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    Vladimir Putin meets with German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel

    Is Berlin Ready to Risk Washington's Wrath by Restoring Ties With Russia?

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    Berlin is ready to restore its relationship with Russia, clearly understanding that it would “create friction” with Washington, which, in turn, will use all its influence over Eastern European states to restrain the rapprochement of the two. But for now, Germany is only “testing the waters” before its final decision, according to Stratfor.

    Berlin is “testing the waters before making a decision on the future of Germany's relationship with Russia,” according to an article published on the website of an American intelligence agency Stratfor (also known as Strategic Forecasting and widely known as the  "shadow CIA") following the meeting between President Putin and German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel in Moscow on Wednesday.

    “Germany sent a signal Wednesday that it is rethinking its relationship with Russia, when Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow,” the article says.

    “Berlin is looking for ways to modify or even lift the current punitive measures against Moscow. However, such a decision would probably create friction between Germany and most Central and Eastern European countries, which means that Berlin is still not ready for a formal change of direction,” it adds.

    The author then gives his reasons why Russia and Germany might be of some interest to each other.

    Germany's Interest in Russia

    Russia is only Germany's 13th most important exports destination, he reasons, but at a time when Europe's economic recovery is still fragile and China's growth is slowing, Berlin probably thinks it needs to diversify its exports as much as possible.

    “The EU sanctions against Moscow make exporting goods to Russia complicated. In addition, Germany and Russia had planned to increase trade before the crisis, with talks for trains, chemical plants and other projects on the table.”

    “Germany is also interested in improving its ties with Russia for energy,” the article says, going into some detail.

    “Germany is the largest consumer of Russian natural gas. This fact forces Berlin to make sure that German and Russian energy companies continue to cooperate. It also forces Berlin to balance between containing Moscow's influence in Central and Eastern Europe and making sure Russia continues to sell natural gas at affordable prices.”

    Another reason, the article says, is that Germany sees Russia as a “key player in solving the crisis in Syria, which is directly linked to the increased arrival of asylum seekers in Europe.”

    Besides, it says, “Germany has been softer than other Western European countries and the United States when it comes to discussing the future of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's government and the Syrian conflict.”

    The above echoes a recent discourse of Ian Bremmer, TIME editor-at-large and the president of the Eurasia Group, who said that Europeans “have got sick of anti-Russian sanctions.”

    And, as Ukraine “has left the headlines”, he said, “you see more European leaders saying: let’s try to normalize our relationship with President Putin.”

    Russia's Interest in Germany

    The reason why Russia, in turn, is interested in Germany, Stratfor says, is that “the Kremlin has been actively lobbying many European countries, such as Italy and France, to ease sanctions — though Moscow knows that Germany is the key to unlocking the sanctions."

    "The Kremlin also sees meetings with high-ranking European officials," it hopefully suggests, "as proof that it is not isolated and as a way to generate friction among EU members.”

    “Putin is probably also thinking long term. Gabriel is the leader of the Social Democratic Party, which traditionally has been sympathetic to Russia. With the popularity of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party in decline because of the refugee crisis, there is a chance Merkel will not be victorious in the next general election, scheduled for 2017. The Social Democratic Party is also taking a hit because of the refugee crisis, but preserving Russia's good ties with the German center-left could be useful should the party perform well in two years.”

    Attention of Ukraine and the United States

    Gabriel's meeting with President Putin, Stratfor suggests, will draw the attention of Ukraine and the United States.

    “Lifting sanctions against Russia could damage Germany's relationship with the United States and also force the White House to increase its economic and military cooperation with former Communist states, from Poland to Romania. This would, in turn, deepen the European Union's already serious political fragmentation.”

    “Though countries in the West such as Italy and France would welcome an easing of tensions with the Kremlin, most EU members in Central and Eastern Europe continue to push for a hard line on Moscow,” it further warns.

    “These countries already have a tense relationship with Germany over its strategies for dealing with the immigration crisis; Central and Eastern Europe have been particularly critical of German plans to relocate asylum seekers across the European Union, and Berlin is not ready for another confrontation.”

    Therefore, the agency concludes, “Germany will probably choose to deal with one crisis at a time.”

