This and television, and print media, which are generally very negatively disposed towards Russia and form a subjective picture, often do not match reality. That part of the society that consumes propaganda cud not accept this treatment. So far I have not seen a large number of references in the German media on this declaration. Quite possibly, it will remain unnoticed.

“SP”: In recent years, we thought our main partner of Germany in Europe. Why is the current tough stance?

This position is associated with a shock that experienced ordinary citizens and politicians in Germany on the speed with which the Crimea moved from one state to another jurisdiction. For the Germans it is unacceptable in view of their historical memory associated with the decoupling and the consequences of the Second World War. They regard the incident as an armed redistribution of boundaries. In Europe and Germany, there is no understanding of the complex processes that occurred after December 1991 is the international legal framework, since the Soviet Union collapsed outside the existing Constitution.

“SP”: The expansion of NATO to the East does not violate the international security system?

The system in general is in deep crisis. Next year marks 40 years of the Helsinki Act. Events in Ukraine became the catalyst that forces a lot of things and discuss the current situation in Europe as a whole. Such a call of politicians and public figures – a good reason to start a comprehensive discussion about the European security system, including Russia’s fears regarding NATO’s eastward expansion.

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