Germany's Russia policy: still too pro-Kremlin?

Since the start of the war in Ukraine criticism of Germany for its hitherto Russia-friendly policy has increased. The country has now put the controversial Nordstream 2 pipeline project on ice but it continues to purchase gas from Russia and for economic reasons rejects calls for it to immediately suspend all imports. Commentators are annoyed.

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Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

And Berlin thought it understood Moscow best

Germany overestimated its knowledge, Rzeczpospolita notes:

“In the weeks leading up to the war, American warnings that Vladimir Putin was about to launch the biggest military operation in Europe since World War II were laughed off in Berlin. Germany, linked to Russia by a dense network of economic ties, was convinced that it was in a better position than anyone else in the West to foresee the Kremlin's next move and adjust its policies accordingly. But it turned out that all that knowledge was not worth a cent.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Still not a real turning point

Also under Scholz, Berlin is not living up to its defence policy responsibilities in Eastern Europe, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung criticises:

“German security policy suffers above all from the fact that the country's society and politicians do not accept violence as a sometimes necessary and morally legitimate means of conflict. Any country with a military must be able to deal with killing. Germany cannot. ... Germany has no sense of geopolitics, or in other words the realisation that geographical spaces do not remain in a vacuum in power politics. ... Only when Germany can no longer be blackmailed will the course correction deserve to be called a turning point. Berlin should call for a ban on imports of Russian energy to the EU as long as Moscow's troops are on the rampage in Ukraine.”

Ukraïner (UA) /

There must be no need for a Kyiv genuflection

The non-profit media project Ukraïner publishes an unsigned commentary accusing the German government of complicity in Russian behaviour:

“In a photo taken on December 7, 1970, in Warsaw, you can see the German Chancellor Willy Brandt kneeling for the monument to the Warsaw ghetto victims during World War II. It is possible that another German chancellor in Kyiv in 20 years will ask about forgiveness for Merkel and Scholz's policies regarding Ukraine in front of the monument to the Russian aggression victims. Yes, Germany is not killing anyone this time. But during the last eight years, the country has been helping Russia commit murders. ... Fortunately, not all Germans want to take on this shame for not stopping the war at the right time.”