“The Kremlin Will from Now on View Germany as Being Controlled By the U.S.”
German-Russian Relations at a New Low
German relations with Russia have soured following the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the brazen assassination of a Chechen asylum-seeker in Berlin. At times, Moscow has been baffled by Germany’s stances.
By Christian Esch in Moscow
January 7, 2021
Now people in Moscow are arguing over how to deal with the reproaches from Berlin. Lavrov’s brusque language comes across like a preemptive offensive. But his style is still too defensive for the hawks in the Kremlin, says political analyst Stanovaya. “For these people, in the Kremlin and in the intelligence services, diplomacy is an outdated tool. They believe that war has been declared on Russia, so there should be an end to the constant justifications. One of their representatives told me: We must carry out the attack on the territory of Europe.”
This may explain the strange meeting at which Foreign Minister Lavrov spoke with representatives of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party on Dec. 8, just after his speech about the state of the world at the Russian International Affairs Council. Lavrov spent nearly three hours with Tino Chrupalla, the co-head of the AfD. “I don’t think the initiative came from the Foreign Ministry,” says Stanovaya. “Many of the diplomats there were surprised.” After all, just a short time before, Lavrov’s ministry had presented a cautionary report on the glorification of Nazism by political forces in Europe. The AfD also made an appearance in the report. When it comes to historical narratives and the Nazi era, Russians are very sensitive. That Lavrov nevertheless agreed to the meeting shows the extent to which the Foreign Ministry has become an executive body. “It’s gradually turning into Russia’s press office,” Stanovaya says. And this press office makes far harsher statements about Berlin than the Kremlin itself.