“The feeling was very clear: In terms of power politics, you are finished. For Putin, only power is valid”
Former Chancellor Angela Merkel saw Putin as powerless at the end of his term, she says in an interview. From the point of view of foreign policy, it “didn’t advance even a millimeter”. But now he has a piece of advice.
DAccording to a report in Der Spiegel, former Chancellor Angela Merkel no longer saw any possibility of influencing Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of her term. During her farewell visit to Moscow in August 2021, she felt: “When it comes to power politics, you are finished. For Putin, only power is valid,” the magazine quoted from the interview with Merkel.
Merkel also said the Minsk agreement, which was supposed to prevent an escalation of war between Russia and Ukraine in 2014, had been “eroded” by 2021. In the summer of 2021, he and French President Emmanuel Macron tried in vain to arrange an EU meeting with Putin. As far as foreign policy is concerned, “she has not advanced even a millimeter. Not only regarding Ukraine. Transnistria and Moldova, Georgia and Abkhazia, Syria and Libya.” The time has come for a new approach.
In her assessment of Putin, she agreed with the then US President Barack Obama. “After Russia’s annexation of Crimea (2014), we did everything to prevent further Russian attacks on Ukraine and coordinated our sanctions in detail,” Merkel said. She has been publicly criticized in recent weeks for not admitting any mistakes in Russia’s policy over the past 16 years.
The Russian attack on Ukraine in February 2022 ended the “euphoric phase” in history. “Today we are facing a world that is once again full of complications,” Merkel said. “History doesn’t repeat itself, but I’m afraid patterns do. Horror disappears with eyewitnesses. But the spirit of reconciliation is also disappearing.’
In the interview, Merkel appreciated the resistance of the Ukrainians. He believes that Germany should not be the first nation to send state-of-the-art tanks because in Russia “you can still make a good atmosphere with Germany”. At the same time, she expressed her respect to the Kazakh President Kassy-Jomart Tokayev. He openly refused to support Putin’s war. “I think it takes incredible strength for such a person to stand up to Russia.” There is something going on in Central Asia with an eye on Russia. At the same time, Merkel warned against too high demands on foreign policy. “We have to be careful not to set the bar so high that we end up with no one left who can still meet our standards.”