"Russian-German relations do not have those specific characteristics anymore, which had been present since the 1990s. That was to be expected: the situation in both countries has significantly changed. Russia does not need an attorney anymore, which Berlin considered itself to be, to be represented in front of other countries of the West: to whom and for what should we make excuses?" –this is how Artem Sokolov, Research Fellow at the European Studies Institute of the Institute of International Studies at MGIMO University of Russia, characterized the state of Russian-German cooperation during the "Expert's Opinion" show today, on May 13.
A recording of the show is available on the YouTube channel of the Gorchakov Fund.
The reason for the conversation with the expert and regular participant of Russian-German events hosted by the Gorchakov Fund was the coming XXV Postdam Meetings – a platform for a dialogue on political, economic and social issues, which will open in Berlin on May 18. Traditional organizers of the Meetings are the Gorchakov Fund and the German-Russian Forum. The event will once again take place under the auspices of ministers of foreign affairs of Germany and Russia Heiko Maas and Sergey Lavrov.
According to Artem Sokolov, during the forum representatives of Russia and Germany should focus on overcoming consequences of the pandemic using a joint effort and clarify the situation around the Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, distribution of which in Europe is experiencing difficulties. Separate topics for a discussion will, most probably, include the Nord Stream 2 project and other economic problems.
A current level of relations between Moscow and Berlin can be assessed differently: from statements about coming back to the times of the Cold War to assigning the status of mutually beneficial cooperation.
"The term "pragmatic" describes Russian-German relations very well. We turn off emotions where it is needed and continue our collaborative effort. Other important characteristics are depth and multi-levelness of those relations, which are absent in any other relations between Russia and other countries of the West. Our cooperation in economic, social, cultural, scientific and educational spheres has been developing over decades", provided his assessment Artem Sokolov.The expert reminded about the visit of German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to the USSR in 1955 – tens years after the Great Patriotic War, when memory about those terrible years of fighting against fascism could still be physically sensed in the streets of Soviet cities. "Even under those conditions, our countries found strength to normalize relations – emphasized Artem Sokolov. – Today we underestimate importance of making steps towards each other. We have experience of coping with problems, which should be used".
"There are no reasons for us to be extremely happy because of the Greens coming to power in Germany – said Artem Sokolov. – At the same time, it is important to remember that after the victory in the elections the opposition rhetorics of the party will become more realistic, and it is obvious already today. Leadership of the Greens does not aim at radicalizing rhetorics towards Russia. There is, definitely, a challenge; however, it will be beneficial for us to build cooperation with such partners."The main advantage of complicated relations between Russia and Germany is "good will to preserve the dialogue". "Both, Germany and Russia have a stable community of professionals, who understand importance of bilateral relations and are prepared to work on their improvement", mentioned Artem Sokolov.