BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - German foreign policy experts have noticed the EU's change of tune regarding its policy towards Ukraine and sanctions against Russia. According to a representative of a German party-affiliated foundation in Brussels, EU diplomats' "patience with Kiev is noticeably coming to end" in view of Ukraine's desolate development and the oligarchs' persistent intrigues. In reference to internal debates, the foundation's representative has also confirmed that voices are growing "louder" with wishes to "renew a constructive approach" toward Moscow, "not only at the economic" but also at the political level. The same applies to the recent Normandy Format ministerial meeting on the Ukrainian crisis. The German business community is also increasing its pressure to end the sanctions, because it is missing out on too many lucrative deals with Russia. A recent survey among German entrepreneurs has revealed that only twelve percent of the respondents are in favor of maintaining sanctions. In the energy sector, which, thanks to Angela Merkels engagement, has been excluded from sanctions, the German Linde AG was able to land a three-digit million Euro deal in January. At the beginning of this year, Linde CEO Wolfgang Büchele was named Chair of the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations (OA). more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW/KIEV | | ukrainerussische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW/KIEV (Own report) - Berlin is taking steps to possibly end sanctions against Russia. Today, almost one year after the signing of the Minsk II Agreement - whose full implementation is still considered as a prerequisite for ending the sanctions - the Bavarian Prime Minster, Horst Seehofer is expected to arrive in Moscow for talks on promoting the renewal of German-Russian business relations. Seehofer can build on decades of Bavarian-Russian cooperation. His visit to Moscow is closely coordinated with Germany's federal government. The EU and NATO are also involved in Berlin's cooperation efforts. Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel also increased pressure on Ukraine's President, Petro Poroshenko to finally obtain approval from Kiev's parliament for the constitutional amendment providing Eastern Ukraine's special status, as agreed upon in the Minsk II Agreement. Until now, nationalists and fascists have prevented this measure. more…

KIEV/MOSCOW/BERLIN | | ukrainerussische-foederation

KIEV/MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) - Leaders of the Crimean Tartars, who have been blocking the supply of electricity to Crimea for the past few days, have good contacts to the German political establishment. Years ago, Mustafa Jemilev and Refat Chubarov, who were involved in the sabotage action, had held talks on closer ties between Crimea and the West with officials of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the German government's Representative for ethnic German immigration to Germany. Just two and a half weeks ago, they discussed with the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federica Mogherini, the "de-occupation of Crimea" and the necessary "peaceful actions, in particular with respect to power supply." The Crimean Tartars, who are currently cooperating with fascist organizations and ultra-rightwing battalions, have been elected to the Ukrainian parliament on the electoral list of President Petro Poroshenko's party. According to an expert, Poroshenko is "instrumentalizing" them for "his foreign policy" objectives. Jemilev also has good contacts to the US political establishment. Among the Crimean Tartars, he and Chubarov, who in Berlin enjoy exclusive recognition, are competing with Tartar Salafists - some of whom are currently fighting on the battlefields of Syria - and with Russia-oriented Tartar organizations. more…

KIEV/MOSCOW/BERLIN | | ukrainerussische-foederation

KIEV/MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin is watching with apprehension as the conflict between Kiev and Moscow escalates again following Ukraine's shutting down electrical power to Crimea. Last week, Crimean Tatars and members of the fascist Right Sector are suspected to have blown up several electric pylons, cutting off the supply of power to Crimea. Crimea receives nearly 80 percent of its electricity from Ukraine. The Berlin-sponsored Ukrainian government sees itself as incapable of repairing the power lines. It has imposed - in accordance with the embargo policies of the EU and the USA - its own trade embargo on the peninsula. In the summer 2014, the EU and the USA began imposing economic sanctions on Crimea, which was aggravated by Kiev's embargo of water and blockade of traffic for over a year. Ukraine will squander its remaining sympathy on the peninsula, warn observers. A similar development had been observed in the Georgian secessionist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia since the 2008 Georgian-Russian war. Early this week, the German government applied pressure on Kiev to restore electricity to Crimea, to avoid another escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, which Germany considers detrimental. To no avail - the escalation began yesterday. more…

MOSCOW/BERLIN | | russische-foederation

MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin has announced a "German-Russian Youth Year" for 2016/2017. As former Head of the Federal Chancellery Ronald Pofalla (CDU) declared last week at the conclusion of a German-Russian Cooperation Meeting ("Petersburg Dialogue"), cooperation between German and Russian civil societies are "more important than ever." Therefore, the German government's efforts to intensify the German-Russian student exchange program must be supported. Already at the beginning of the Petersburg Dialogue, which has restarted, following a year's interruption, Chancellor Merkel explained that Germany is "interested in a reliable partnership with Russia." Business functionaries are concluding that willingness to cooperate, which had waned due to the Ukraine conflict, is again growing "on both sides." Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, foresees a "diplomatic process" under Berlin's leadership that will lead to a further rapprochement during Germany's OSCE chair - beginning January 1, 2016. Ischinger explicitly points to similarities to the cold war's so-called détente policy, from which the West emerged the winner. more…

