Growing pressure on Merkel to normalize ties with Russia

Mutiny on the Merkel ship: Voices supporting rapprochement with Russia are getting louder.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
5 2,104

Kamran Hasanov, in Tsargrad

Mutiny on the Merkel ship: Voices supporting rapprochement with Russia are getting louder.
Several politicians from the ruling party in Germany advocated the immediate abolition of anti-Russian sanctions. The pressure on Angela Merkel is growing not only from the Social Democrats (SPD), but also from her own faction (CDU), and her “Bavarian sister” (the CSU).

In Europe, the number of supporters of restoring relations with Russia is growing. Their voices are getting louder. They are now talking about normalizing relations with our country not only in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, but also in the countries of Western Europe.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz openly supports the lifting of sanctions against Russia, saying today that the United States is “unreliable” for Europe. In Italy, the parliamentary elections were won by parties that set similar goals for the future government.

And now it is Germany’s turn.
The members of the second party in the Bundestag, which is part of the ruling coalition, are demanding reconsideration of relations with Russia. Today, the top echelon of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) is holding a meeting on its foreign policy line. On the eve, several influential deputies criticized the tough course of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The Social Democrat had earlier accused Russia of “aggression” in Ukraine and “growing hostility.” [Translator comment: New German FM Heiko Maas has so far shown himself to be a simple parrot of the US State Department. Perhaps if his own party works on him…]

At the same time, Der Spiegel magazine notes that some of the deputies from Maas’ own party prefer to act in the style of the former Chancellor of Germany Willy Brandt, who put a priority on rapprochement with the USSR and the Warsaw pact countries.

In the forefront of the reformers is the Prime Minister of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania region, Manuela Schleswig.

“Germany and Russia have a common interest to return anew to a close partnership. <…> I believe that it is in the interests of Germany and Russia to lift mutual sanctions,” Schleswig said in an interview with the newspaper Die Welt.

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The deputy has real grounds for such statements. The sanctions have caused great damage to Germany, primarily to agriculture. And German farmers can not say the situation has improved, since they can no longer supply cheese to Russia, Schleswig added. And she summed it up:

“After four years of mutual economic sanctions, we can state that they have not achieved their goals.”

Schleswig’s opinion is shared by the leaders of other federal states of Germany. Thus, the prime minister of Brandenburg, Dietmar Wojde, also from the SPD, suggested moving from confrontation to cooperation.

“We need to get out of the escalation spiral. This is the only way to success. <…> Tanks on both sides of the border will not help us,” said Vojdke in a conversation with Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

Such sentiments reign not only within the SPD, but also among some representatives of the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt and member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Rainer Haseloff, according to Schleswig, “wants a mutual lifting of sanctions.” For the removal of restrictive measures, Merkel’s junior partners in the ruling coalition, members of the Christian-Social Union (CSU), whose leader Horst Seehofer is the German Minister of the Interior, are also taking action. The vice-president of the Bundestag and the leader of the SPD, Thomas Opperman, has also called for dialogue.

Political figures openly calling for lifting sanctions against Russia testifies to structural changes in German politics. After all, it is not the representatives of the opposition party “Alternative for Germany” who spoke from the very beginning of rapprochement with Moscow about this. We are talking about the first persons of the ruling parties in Germany, Merkel’s partners in the coalition and the heads of the federal states.

Adding to all this the recent visit of the Chancellor herself to Sochi and the “constructive” (according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov) visit of Maas to Moscow, one can conclude that Berlin has really started building bridges. Whether this is due to the ineffectiveness of the sanctions themselves, the failure of the EU in Ukraine, the pressure of Washington on Brussels or the strengthening of Eurosceptics is a separate issue.

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