14 June 2022 12: 24

How Angela Merkel "appeased" Putin

"Appeasement" did not work.

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How Angela Merkel appeased Putin

Angela Merkel gave her first interview since leaving her position as German chancellor at the end of 2021, speaking to Der Spiegel. The conversation itself, which, by the way, was broadcast live, looked more like an attempt to make excuses for the relationship with Putin. And in general, questions about Russia and its president took up most of the interview.

In the printed version of the interview, the headline was - "Don't blame me."

Interview of Angela Merkel on "friendship" with Putin

Merkel responded to criticism leveled at her after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. At the time, many said that as chancellor she was engaged in “appeasement” of Vladimir Putin and that empty promises of Ukrainian membership in NATO only worsened the situation.

In the vastness of the Western press, there are a lot of reviews of this interview. We took one of the last ones to tell you about it. This review was published on the Bloomberg website by Andreas Kluth, who titled his article: "Merkel will go down in history as the Neville Chamberlain of our time."

Let's get it right, oh what Merkel said and how she resembles the British prime minister of the 1930s.

Black pants, blue V-neck jacket, the same amber beads, the same hairstyle. Angela Merkel looks as if she came straight from the office of the federal chancellor, from which, after 16 years, she retired six months ago, for a conversation with a Spiegel journalist.

During this time, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge. But the importance of this woman, and especially the chancellor, cannot be underestimated.

Merkel was the first and so far the only woman to hold the post of Chancellor of Germany. She has been named the most powerful woman in the world ten times by Forbes magazine.

Merkel's speeches today are more like acquittals. In general, questions about Russia and its president occupied most of it.

Politics of Merkel and Putin

Let's have a little background. The friendship between Merkel and Putin has been talked about for years. Someone said that this friendship is around a gas pipe, someone said otherwise.

Merkel flew to Moscow for the first time on an official visit to Russia in early 2006. In the same 2006, Merkel and Putin met publicly at least 5 times.

Merkel and Putin

At the time, Merkel calls Russia a partner that will only increase political stability in Europe if Moscow is allowed into the European economy. Although even then, somewhere in the background, there were statements from London and Washington about the EU's dangerous dependence on Russian energy resources. Merkel insists on her own.

At that time, everything looked different. Putin speaks German, Merkel speaks Russian. He served in East Germany, she was born there. At the beginning of the XNUMXs, Russian and German media increasingly predicted warm relations between the countries.

Putin wrapped Merkel in a blanket, congratulated her on the holidays, gave flowers, invited her to breakfast, and even introduced her to his dog.

Merkel and Putin

Just a few words about the dog. The context of such a strange acquaintance is interesting. At the first meeting with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president gave Merkel a toy dog. Accompanying the gift with the words: "I heard that you have a problem with dogs?"

Already during the next meeting with Merkel, Putin's famous labrador ran into the room where this meeting was held.

Merkel and Putin's dog

The appearance of the dog obviously frightened Merkel: she was once bitten by a dog, and since then she has been afraid of them. Putin could not be unaware of this weakness. But he "leaned back (in his chair), legs wide apart, and enjoyed the moment," - this is how the American The New Yorker described this situation.

The article cites Angela Merkel's own commentary on that episode: "I understand why he has to do this - to show that he is a man. He is afraid of his own weakness, because Russia has nothing - no successful politics, no economy."

The Russian leader explained that, on the contrary, he wanted to do something nice by showing his dog. He also said that he later explained to Merkel and apologized for it.

Here is such an interesting story.

Putin and his "Munich speech"

In 2007, Putin delivers his "Munich Speech", which experts on both sides of the Atlantic called a very disturbing signal.

Already in the summer of 2008, Georgia happened. And in the spring of the same year, at the summit in Bucharest, Merkel listened to the position of the Kremlin and did not support the rapprochement of Georgia and Ukraine with NATO.

Already now, in her new interview, Merkel said she had long understood that Putin "hated" democracy and wanted to "destroy" the European Union, which he saw as a drug to join NATO for former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, which he considers part of Russia. , and hence his own sphere of influence.

In an interview, Merkel acknowledged that the 2008 NATO compromise was far from ideal. She prevented the alliance from starting the long process of bringing Ukraine and Georgia into membership, convinced that such a move would provoke the very war Putin is now waging. In addition, she reminded, Ukraine was not yet the country of heroes that it has become, but a corrupt country ruled by oligarchs that many NATO allies would not be ready to defend.

The compromise she helped negotiate was to declare that Ukraine and Georgia were oncesome may join NATO, but not now. This disappointed Ukraine, but it still pissed Putin off.

War of 2014: occupation of Donbass, annexation of Crimea

Everything began to change after the Crimea and Donbass. Merkel moves from statements of concern to action. Germany officially condemns the actions of the Kremlin in Ukraine and imposes economic sanctions. However, they do not relate to the gas issue and do not interfere with the construction of the second branch of the Nord Stream gas pipeline.

Merkel denied that her reaction was too soft when Putin annexed Crimea in 2014, Klut writes in her column. In the end, Russia was kicked out of the G7 and became the GXNUMX again. And it helped keep the EU united by first adopting and then reimposing sanctions against Russia. It would be worse, she said, if some countries moved forward with tougher measures but ended up splitting Europe and the West, which is what Putin wanted and still wants.

Let's go back again. After the sanctions, in response to the Crimea and Donbass, there was - the "Norman Four" - Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, as a result - the Minsk agreements.

Again and again, Merkel returned to the Minsk agreements of 2014 and 2015, Klut writes in her column.

“These were negotiations in which she and the President of France, hosted by the leader of Belarus, moderated between Putin and the leader of Ukraine at the time.”

The result was not very good, the author writes. Ukraine has been forced to make big concessions in its eastern regions in exchange for a ceasefire that will in fact never be respected. And yet, Merkel insisted, these Minsk agreements bought Ukraine precious time — time it could use to prepare for a real Russian onslaught this year.

Merkel said her heart had always been beating for Ukraine, but her duty was to work with the reality on the ground. And Minsk restored calm, at least for a while.

Further, Cloot tells what prompted him to compare Merkel with Neville Chamberlain.

Chamberlain was the British prime minister who, in 1938, met with Adolf Hitler in Munich to secure what he hoped would be "peace in our time".

At the time, the Nazi leader, writes Klut, was preparing to swallow Czechoslovakia, claiming that its ethnic Sudeten Germans were threatened with "annihilation." The echo should have been heard already in Minsk, after Putin attacked Georgia, Crimea and Donbass, the author writes.

Thus, Kluth continues his thought, Merkel, like Chamberlain, can go down in history as the embodiment of the "appeasement" of the tyrant by the democratic world, who - in retrospect - could never be appeased.

Although, what seems obvious today was far from clear at the time. Even Merkel could not have foreseen how isolated, physically and mentally, he would become. Andreas Kluth sums up his thought.

To sum up Merkel's interview itself, in it she quite predictably distanced herself from Putin, which is quite reasonable in the current internal political situation in Germany. The same former boss and predecessor of Merkel, Gerhard Schroeder, is now really getting in Germany for ties with Russia. Therefore, Merkel spoke quite clearly on the situation. Although this did not save her from the wrath of the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk.

"Unfortunately, in the first interview after the change of government six months ago, there was not a hint of self-criticism. The ex-chancellor's statements about the infallibility of her course towards Russia and her too soft attitude towards dictator Putin are surprising," - said the Miller.

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