The former adviser to Helmut Kohl, Horst Teltschik, accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of weakness in leadership and passivity towards Russia and France in an interview with Spiegel. Teltschik, who is regarded as one of the most well-respected German politicians, explained that Merkel is "not a person who likes to take the lead", stating that the West has alienated Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to Kohl, who is said to have favoured the incumbent chancellor since the beginning of her career, would have tried to build a "personal bond" with Putin, if he were in Merkel’s place. Her successful mediation policy in the Ukraine crisis would have shown that "she could have done much more if she had wanted to".
He told the outlet that when his first term began, Putin was inclined to drift towards Europe, but the latter turned its back on him and Russia. According to Teltschik, the Russian president was interested in the question of European security and was even ready to discuss joining NATO. On the contrary, the alliance’s policy harms the situation, and is instead irritating Moscow with drills and surveillance activities.
“The West likes raging and wagging a finger, while the media are picturing Putin as a mighty villain who is capable of anything. One could not but note that such a position is one-sided”, he stated.
Teltschik also noted that the West should have thought not only about Ukraine joining the EU, but also about relations with Russia, including a possibility of creating an all-European free trade zone, but “Brussels undertook nothing”.
Teltschik is said to have belonged to former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's closest circle from 1972 until 1990, and participated in negotiations on German reunification as the head of the foreign policy department of the chancellor’s office. From 1999 until 2008, Teltschik also led the Munich Security Conference.