22:13 GMT20 September 2020
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    Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has called on Russia and Germany to "re-establish trust" and help re-build the relationship between Moscow and the West, following the severe breaking down of relations as a result of the crisis in Ukraine.

    Gorbachev said he was concerned with the recent deterioration of Russia's relationship with the US and EU, and in particular, took note of ties between Berlin and Moscow.

    "I believe that in the near future it will be stated by both the Russians and Germans that the need to re-establish a relationship and invest in the diplomatic potential between the two countries is of great importance," the former Soviet leader was quoted as saying at a presentation of a book by German journalist and writer Wilfried Scharnagl in Moscow. 

    "We are both an educated people and have such history together […] So why must we engage in this bickering?

    "We [Germany and Russia] must restore and recover what we once had." 

    The 84-year-old, who played a key role in the collapse of the Berlin Wall, urged diplomats from both sides to "show wisdom and responsibility and restore confidence and dialogue," saying that there "was no time to lose."

    Despite the break down in relations, widely thought to be at their worst levels for decades, Gorbachev believes a revival is possible, citing the improvement in post-World War Two relations between the countries when "everyone thought that Russia and Germany couldn't cooperate, but they succeeded."

    Disagreements Over Ukraine 

    Relations between Moscow and the West first soured following Crimea's decision to hold a referendum and leave Ukraine.

    Tensions were further inflamed when locals voted overwhelmingly in favor of uniting with Russia, with more than 95 percent of the population supporting the move.

    The US, along with some of its other allies, accused Russia of interfering in Ukraine over the Crimea situation. Russian officials, however, along with the people of Crimea, pointed out that it was the democratic wish of the people. 

    The Role of Germany

    Many observers have seen Germany as Europe's closest link to Russia, as it is believed Chancellor Angela Merkel has better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin compared to some of the other western leaders.

    However, Germany's decision to stand alongside Washington and back EU sanctions against Russia has been one significant factor thought to have increased tensions. German media is also being accused of media bias on their reporting of issues involving Russia and Ukraine.

    As a result of these developments, the public sentiment in both Russia and Germany remains rather negative. However, "re-establishing" strong ties between the two former allies, as suggested by former Soviet leader, could just be what Europe, and the rest of the world, needs. 


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    anti-Russian sentiment, Ukraine crisis, EU-Russia relations, allies, historical memory, diplomacy, history, WWII, Russian Foreign Ministry, German Foreign Ministry, European Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, Europe, Moscow, Berlin, Germany, Russia
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