Recent developments around Navalny and Nord Stream-2 prove beyond doubt that, despite all its economic weight, Germany remains captive to its WWII guilt complex, which disqualifies it as a leader of EU’s policy towards Russia. German foreign policy towards Russia has deep historical anchors, which invariably reproduce a matrix of exclusivity and guilt in relations with Russia. The motives have not changed over time – the hinterland with guaranteed access to raw materials, and Berlin’s desire to mediate between kings, secretaries-general and presidents, as a “door” to the West, with all the resulting material benefits for German business and politicians.
The Nord Stream-2 project is a symbol of this very policy. Germany is Russia’s middleman, helping Gazprom dominate the European gas market, shielding it from LNG competition (not a single import facility), accumulating the benefits of this mediation. Most of the 55 billion cubic meters in the second line of the NS pipeline – 29 billion – is destined for export from Germany to Western, Central and Eastern Europe.
Recent statements by German President Steinmeier and Chancellor Merkel indicate that there is no red line of conformism that Berlin is not ready to cross despite being aware of the severe consequences for the country’s reputation in the EU and NATO.
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The geostrategic equation is explicit – the more extreme the confrontation between Russia and NATO, the higher the cost of “the special” relationship between Berlin and Moscow. For many observers, Germany’s zombie Nord Stream-2-type policies, betray degrees of pathological dependence that erode Allied confidence in German leaders.
For all his assertiveness and arrogance, Vladimir Putin is a politician of realities, recognizing the limits of his power against a Reagan-type containment policy. The Kremlin has neither the resources nor the allies to fight it.
FM Lavrov humiliated one of the most pro-Kremlin EU commissioners, Borrell, who was sent by Merkel to Moscow to negotiate a Navalny conflict de-escalation.
Putin’s paranoia over Navalny’s return and arrest, forced other European leaders out of disguise, making them useless as future Kremlin assets. Steinmeier’s statement about Nord Stream 2 as redemption for Nazi atrocities does not only destroy the project’s “business” packaging but unequivocally reveals the depth of the German elite’s guilt complex that the Kremlin exploits.
There is no historical logic as the victims of Nazism in Eastern Europe, especially in Ukraine exceed those in today’s Russia. However, political factors explain Germany’s current policies, saying that the defining feature is self-interest.
Schroeder’s Germany helped Putin imprison Khodorkovsky. Hans-Dietrich Genscher’s Germany negotiated his release with Putin in exchange for his exile.
Merkel’s Germany sheltered the main opposition Navalny, poisoned on Putin’s orders, to preserve some residual moral credit to continue to help the Russian president implement Nord Stream-2. Merkel’s Germany will again try to negotiate with Putin to calm down the situation around Navalny and tone down the regime’s extremes to make room for the continuation of Germany’s Eastern policy with Russia.
In this regard, it is worth following Julia Navalna’s “private” visit to Germany.
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