Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU)
Photo: Sebastian Kahnert / dpa
Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) would like to travel to Moscow on Wednesday.
According to the Saxon State Chancellery, the trip “serves to further develop the good political, cultural and economic relations between Saxony and Russia”.
However, several delegates from Leipzig including Mayor Burkhard Jung have now canceled their participation at short notice.
As the state chancellery of the "Free Press" confirmed, neither the representatives of the city of Leipzig nor those of the Leipzig Chamber of Crafts will fly to Russia with them.
Leipzig itself also confirmed the cancellation.
“The risk of contagion in Moscow is real.
When weighing the costs and benefits of the trip, a disproportion is seen under the current conditions, "said a city spokeswoman.
However, efforts are being made to ensure that the city leaders of Leipzig and Moscow will soon meet in a video conference.
Not only Leipzig is critical of the trip. The Saxon Greens warned against a "cuddle course" with Russia. Not only the drastically deteriorating state of health of opposition leader Alexej Navalny "we are observing with great concern," said Saxon Green leader Norman Volger in Dresden. Russia is also endangering peace and security in Europe with maneuvers in the Black Sea and a deployment of troops on the border with Ukraine.
"This action is absolutely incompatible with our understanding of peace, human rights and European cohesion," explained Volger. The alliance green claim is to strengthen Russian civil society on the ground. The "cuddling course" with Russian officials is not the order of the day, explained the head of the Greens, who govern Saxony with the CDU and SPD. A trip to Russia should therefore be used to a large extent to constructively point out current problem areas and to address human rights.
Kretschmer is considered a friend of Russia.
He had repeatedly called for the sanctions to be lifted in Russia.
He defended his talks in Moscow: “Especially in difficult times you have to stay in dialogue.
Breaking off talks does not automatically lead to solutions. «In Moscow he also wants to seek talks with people who are critical of the government.
"Within the framework of friendly relations - as cultivated by the Free State of Saxony with Russia - difficult topics can and must be discussed." This also includes dealing with the Kremlin critic Navalny.
AfD parliamentary group leader travels with
The trip is mostly about cultural relationships. Kretschmer wants to open a joint exhibition of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and the Tretyakov Gallery with paintings from the Romantic period. A visit to Lomonosov University is also planned. The Technical University in Dresden wants to sign a letter of intent for cooperation with her. The delegation also includes the Saxon AfD party and parliamentary group leader Jörg Urban.
In the Saxon SPD, the trip was rated differently.
Kretschmer's deputy and Minister of Economic Affairs, Martin Dulig, supported Kretschmer's concern: "Russia has always been very important to East Germany and especially to Saxony." Contacts should not be lost, especially in difficult situations.
The SPD member of the state parliament, Hanka Kliese, is still critical of the trip.
The human rights situation in Russia was not only worrying since yesterday, she said.
mrc / dpa