On German policy towards Russia

Anders Östlund

It's hard to underestimate the size of the scandal that is ongoing in Germany now with regards to the government's Russia policy. Calling it the scandal of a century is not an overstatement, and it will haunt official Germany for a long time to come.

What is going on is that by not actively opposing Russia other than in words the German government is actually supporting Russia, because passivity is beneficial to Russia. Just as the Kremlin prefers silent citizens it prefers foreign governments to be silent.

It is absolutely mind blowing that especially Germany, with its own history of committing atrocities and later pledge that "never again" should such atrocities take place, is not opposing Russia in a meaningful way.

As late as yesterday @Bundeskanzler held a press conference where he basically confirmed the non-action policy with regards to Russia. Germany will not deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine anytime soon and it will not agree to a boycott of oil and gas.

@Bundeskanzler Germany is sticking to its policy of delaying help to Ukraine and obstructing harsher sanctions despite being more and more isolated internationally. It's very likely that both Austria and Hungary, who are also obstructing, would change position if Germany did so.

@Bundeskanzler I recently wrote an article for @cepa where I analysed possible factors for Germany's position. Fear, greed, corruption and cowardice could be some reasons.
cepa.org/germany-take-h…

@Bundeskanzler @cepa I have also written long threads here on how vane and corrupt old men with pro-Russian attitudes have an oversized influence on the German government.
twitter.com/andersostlund/…

@Bundeskanzler @cepa Germany's position, inaction and obstruction is putting enormous values at stake. The most obvious is Ukrainian lives but also western ideals, European security, global business and, not the least, Germany's own reputation as a western democracy and reliable ally is at stake.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa German democracy must be questioned if a small group of old men can control a party, which control the government, that represent the country, that in turn can veto decisions of the European Union while the German citizens at the same time support other policies.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa Speaking of "deep states" is usually something that is connected with conspiracy theorists but in contemporary Germany there are reasons to ask if there is a "deep state" populated by officials who are pro-Russia and as such manage to influence policy and block action.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa For 20 years Germany has had a Russia policy that aims at deepen the business and political relationship with Russia while at the same time avoid confrontation with Russia at any cost. Many officials who have worked on the Russia project are likely emotionally attached to it.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa The German government's behavior right now is probably exactly what Putin had in mind when he worked on the Russian - German relationship. Europe's powerhouse is passive when Russia is attacking a European democracy and slaughter its population.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa As it is now Germany risks the alliance of democracies that are opposing Russia and there is also the risk that countries in Eastern and Northern Europe will lose trust in Germany as a good neighbor and reliable ally.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa Obviously Germany also risks ending up on the wrong side of history in yet another European war. Even if Germany is not overtly supporting Russia the passive stance from the German government is.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa Will the situation in Germany continue? Will the government change position? There are elements in SPD, the coalition partners and the opposition that are opposing the Chancellor but they are so far not active enough to trigger a change.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa Will a change come in time though? Yes, there is certainly going to be a change in Germany even if it will be too late to impact current events. Germany is after all a democracy and the German population are for a tougher stance against Russia.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa For a real change to happen the central government institutions needs to be derussified and there needs to be a serious public debate in Germany about how things could go so wrong that Germany ended up taking positions that supported Russia, which is now a fascist dictatorship.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa The sooner a real change happens in Germany the lower the risk of long lasting negative effects for Ukraine, Germany, Europe and the democratic world.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa But if the current situation goes on it is highly likely that future German Chancellors will visit Bucha, Mariupol and other places in Ukraine to apologize for Germany's behavior during the war, just like hancellors now visit other places in Europe to pledge "Never Again".

@Bundeskanzler @cepa What is the goal of the pro-Russians in the German state? My guess is that they wish to go roll back sanctions and continue the great Russia problem. If Ukraine have to surrender and disappear as a nation they are willing to accept that. A quote from my @cepa article below.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa What can we do to impact the German government and make it change its position? Write articles, discuss online, write the German government and embassies, demonstrate outside German embassies (demonstrating outside the Russian embassies wont change anything).

@Bundeskanzler @cepa It's important to make Germany change position. Germany is Europe's most powerful country, it has the biggest population, biggest economy. Germany must be firmly anchored in the western world and be the first to act against barbarism in the world, the first to protect democracy.

@Bundeskanzler @cepa Western governments should increase pressure on the German government, visit Berlin and demand a change, frequently call Scholz. Steinmeier should be shunned, or disinvited. It should become obvious to Germany it cannot have a president with such affection for the Kremlin.