Germany has been at the forefront over the past few weeks in terms of its stance on how to define further relations with Russia.
The United States has been busy with congresses of Democratic and Republican parties. Eastern European states, which usually do not miss an opportunity to speculate about Russia, are preoccupied with what is happening in Belarus.
After Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny was delivered to Charite clinic in Berlin, Germany started paying a lot of attention to the prospects for further relations with Russia. In addition, officials from any other countries have expressed plenty of opinions in the past few weeks about the need for Germany to reconsider its policy towards the Russian Federation.
Although German Chancellor Angela Merkel has refused to revise policy towards Russia, there is little ground for optimism about the future prospects of Russian-German relations.
For example, Wolfgang Ischinger (Chairman of the Munich Security Conference) said in an interview with Der Spiegel that after the incident with Aleksei Navalny, the relations between Russia and Germany had reached their lowest point.
"This, unfortunately, is the end, including for the idea of strategic partnership," Ischinger said.
In his opinion, the likely sanctions against Russia will have no effect. They are a tool that governments are willing to use when nothing else comes to mind," Ischinger said.
He believes that the situation with Navalny gives Germany an opportunity to show that Berlin is ready to help, despite its disagreement with the Russian authorities.
"We are not enemies for either Russia or the Russians," Ischinger said.
In turn, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas reiterated the thesis about the "clouds" that were hanging over Germany's relations with Russia.
"On the one hand, we need constructive relations with Moscow, because without or in spite of Russia, Europe will not become a safer place," Maas said, adding that such a position comes in line with "reasonable real European policy."
"On the other hand, we say it absolutely clearly: clouds are hanging over our relations. The sanctions preserve and nothing has changed in the causes that led to their imposition," the head of the German Foreign Ministry said. The official stressed out yet again that "Russia should make a greater effort to clarify the incident with Navalny."
Generally speaking, it is difficult to say which relations need to be revised and what "idea of strategic partnership" Mr. Ischinger was talking about. Of course, Berlin can not be compared to Washington when it comes to the zeal to impose more and more sanctions on Russia. However, Germany is not alien to anti-Russian sanctions. The relations between Russia and Germany have not been great for years already.
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