Not all EU members believe that anti-Russian sanctions are an achievement of European diplomacy. To some extent the World Economic Forum that has just wound up in Davos served as a platform for stating their positions on the issue. Excluding Germany. Speaking at the Forum, German politicians demonstrated again that they don’t dare to deviate from the course charted by Washington. In this sense they excluded themselves from the process of finding ways out of the crisis or putting an end to the war in the east of Europe with the death toll reaching a few thousand.
Speaking at Davos Angela Merkel called the Ukrainian events a conflict between Russia and Ukraine (as she usually does). (1) She used stereotypes to describe the situation as a stand-off between Ukraine building democracy and Russia which does its best to counter the trend instead of saying that there is a civil war raging in Ukraine which involves not Russia only but Europe and the United States as well. It should be noted that Swiss journalists highlighting the Forum hold a different view. For instance, Zurich-based Tages-Anzeiger writes, «Kiev sacrifices democracy in the Donbass…The military effort exhausts the remaining economic resources while Western creditors could suddenly find themselves in an awkward situation providing funds for war». (2) In other words the King is naked but the leader of the most influential European state does not want to take notice.
Unlike Canada, Germany does not supply Ukraine with so called «non-lethal» military equipment but in September 2014 the Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development approved the relief supplies and individual protection aid package for Ukrainian military. (3) The President of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko did not even wink an eye calling himself «the President of Peace». He shared his views on what the armistice should be like against the background of delivering new weapons to the military. Poroshenko has signed a decree about 3 waves of military mobilization in 2015. In early January Chancellor Angela Merkel and Federal President Joachim Gauck greeted Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Berlin. It makes remember how German President Gauck, a former Lutheran pastor, said at the last year’s Munich security conference that moral barriers should be removed to pave the way for the use of force to solve international problems. Germany agreed to back 500 million euros in guaranteed credit lines for the Arseniy Yatsenyuk government. I wonder if Berlin realizes what the money will be used for. Or, perhaps, the Federal Chancellor is not interested in details?
In Davos Merkel accused Russia of violating «the values that created a peaceful order in Europe after World War II, namely the acceptance of borders and respect of territorial integrity». Merkel turned a blind eye to the fact that Germany was first (!) to rush and recognize the change of borders in former Yugoslavia that sparked an internal conflict in the Balkans to last for many years. She did not remember Germany mocking the principle of the recognition of borders and the protection of territorial integrity as Serbia was dismembered as a result of Kosovo secession. The day Albania separatists proclaimed their independence Kosovars wrote on the walls of their houses in Pristina «Thank you, Germany!» Pursuing its «centuries old interests» Germany did not lift a finger to recognize the will expressed by the Serbs in North Mitrovica (The Serb-majority enclave of Mitrovica, a town in Kosovo) who made know their desire to remain in Serbia.
Today Merkel and other German politicians hope that Serbs and Russians suffer from poor memory. At the same time they push Germany to signing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States. In Davos Merkel called this American idea a «unique opportunity». Over a million of Germans who have already signed a petition to protest the move probably think otherwise. And what if it is all the other way around? What if the «unique opportunity» for Germany is developing the relationship with the Eurasian Economic Union instead of signing the enslaving agreement with the United States? Merkel appears to stealthily mull the option. In Davos she did not touch on the issue in her main speech, but mentioned such an opportunity during working discussions with a reservation that, as she put it, Russia had to find a solution to the Ukrainian crisis.
Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, mentioned the possibility of developing trade between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union in Davos. But this idea was put forward by Russian President Putin a few years ago. «If the West had accepted those proposals there would have been no crisis in Ukraine today» – reads a post sent to an Austrian internet-forum. (4) There was no response to this Putin’s proposal, as well as to his security initiatives. Since then the Europe’s political will has been weakening. The Merkel’s speech at Davos confirms the fact. As a result we have the situation described by Süddeutscht Zeitung «Why Merkel did not say yes to the Putin’s proposal before? Because the United States did not want it. Looks now they all start to realize now that Russia is still afloat and the hope for a color revolution there is fading away…»
It all shows how volatile the US foreign policy is. At first the US made the good neighborly relations between Russia and Germany deteriorate and now it wants to take advantage of this fact». (5) There are some things this judgment fails to take into consideration. The United States consistently tried to worsen (and it did it!) the Russia’s relations with Germany and all European states. The free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States would only strengthen the US dominance in the western part of the old continent.
Actually, the phrase about the «annexation» of Crimea being «not just an annexation» is the only thing to agree with after having studied the Merkel’s speech at Davos. True, after the coup staged in Kiev, Crimea returned to Russia according to the will of its people. This is the historical significance of the main event of 2014.
The contemporary Western democracy, Germany in particular, does not like the idea of referendums. After WWII the Western occupational authorities restricted this means of expressing the people’s will in Germany under the pretext of preventing the restoration of pro-fascist sentiments. In recent years Germans have been speaking more firmly in support of direct democracy, including direct elections of the country’s President and holding referendums on key burning issues of internal politics. The higher-ups ignore these calls making Germans resort to extreme forms of protests. In the 1970s the construction of nuclear power plants evoked protests of such scale that the press wrote about a people’s war started. Today the inability of the government to cope with the problem of changing the ethnical composition of population may lead to the repetition of events. The fact that Lutz Bachmann, the leader of the fast-growing German anti-Muslim movement PEGIDA, resigned to keep out of politics does not prevent the possibility of new stand-off.
(1) Rede von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel anl. des Jahrestreffens 2015 des World Economic Forum am 22. Januar 2015
(2) Affentrager Z. Kiew opfert Demokratie in Donbass/ Tages-Anzeiger, 23.01.2015.
(3) Berlin bestätigt Hilfen für ukrainisches Militär /Welt.de 03.09.2014.