Status: 06.12.2023, 05:06 a.m.
By: Marcus Giebel
Greetings from Moscow: Vladimir Putin highlights the once good relations between Russia and Germany. © IMAGO / ITAR-TASS
Vladimir Putin is using an appearance in front of new ambassadors to speak to Germany's conscience. He omits the reason for the cold relationship.
Moscow – Vladimir Putin has a special relationship with Germany. During his time with the Russian secret service, the current head of the Kremlin was stationed in Dresden for several years. His younger daughter was born in the Saxon capital. He understands and speaks the complicated language.
Putin on Germany: "Frozen state relations not beneficial for you"
Perhaps that's why Putin is particularly hard hit by the fact that Berlin has joined Western sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine war. At an official meeting to swear in around two dozen new foreign ambassadors, the 71-year-old spoke at length about the once so close bond between the two countries. And he literally spoke to Germany's conscience without going into the bloody cause of the division.
"The currently frozen state relations with Russia, which did not originate from us, as I would like to point out, are not beneficial for us or for you. In my opinion, especially not for Germany," Putin is quoted as saying by the Russian news agency TASS, which circulates a short video excerpt of his appearance on its Telegram channel.
These statements are interpreted in the report to mean that, according to Putin, Germany is suffering the most from the current ice age. Literally, the agency headlines: "Germany suffers the most". For a news agency, however, this is an unusual escalation of a political statement.
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In fact, the traffic light government had to procure raw materials such as oil and gas more expensively in a hurry and forge new partnerships. So far, the supply has been secured in Germany – but the price for this cannot be measured in euros alone. After all, the Federal Republic of Germany appears to be more internally divided than it has been since reunification, with the attitude towards Russia playing a role that should not be underestimated.
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In his speech, Russia's president mentioned that there had been "pragmatic, objective cooperation" between Moscow and Berlin and Bonn for almost half a century. This would have benefited not only the two countries, but probably also the entire European continent.
"Energy, in particular, has always been an attractive area for bilateral cooperation," Putin said, referring to one of Russia's core competencies and highlighting the advantages for the former best friend in the West: "Our country has been supplying Germany with environmentally friendly gas, oil and other energy products and raw materials reliably, without interruption and at affordable, reasonable prices for decades."
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This relationship has literally been undermined, "among other things, by sabotage of Nord Stream." Putin was recalling the explosions in the Baltic Sea that destroyed three of the four gas supply lines in September last year. The background is still not fully understood, but a trail seems to lead to Ukraine.
Apparently, by mentioning the alleged attack on the gas pipeline, Putin is trying to play off one of the most important supporters of the neighboring state, which has been invaded by his army, against Ukraine. In any case, he continued to embellish the common past between Russia and Germany in the most beautiful colors.
Vladimir Putin's guest: Among the two dozen or so new ambassadors in Moscow is FDP politician Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (5th from left). © IMAGO / ITAR-TASS
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"Russia, I would like to emphasize, has always been committed to building Russian-German relations on the principles of equality, mutual benefit and respect for each other's interests," he reiterated. However, Germany's dangerous dependence on Russian supplies became apparent when gas supplies were severely curtailed as a result of Western sanctions.
Moscow pushed forward maintenance work on the strings in the summer of 2022 to explain the lack of raw materials. The action seemed like a farce, because a missing turbine was cited as the reason for not resuming operation, but Russia refused to import the component.
Putin's Address to the Ambassadors: Hope for Improvement of Cooperation with Great Britain & Co.
According to the English-language online newspaper The Moscow Times, Putin also said during his appearance: "These are not easy times." Addressing the British ambassador, he said that since the end of the Second World War, the two countries had established relations: "But the current state of affairs is known and we should hope that the situation will change for the better, in the interests of both countries." The UK is also considered Ukraine's most important European ally because of its close ties with the US.
In the direction of the Swedish ambassador, he dropped that communication had come to a complete standstill. Stockholm is trying to join NATO because of Russian aggression.
Relations with South Korea are also "unfortunately going through a difficult phase". A few weeks ago, Putin had angered Seoul by receiving North Korea's ruler Kim Jong-Un. He apparently expects military equipment from this in order to be able to prolong his destructive campaign in Ukraine.
For several months now, the new German ambassador in Moscow has been the FDP politician Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, who is one of the fiercest critics of Putin in German politics. And this was years before the Ukraine war. So he will know how to classify the words he hears very precisely. (mg)