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02.03.2018

The dispute over Russia splits Germany to the east and west

The ongoing political crisis in Germany brings back to the agenda the issue of lifting anti-Russian sanctions. In the coalition of the CDU-CSU, represented by Angela Merkel, voices are heard in support of reconciliation with Russia. Trade restrictions do not correspond to the interests of the eastern part of Germany, economically closely related to our country. The Prime Minister of the state of Saxony-Anhalt Rainer Haseloff accused the West German elites of pursuing their policies at the expense of the former GDR. "Sanctions have a strong negative impact on the enterprises of the east of Germany, and in the west are almost not felt," - said Khazeloff.

"Trade restrictions are a dead horse"

At the end of January, the heads of the three eastern regions of the Federal Republic of Germany issued a joint statement on the sanctions problem. Regional leaders stressed that they represent not only themselves, but also other lands that were part of the GDR. According to politicians, the sanctions mechanism does not affect the course of Russia, but at the same time it damages local budgets. "Trade restrictions are a dead horse, it's impossible to go further," the head of Thuringia, Bodo Ramelov, formulated.


The head of the Union of Farmers of Germany linked the fall in prices for products with countermeasures of the Russian Federation

From the point of view of the opposition-minded east, Berlin brings his economic interests to the victim, and then blames the inability to raise the standard of living to national standards. Russia, thus, becomes a factor in the internal German political polemics. The central press is fueling the negative image of the Kremlin. In the publications in the east, the emphasis is different, and articles on the damage caused by sanctions to local economic affairs are published more and more often.

The answer of the capital establishment to the inhabitants of the east is sometimes almost provocative. In January, Gem Ozdemir, co-chair of the Green Party, said that "massive human rights violations can not be discounted only because some regional governments would like to fund local business funds."

"Voters do not understand Merkel"

One of the initiators of the campaign for lifting sanctions, the head of the land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Erwin Zellering, is from the west, but he has to take into account the mood in the east, where he achieved political success. The September parliamentary elections revealed a significant drop in Angela Merkel's support in the territories of the former GDR, which can no longer be ignored. Natives of the former USSR, with whom RIA Novosti spoke, told that in the 1990-ies they voted for the alliance of the CDU-CSU, but were disappointed in its policy. Henceforth, the favorite of local elections is the right-handed "Alternative for Germany", advocating unconditional lifting of sanctions.


Prime Minister of the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Erwin Zellering

The approximation of regional elections raises the issue for leaders in the east by the edge. Not wishing to join the coalition with AdG, local leaders nevertheless strive to get the votes of its voters. It is possible to do this in the current situation by criticizing the sanctions. That generates the eastern front, which does not recognize party boundaries. Hazeloff represents the CDU-CSU Angela Merkel, Erwin Zellering - Social Democratic Party, Bodo Ramelov - the ultra-left of Die Linke.

As told by RIA Novosti political analyst Alexei Makarkin, in local elections geopolitical arguments have no weight. "Voters do not understand why the regional economy should suffer, and, for example, a farmer can be fired only because the company he works for has Russian contracts." On the local level, everything is perceived differently. "On the scale of Germany, a bankrupt enterprise with 80 employees unnoticed, and for local voters 80 lost jobs - a landmark event, "- says Makarkin.

Double standards

"German public opinion is very heterogeneous - how many people, so many points of view, while in Germany there are many who consider sanctions unjustified and harmful," Yury Eremenko, one of the leaders of the Russian community of Germany, told RIA Novosti. "Often it spills onto the Internet. Under the articles on Russia, the overwhelming majority of comments are left by the opponents of sanctions, and people can not understand why the question is so sharply raised over Russia, while Berlin supplies arms to the Middle East, Saudi Arabia yu, and did not impose any sanctions against Turkey because of Northern Cyprus. "
Such criticism is widespread in East Germany, as its inhabitants are accustomed to perceive Russia as an economic partner. "People simply can not understand why trade with our country is now so complicated, and this discontent has not begun today, it has been dragging on since 2014," concludes Makarkin.

A source: RIA News

Author: Igor Gashkov

Tags: Germany, Sanctions, Economy, Russia, Politics, West, Europe