Putin, Merkel and Macron: Who's got the power?

Should Putin bow to Merkel and Macron?

Should Vladimir Putin humiliate himself to the point when he needs to explain himself to Paris and Berlin, whose leaders also consider him a "killer"?

There is no understanding between Moscow and Berlin

If one takes a look at the Kremlin's report and the report from the press service of the German government about the videoconference held the day before between the leaders of Russia, Germany and France, one gets to understand that the motto of the communication was "look who's talking." 

Russia, Germany, France and Ukrainian crisis

For example, DW, citing the press service of the German government, reported that "one of the topics" of the discussion between Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron was the crisis in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, "Merkel and Macron pointed out to Putin the need for Russia to fulfil its obligations to stabilize the ceasefire in the region and comply with the Minsk agreements."

The website of the President of the Russian Federation states that "Putin stressed out that it was important the Kiev authorities should fulfil all the agreements that were previously reached at the highest level, primarily on establishing direct dialogue with Donetsk and Luhansk." The Russian president also expressed serious concern over the escalation that Ukraine provoked on the contact line. 

Noteworthy, the West "points out to Putin," and Putin simply "stressed out." The difference in rhetoric is obvious, and it speaks of the arrogance of Paris and Berlin.

The crisis in Belarus

As for the crisis in Belarus, the German report speaks of "the need for inclusive (that is, with Tikhanovskaya) dialogue for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the country." The Kremlin's website indicates that "Putin pointed out the inadmissibility of external interference in internal affairs of a sovereign state." Again, we are dealing with the same demanding tone of the West and the neutral tone on the part of Russia.

The crisis in Syria

"Merkel and Macron expressed concern about the humanitarian situation in Syria and called for continued cross-border assistance to civilians in need," the press office of the German government said.

Here is what the Kremlin had to say: "The situation in Syria continues to stabilize, and it is issues of humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people that are especially important. 

It appears that the position on Syria is the same,  but the West does not speak of any stabilization and blames both the crisis and the task of eliminating its consequences on the Russian Federation (after all, cross-border contacts are under the control of the Russian Federation and Turkey).

The vaccine diplomacy

It would seem that Russia has a consensus with Germany on the topic of vaccine, because Merkel asked the European regulator to approve Sputnik V. That's not how it turned out. 

"Merkel and Macron pointed out that cooperation with Moscow in this area would depend on the results of the analysis of the drug for its subsequent registration by EMA, the European drug regulator. At the same time, European leaders stressed that the standards that would be applied to Sputnik V would be the same as the standards applied to all other vaccines in the EU," DW wrote. 

In a nutshell, the EU does not mind the Russian vaccine, but the regulator does not allow it and turns a blind eye to the shortcomings of Western vaccines. It is an open secret that they are just as experimental as the Russian one, and were approved urgently, without proper verification.

Putin stressed that he was ready for cooperation, provided it should be mutual. He still has hope.

The parties have agreed on one thing - one must follow the Minsk Accords on Ukraine, although it is clear to every even politically ignorant person that this is a "stillborn child."

Paris and Berlin care about the collapse of Russia

It is symbolic that Western and liberal Russian media begin their reports about the videoconference with the requirements that Paris and Berlin want Russia to meet to keep Alexei Navalny  in good health. Russian media begin their reports with the crisis in the Donbass. Of course, the tongue always returns to the sore tooth. However, the West cares about the collapse of Russia, while Russia cares about its compatriots in Ukraine. Feel the difference, as they say.

Given the tone of communication and its purpose, it is unclear why the Russian president is negotiating with Merkel and Macron, who continue imposing their sanctions on Russia. Most recently, Germany and France imposed sanctions on Russia for the "attempted assassination" of Alexei Navalny. In other words, they joined Joe Biden's "I do" when he answered a question of Putin, the "killer." 

Probably, Putin's ultimate goal is to separate Washington from European heavyweights, because there are no other direct measures to influence Washington. However, Putin is not going to gain much respect for those efforts either in the liberal or the patriotic camp. Everything will change when:

  • when Ukraine is reformatted and overcomes the crisis of free fall,
  • when the European Union finally falls apart due to "exits" of various types, including conceptual ones,
  • when the United States becomes just one of the world powers and loses its monopoly of the liberal political center due to the growing influence of Trumpism and Sandersnism.

This will happen in the late 2020s, when the political, industrial, financial and intellectual power of China will crush the centre of power of the West. 

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
Editor Dmitry Sudakov