BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usarussische-foederation

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - The German Chancellor is suggesting that the EU should take a "new look at its energy policy" as a whole. As Angela Merkel confirmed last week, several EU countries are at least partially "very highly dependent" on "the supply of raw materials from Russia." Spurred on by the Ukrainian crisis, Berlin and Brussels could, however, in the long run, seek to liberate themselves. Merkel made her remarks following talks with Canada's Prime Minister, who is considering the diversification of his country's energy exports and does not exclude exporting natural gas to Europe. This, along with gas, which is extracted in the USA by the controversial "fracking" technique and should be exportable soon, could shake Russia's strong position on the European gas market. Massive price cuts could result, forcing Moscow to drastically cut its budget, according to US experts. Whether Putin could politically survive such measures is unknown. In Berlin the debate continues over the new perspective of transatlantic energy. Representatives from US-oriented sectors are in favor and those from energy companies doing business with Russia and from the SPD, are opposed. more…

TBILISI/BERLIN | | georgien

TBILISI/BERLIN (Own report) - Since their partial Ukrainian success in the power struggle over the ring of countries separating Russia's borders from those of the EU, Berlin and Brussels have been stepping up their efforts to integrate Georgia into their hegemonic system. The EU is calling on Georgia - a country, geostrategists accord great importance not only for Russia's encirclement, but for European access to Asia - to sign the EU Association Agreement in June, ahead of schedule. As in the case of Ukraine, Georgia is already integrated into the German-European military policy. The parliament in Tbilisi has recently voted to contribute Georgian troops to EU military operations in Africa. Georgia's development following the 2003 "Rose Revolution" is very similar to what the Ukrainians find themselves confronted with since the February putsch in Kiev. Simultaneous with military-political integration into Western alliance structures, and the country's accessibility for foreign investors, the population is sinking into impoverishment. Polls indicate that today only 27 percent of the Georgians have a "full-time job" that pays a living wage. more…

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - Last week's signing of the political part of the EU Association Agreement began Ukraine's transition into the German-European hegemonic system. That country, whose current government, which came to power through a putsch and lacks democratic legitimacy, will now have to align itself on EU standards at all levels. Besides adopting Brussels' system of norms, the country, first of all, will face its integration into the German-European foreign and military policy. Ukraine is already participating in EU Battle Groups and EU military missions. Western - including German - energy companies are seeking to take over the Ukrainian gas sector. This even includes the use of controversial "fracking" methods to weaken Russian influence on Kiev in the natural gas sector. As in Greece, the country will now face the glaring impoverishment of an "extreme austerity" policy, according to experts, which could "torpedo Ukraine's recent political reorientation." more…

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - The raids on TV editorial boards by parliamentarians in the new Ukrainian government, which Germany helped bring to power, is provoking massive protests. Tuesday evening, Svoboda Party MPs stormed the office of the acting President of the National Television Co. of Ukraine (NTU) and forced him to resign with physical blows and verbal insults. A similar incident took place the day before in Chernihiv. Dozens of journalists in Kiev and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media have harshly criticized these attacks, which are in line with Svoboda's electoral program promising to revoke the licenses of all media "spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda." Svoboda's party program calls also for making the day of the founding of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) a national holiday. The UPA had participated in the massacres of Jewish Ukrainians and tens of thousands of Poles - according to estimates, up to 100.000 people. The German Foreign Minister has lent this party international social respectability and German media is characterizing Svoboda not as "fascist," but merely as "nationalist." A leading German daily claims that the leader, Oleh Tiahnybok, has led his party "out of the right-wing quagmire." more…

BERLIN | | russische-foederationukraine

BERLIN (Own report) - In light of the pending incorporation of the Crimea into the Russian Federation, German politicians and media are stepping up their Russophobe agitation. The public's "understanding for Moscow's alleged motives" regarding the Crimea, remains "strikingly high," complains a leading German daily. This reflects the view that Western global aggressions are either "not better or even worse." In this context, a leading German newspaper, the "Süddeutsche Zeitung," has discontinued a Russian PR insert, which it had begun carrying following a lucrative European-Russian economic conference. Another leading publication, the weekly "Die Zeit", has "apologized" for having printed differentiated articles about the Ukraine. The author, a freelance journalist, had also earned his living, doing editorial work for the above-mentioned Russian PR insert. Last week, the leading German Green Party's candidate for the European parliamentary elections tabled a motion for a gag order on former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, who had criticized the EU's Ukrainian policy. This motion, to restrict his right of freedom of expression, has been ultimately rejected by the European parliament, however, not by her Party. more…

