Is Angela Merkel responsible for the war in Ukraine?

Angela Merkel has disappeared and the former German chancellor, after leaving power last December, promised to refrain from any comments and advice for her successor, Olaf Scholz. If it were not for a short paragraph in the local newspapers where it was said that her wallet was stolen in the supermarket and an eloquent press statement condemning the Russian occupation of Ukraine, we would have thought that it no longer exists.

After four terms as chancellor, she has indeed faced the troubles of German and European politics, in which she has participated tirelessly since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But the war launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin has pushed her that of the center of public debate.

What is the share of responsibility for those who ruled Germany for 16 years, in the tragedy that Ukraine is going through? How did he not see anything that would come to this East German woman, who speaks Russian and grew up under a communist regime? And how can an old European leader feel comfortable with the Russian president, with whom she has spent so much time face to face or on the phone? And why did she continue to trust, even seduce, according to critics, the former KGB agent who worked in Dresden during the Cold War and whose character she did not know? After all, how could she make the fatal mistake of making her country so dependent on Russian gas?

Russia has always been close to Merkel’s mind; I grew up in Templin, a small Russian-influenced town about 60 miles[60 km]from Berlin. As a teenager, she won a trip to Moscow to excel in a Russian language competition at her high school. He likes to read Tolstoy and Dostoevsky; On the wall of her office in the Chancellery was hung a picture of “Carina the Great Catherine.”

rubble field

Many blame her for her “naivety” towards Putin. And her party is aiming for it now. And here is the new leader of the Christian Democratic Union, who faces opposition, Friedrich Merz, referring to parliamentarians on “the field of demolition left by German foreign and security policy in recent years”. “We would not be there if Ukraine were allowed to join NATO,” Merz said, something Merkel and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy opposed at the 2008 Bucharest summit.

Yet unlike her predecessor, Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder, Angela Merkel has never refrained from condemning violations of freedoms and suppressing dissent in Russia. When I went to visit the opponent of Russian President Alexei Navalny, who was treated in Berlin for poisoning, I criticized Putin. And the latter does not stop provoking and testing. In 2007, he learned of the chancellor’s fear of dogs, so he brought her a Labrador while she was waiting for him in the Kremlin. In the photo, Merkel is seen sitting in a chair with Putin smiling. In 2014, Putin publicly lied to Merkel for the first time and assured her that he had no intention of annexing Crimea.

Relations between Moscow and Berlin have cooled significantly, while the chancellor has called for a series of European sanctions against Russia. She was not deceived, but still hoped that the common interests of the business and the pursuit of dialogue would make separation possible. However, in 2015, Merkel gave the green light to build a gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, connecting Russia with Germany under the Baltic Sea. Although the decision was of a “purely commercial” nature, critics noted the dangerous geostrategic consequences of the project. Nord Stream 2 highlights the fragility of Germany’s power supply, which is 50% dependent on Russian gas.

The only guarantor

In 2011, under pressure from a terrified audience from Fukushima, Japan, the chancellor decided overnight to give up nuclear power. In principle, the last two plants still in operation are scheduled to close next year.

Meanwhile the German government returned to the use of coal aggressively. Therefore, Russian gas remained the only solution to guarantee German energy supplies in the medium term. Indifferent to the warnings of the Green Party (the only German party opposed to the construction of Nord Stream 2) and to the protests of Ukraine, the Baltic states and the United States, the Merkel-led coalition continued the project. It took the outbreak of war in Ukraine on February 24 for Germany to launch the project and then look for new gas suppliers, such as Qatar.

In her party, conservative leaders in the Eastern Province and the Bavarian Christian Social Union criticized her for her “stubbornness” towards Vladimir Putin after the annexation of Crimea. And in the ranks of the SPD, which has participated in two of Merkel’s three states in the “grand coalition” and which has adopted all the important decisions on energy, there is also a check of conscience.

In addition to the lead role played by Schroeder, who is a personal friend of Putin and the architect of the Nord Stream project that Merkel inherited from him; There is a policy that Chancellor Willie Brandt started in 1969 to start detente with the Soviets. For Brandt, closer economic and trade ties with Moscow should enable Russia to move toward coexistence and de-escalation.

Until February 24, this doctrine was not really under discussion in Germany. This indicates the degree of strategic transformation that is taking place in the country. However, it is a revolution that has so far failed to break Merkel’s silence.

• In 2015, Merkel gave the green light for the construction of a pipeline, “North Stream 2”, which connects Russia with Germany under the Baltic Sea. Although the decision was of a “purely commercial” nature, critics noted the dangerous geostrategic consequences of the project.

• In 2007, Putin learned of the chancellor’s fear of dogs, so he brought her a Labrador dog while she was waiting for him in the Kremlin. In the photo, Merkel is seen sitting in a chair with Putin smiling. In 2014, Putin publicly lied to Merkel for the first time and assured her that he had no intention of annexing Crimea.

• 50% of German gas supplies come from Russia.

Unlike her predecessor, the Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder, Angela Merkel has never refrained from condemning violations of freedoms and the suppression of dissent in Russia.

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