“The feeling was very clear: You’re through in terms of power politics. Only power counts for Putin”
Former Chancellor Angela Merkel saw Putin as powerless at the end of her term in office, she says in an interview. In terms of foreign policy, she had “not progressed a millimeter” at the time. However, she now has some advice.
DAccording to a report by the “mirrorAt the end of her term in office, she saw no possibility of influencing Russian President Vladimir Putin. During her farewell visit to Moscow in August 2021, she had the feeling: “In terms of power politics, you’re through. Only power counts for Putin,” the magazine quoted from a conversation with Merkel.
Merkel also said the Minsk agreement, which was supposed to prevent a escalating war between Russia and Ukraine in 2014, was “emptied” by 2021. In the summer of 2021, she and French President Emmanuel Macron tried in vain to arrange an EU meeting with Putin. In terms of foreign policy, she had “not progressed a millimeter. Not only as far as Ukraine is concerned. Transnistria and Moldova, Georgia and Abkhazia, Syria and Libya.” It was time for a new approach.
She was in agreement with the then US President Barack Obama in his assessment of Putin. “After Russia’s annexation of Crimea (2014), we tried everything to prevent further Russian attacks on Ukraine and coordinated our sanctions in detail,” Merkel is quoted as saying. She had been publicly criticized in recent weeks for not admitting any mistakes in Russia policy over the past 16 years.
The Russian attack on Ukraine in February 2022 ended a “euphoric phase” in history. “Today we are faced with a world that is again full of complications,” Merkel said. “History does not repeat itself, but I fear that patterns do repeat themselves. The horror disappears with the eyewitnesses. But the spirit of reconciliation also disappears.”
In the conversation, Merkel praised the resistance of the Ukrainians. She believes that Germany shouldn’t be the first nation to send state-of-the-art tanks because “you can still make a good atmosphere with Germany” in Russia. At the same time, she expressed respect for Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. On the open stage, he refused to support Putin’s war. “It takes, I think, such a man incredible strength to assert himself against Russia.” Something is happening in Central Asia with a view to Russia. At the same time, Merkel warned against making too high demands on foreign policy. “We have to be careful that we don’t set our bar so high that in the end nobody is left who can still meet our standards.”