RIGA | | lettland

RIGA (Own report) - On Sunday, the most extremist right wing organizations in Latvia are planning to stage a demonstration in commemoration of Latvian Nazi collaborators. "Legionaries' Day" commemorates Latvia's Waffen-SS units, honored as combatants against the Soviet Union. Many of them had helped the Nazi occupiers carry out mass murders of around 75,000 Latvian Jews, unable to flee before the Nazis' arrival. One of the extreme rightwing parties usually organizing the commemoration procession has a minister in the current government. One of that party's leaders expresses the anti-Russian sentiments of his followers by referring to the Latvian ethnic Russian inhabitants as "occupiers" and "illegal colonialists." His party is calling for their deportation ("repatriation") to Russia. The organization "Latvija bez Nacisma" ("Latvia without Nazism") has announced it will protest against this commemoration procession. Ukrainian nationalists had also participated in last year's procession. more…

BERLIN/KIEV | | ukraine

BERLIN/KIEV (Own report) - An German expert on Eastern Europe is raising strong criticism of Berlin's policy toward and German media coverage of Ukraine. Berlin and the EU have been systematically ignoring Russian cooperation proposals for years and massively provoking Moscow, observes Stefan Meister, a specialist on Russia at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Therefore, they are "to a large extent responsible" for the current crisis escalation. The conflict between the West and Russia has been generally viewed "too one-sided." "We are using (...) cold war images." While politics and media are preparing public opinion for further escalation, initial evidence of plans to destabilize the Crimea are coming to light, in case the peninsula's population votes in favor of joining Russia in Sunday's referendum. Militant Ukrainian fascists, for example, who have announced that they would "defend the fatherland to the end," have already begun their mobilization. Some of them had fought against the Russian military in Chechen militias. In addition, it is being claimed that Moscow may have to contend with attacks from Crimean Tatar Salafist Muslims. Some of these Salafists have gained combat experience in the Syrian War. more…

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - The Estonian foreign minister expressed his suspicion that "somebody from the new coalition" in Kiev could have been behind the sniper shootings on the Maidan, according to a tapped telephone conversation, which has gone online. Sniper fire had preceded Berlin's massively promoted putsch in Kiev. In the telephone conversation, the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Urmas Paet, reported to the chief of EU foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton that a medical doctor in Kiev assumes that the mortal wounds to policemen and demonstrators had the same handwriting and could have come from the same assassins. The fact that Kiev's government has yet to initiate an investigation could arouse the suspicion that elements from its own ranks could have been responsible for those assassinations. Videos, in fact, have already documented that snipers had been shooting at both sides. The putschist government, incriminated by Paet's remarks and still enjoying strong German government support, is comprised also of rightwing extremist forces, for example several Svoboda Party politicians, as well as the commander of the armed militia on the Maidan and the leader of the paramilitary "Pravi Sektor" (Right Sektor). Both have been given high-level posts as Secretary and Deputy Secretary in the National Security and Defense Council of the Ukraine, under the personal leadership of the President. more…

ATHENS/BERLIN | | griechenland

ATHENS/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin is reacting to Athen's persistent demands for reparations for Nazi mass war crimes in Greece by sending the German President to visit the country. Last week, following a lengthy run-up, the Greek Parliament has created a committee to examine possible demands for reparations. It is said to involve a large multi-billion sum. Over the next few days, Joachim Gauck will visit various scenes of Nazi crimes. It is to be expected that he will use his usual warm rhetoric affirming Germany's strong convictions, to distract from a refusal to pay any reparations. Currently, Thessaloniki's Jewish community, among others, is suing Berlin for the reimbursement of an extorted "ransom" for 9,000 Jews, who had been deported to German extermination camps. There is also discussion of a demand for the restitution of the forced loan exacted by the Nazis, in 1942, which has never been refunded. An expertise compiled by the Reference and Research Services of the German Bundestag has arrived at the conclusion that these demands are legally founded, however, this document continues to be kept secret. more…

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukrainerussische-foederation

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - As the Crimean crisis escalates, the German Navy is dispatching one of its spy ships to the Mediterranean. The "Alster," which had already been carrying out espionage on the Syrian war zone, is reported to have sailed from its homeport. Whether it will pursue a route through the Mediterranean to the Black Sea remains the Bundeswehr's secret. With the Crimean conflict, the power struggle over the Ukraine is involving an area of utmost geostrategic importance to Moscow. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is stationed on the Crimean Peninsula, which is considered "Russia's diving board into the Mediterranean," where Russia has increased activities since 2013, seeking to counterbalance the USA. It is already being speculated, that the pro-western putschist government could annul the accord on stationing the Black Sea Fleet, thereby depriving Russia of this strategic position. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow has had to watch how NATO has expanded its position in the Black Sea - with Bundeswehr participation and at the expense of Russia. Crimea's geostrategic importance explains why Germany - unlike in the case, for example, of Yugoslavia - is trying to prevent the peninsula's secession and a rapprochement with Russia by all means. more…