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Tag: Ostpolitik

A German riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

The definite re-election of Vladimir Putin in Russia will consolidate his authoritarian model of governance and assertive foreign policy for another six years. In Germany, the formation of a new government is to be expected after an unusually long time of coalition talks. The question will then turn towards the direction of Germany’s Ostpolitik and the future of relations between Russia and the West.

In 1939 Winston Churchill famously remarked that he cannot forecast the actions of Russia: “It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” The same could be said of Germany’s Ostpolitik, which has left observers puzzled and perplexed in recent years. Previously and often simplistically explained by the catchwords “energy” and “business”, Germany’s role in the Ukraine conflict has seemingly defied all prior assumptions about Germany’s special relationship with Russia and its purely geo-economic interests.

February 26, 2018 - Liana Fix

Security in Europe with Russia and/or from Russia?

The debate among German foreign policy experts on how to end the crisis with Russia has heated up once again. Yet, many observers continue to neglect the primary determinants of Russian foreign policy, which are rooted in domestic politics and are not going to change any time soon.

The Russian military exercise “Zapad 2017” held on the borders of NATO member states showed a significant increase in Russian forces in the Baltic Sea region. Just like during the Cold War, this exercise had the goal of demonstrating Russia’s military might to the West – the country’s alleged enemy. With the illegal annexation of Crimea as well as the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine, Russia and the West have manoeuvred towards an increasingly militarised confrontation. Moscow’s questioning of the European security order marked the climax of the alienation and antagonisation that started much earlier. With Vladimir Putin’s 2007 speech at the Munich security conference, where he accused the West of systematically countering Russia’s interests in the region, as well as the Russian-Georgian war in 2008, it became clear that Russia is defining its interests in opposition to the West. Russia does not want to be integrated into the West but has the ambition to further integrate former Soviet states into its orbit.

January 2, 2018 - Manfred Huterer

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