Matthias Platzeck: Germany should make a step towards Russia

06 April 2018

The aggravated conflict between Russia and the West demonstrates how fragile the foundation, on which peace and Europe rest, is. After poisoning of former agent Skripal and his daughter in Saulsberry the dynamics of escalation has emerged overnight in the center of Europe. This being said, we can only hope that it will remain under control.

Chairman of the Management Board of the German-Russian Forum Matthias Platzeck writes about that for Nordkurier:

“The current crisis is another lowest point in deteriorating relations with Russia. “Sabre-rattling and war cries” have become louder, the spiral from sanctions and countermeasures is unwinding more and more. There was a reason why Chairman of the Munich Conference Wolfgang Ischinger warned that the danger of military confrontation today was bigger than during the cold war. In other words, they have been talking for a while again about peace in Europe.

Denunciation without investigation increases escalation

Deepness of the gulf is noticeable because the conflict around the Skripal case had been provoked even before the independent investigation, not to mention solving the case. Now reescalation should be prevented and the confrontation based primarily on emotions should be transferred into an object plane, a real-life analysis should be done and sound measures should be taken.

Above all, Germany, which has a special responsibility to Russia – Germany that was carrying on a cruel war against the Soviet nation, which took 27 million lives, mostly the lives of civilians – could use this common sense. President of Germany Steinmeier mentioned during his visit to Moscow: “We are obliged to take actions in the face of our nations against further alienation between the Germans and the Russians”.

The German-Russian Forum, which I have the honor to head, over the past 25 years has been trying to bring the civil societies of Germany and Russia together through a dialogue and cooperation and develop mutual trust. Today we see that damage is being made not only to political relations, but relations between the societies as the Germans and the Russian are getting more and more alienated from each other.

Considering such a “brash” now is the time to give an honest assessment of the western and German policy towards Russia and face the truth. This involves, first of all, the fact that the principle of “equal security for all countries” of the Charter of Paris of 1990 has been ignored by the European foreign policy: integration of Russia into the common European architecture of security, unlike NATO’s expansion to the east, has never been on the agenda of the European foreign policy. Secondly, relations with Russia in all areas – in politics, economy and society – have deteriorated and the so-called values-based foreign policy with the sanctions of the last four years resulted not in strengthening, but weakening of the security in Europe".

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