DAMASCUS/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON/BERLIN | | syrienrussische-foederation

DAMASCUS/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin has sharply criticized Russian bombing raids in Syria. In a joint declaration with governments of several allied countries, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the German government claims the Russian Air Force did not target the "Islamic State" (IS) but the "Syrian opposition and civilians," and calls on Moscow to "immediately cease" these attacks. Russian bombers, however, have not only hit bases of the IS and other jihadi militias, but also the facilities of western-armed combatants, participating in the al-Nusra Front's offensive. Al-Nusra is the Syrian branch of al Qaeda, the primary target in the West's post 9/11 "War on Terror." The Russian air raids highlight a significant increase of Moscow's influence in the Middle East and the growing influence of non-Western powers in world affairs. They are another blow to western global hegemony. more…

KASSEL/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

KASSEL/MOSCOW (Own report) - The German natural gas company, Wintershall Holding GmbH, is intensifying cooperation with Russia's Gazprom and will receive direct access to large Siberian gas fields. Last Friday, the two companies announced they would finalize an asset swap this year, which would allow Wintershall to participate in the exploitation of two blocks in the Achimov formation of the Urengoy natural gas field. The deal had been signed back in 2013, but was canceled by Moscow in late 2014, because of the escalation of the conflict with the West. This resumption enables BASF's subsidiary, Wintershall, to continue its rise in the global gas sector. The Austrian company, OMV, since July 1, under the management of former Wintershall CEO, Rainer Seele, is also participating. Gazprom, Wintershall, OMV and other gas companies have agreed to expand the Russia-to-Germany "Nord Stream" pipeline with two more pipelines. German business circles explicitly describe both as "flagship projects" and push for a rapid re-intensification of cooperation at the political level. more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - A fellow of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) advocates intensifying confrontation with Russia and declaring organizations in EU countries, receiving support of Russian citizens "agents of the aggressor." In a recent paper, published by the DGAP, Vladislav Inosemzev is calling for "the West to mobilize the necessary resources to win the second cold war." These include political, but particularly economic measures. The steps proposed by the DGAP fellow, would result in comprehensive economic warfare against Russia and serious measures against "Putin's apologists." Meanwhile, the discussion of policy towards Russia continues in Berlin. Business circles insist on ending sanctions because they fear billions in business losses and the loss of a strategic market. The German government is therefore again contemplating concepts à la "transformation through trade," according to an insider. These concepts aim at profitable business for German companies, in spite of political confrontation - as in the first Cold War. more…

ELMAU/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

ELMAU/MOSCOW (Own report) - On the occasion of the G7 summit in Elmau, Bavaria, German government advisors are discussing the significance of the cohesion among the leading western powers. For quite a while, the G7 and G8 have been a sort of global policy "steering committee," according to a recent analysis published by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). For the first time in 2008, the global financial crisis compelled the G8 to include other industrial and emerging countries in global consultations in the framework of the G20. By setting the agenda for the G20, the G7 seeks to safeguard its "leadership role" in global policy. At the same time, in Berlin one hears that Russia's exclusion cannot be permanently advantageous. Since its exclusion, Moscow has become even more engaged in the BRICS alliance. Commenting on BRICS' aims, experts write that its members are striving to "pit their collective political clout against the North's claims of its superiority." In a few weeks, BRICS will decide on operative steps in establishing a New Development Bank. As an alternative to the World Bank, it should become operational by the end of the year. Steps are also planned to undermine the US Dollar's hegemony. more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - Saturday's crash of an Airbus A400M transporter near Seville, Spain, has put a damper on Germany's ambitions of developing autonomous global military intervention capabilities. The military transport plane had been destined to replace the German Bundeswehr's current Transall airlifters, designed in the 1960s for relatively short-ranged European combat scenarios, therefore hardly applicable for global warfare assignments of the future. With years of delay and numerous technical problems, Saturday's crash means another delay for the German Air Force's conversion to the A400M. It is, nevertheless, still unclear whether the plane can cover all the functions, it was supposed to fulfill. Paris is already considering the purchase of US transporters. Should this happen, German-European ambitions of becoming completely autonomous in their global military interventions would be confronted with a new set of problems. In any case, for the time being the Bundeswehr will remain dependent upon Russian support for transporting their combat material to their theaters of mission. Last December, a contract to this effect, reached in 2006 with a Russian-Ukrainian joint venture, was renewed. The contract stipulates the conditions for use of the Russian-made Antonov Transporter carriers for relocating German combat material. more…