Topic:West European Studies
Accordingto the article, even before Russia annexed Crimea and the conflict ineastern Ukraine started, the relationships between Russia and Germanyhad already been strained. The main objective of the article is totrace the relations between Germany and Russia after the culminationof the Cold War with the aim of finding out the reasons for strainingof the relationship between the two nations. The relationship betweenGermany and Russia has for a long time been at the center of issuesthat surround prosperity and stability within the region. So that thearticle can establish a better understanding of the aspects of therelationship, the author assesses the debates that surround Germanforeign policy and to some degree the public debate concerning Russiasuggesting the time and motives when the debates shifted and theramifications that might develop as a consequence of the change. Among the main strengths of the article is the fact that it addressesthe specific interest of the manner in which Germany understood therelationship and the way it construed the decline that lead to thecrisis in Ukraine. However, the fact that the article fails toconsider the Cyprus crisis as a potential positive issue forcooperation between Russia and Germany may be considered as aweakness even though it is quickly becoming an indication ofdifferences between the two parties.
Howuseful do you find the distinction between values and interests inexplaining German attitudes and polices towards Russia?
Ifind the distinction between values and interest in explaining Germanattitudes and polices towards Russia useful becausethemanner in which German reacted to annexation of Crimea as well as thesupport for separation by Russia in southern and eastern Ukrainerevived concerns and suspicion concerning the direction and contentof the relations between Russia and Germany. Queries arose as to if anew association between Moscow and Berlin was eminent and if Germanywas separating from the west and was determined to remain impartialin regards to Russia and NATO. This perspective considers theattitudes of pro-Russian and anti-west issues as simply two sides ofthe same issue and public opinions have shown the attitudes thatsupport Russian and the way they correlate with anti-western issues.
Theusefulness of the distinction between values and interests inexplaining German attitudes and policies towards Russia can also beseen in the key interpretation of German Ostpolitikincluding the policy of Russia,which is profitability overprinciples, in that the policies and attitudes associated withGermany were as a result of economic interests. Further, governmentdecisions were merely a reaction to pressure from commerce andindustry in Germany. Furthermore, the Germans were very conscious ofthe reliance on natural gas from Russia and subsequently did not wantto annoy the Russian administration.
Nevertheless,the evidence that has been presented for these kinds of views hasbeen very selective and the manner in which poll results areportrayed has been selective. Consequently, it becomes important topresent an evaluation of the policies and attitudes of the governmentof Germany along with the key coalition parties. A distinctionbetween values and interest as far as German attitudes and policiestowards Russia are concerned makes it possible to consider politicalparties, public opinion leaders as well as organizations thatcriticize the government in its responses to the crisis as being veryweak and insufficient to deal with what is considered a criticalchallenge Russia to attain order after the Cold War. It further makesits possible to assess the strength of the reactive positions, howthey will have an effect on government policies of Germany in futureand their potential effect on relations across the Atlantic.
Isthe strategy to respond to Russia that German adopted after theannexation of Crimea a dual policy?