    “Gabriel's meeting with Putin suggests that Berlin is testing the waters before making a decision on the future of Germany's relationship with Russia,” it states.

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    Tags:
    relationship, market, military cooperation, anti-Russian sanctions, gas, trade, energy, economic cooperation, Stratfor, Vladimir Putin, Sigmar Gabriel, Germany, United States, Russia, Eastern Europe
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    • Neil McGowan
      "Is Berlin Ready to Risk Washington's Wrath by Restoring Ties With Russia?"

      No. The beigel-munching German witch doesn't get out of bed in the mornings until she gets a telegram from Washington saying that she can.
    • Lubos Vokoun
      "most EU members in Central and Eastern Europe continue to push for a hard line on Moscow,”
      well definitely not Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. What remains is Poland and Baltic but that is a question for psychiatrist
    • slimyfox
      Ohh goodness me, reading this article I felt quite sick. Now Russian politicians or it is just media are talking nonsense. Over here in Germany anti Russian propaganda is strongest than ever, every moment is used by mainstream media to blame and shame Russia and above all Mr Putin. Here is not a single party which would have good word for Russia and even less for Putin. Media is constantly portraying Russia as former USSR which is not in best memories here (western part in particular).

      Our opposition party Die Linke which is clearly on the left side of the political spectrum and SPD (Sigmund Gabriel) is centre left which is in reality right as any other party. As I said even Linke is attacking Russia and Mr Putin. They as well condemn reunification of Crimea and Russian “interference” in Ukrainian war. However they are much more against USA and NATO. But saying that enemy of my enemy is now my friend is absolutely stupid. They hate USA but they hate Russia as well.

      From the political standpoint not a single party wants normalisation of relations with Russia, they would love even to increase sanctions, they would love to destroy Russia. Now as Germany cannot live from the words of these corrupt politicians, we have to work to keep economy going on. We all knew that sanctions imposed on Russia would have some negative effect on our economy as well, however we hoped to compensate them somehow. Not a single one believed that Russia could impose their own sanctions upon us as we are EU leaders and very close to being gods. To our total bewilderment Russia did it and the panic started. Our politicians taught that all is just a bluff and it is a matter who will blink the first. Well after one year Russia still did not blink but we started to blink hard.

      It is not that we blinked because we are loosing billions every month but beside that there was new trouble in a form of 1.5 million refugees, which will cost country minimum 9 billion per year but some estimation are that there till be more than 15 billion EUR per year. Now that is serious money and loosing about 20 billion on Russian sanctions, and drastic increase in unemployment and the most important fact is that our economy is heading for recession and that means infinite domestic trouble. Germany needs jobs, investments and so on. Our largest bank Deutsche bank is on the verge of collapse with 1.5 trillion of bad debts (toxic assets) . If this bank goes down Germany will need Russian and Chinese help to stay afloat. Now we know that Russia Chinese relation is bit funny to say the least as they are together only there where they (Chinese) need each other really bad, otherwise Chinese are giving shit to no one and are looking their business only. However Russia can exert way more influence on China than Germany can and that is one of reasons why now our leaders are willing to pretend to love Russia.

      Do not forget EVER that it was Germany which initially pushed for even harsher sanctions against Russia, that Angela Merkel just few days ago called for new round of sanction against Russia this time because bombardment in Syria. Angela Merkel openly hates Russia and is very uncomfortable with Putin around. She is the Hitler's reincarnation (for those who believe in such things) and she hates Russia and Putin with same passion Hitler hated USSR and Stalin.

      Russian media should be very clear about it and Russian politicians should demand clear and loud explanation of their standpoint on Russia and demand compensation for caused damages with illegal and unjust sanction. Germany will not survive without business with Russia, as the wagon is going downhill and is only gathering momentum. If Russia connects bridge, Germany is safe, if not say good night Germany's dreams about 4th Reich.
    • slimyfox
      Let me to inform all of you who are not from EU member state and maybe you are not familiar with EU procedural system in place. Due to the fact that there are 28 countries in EU and some are small and the other are large and some are influential and some not. In order to prevent and unfair treatment EU adopted basic rule for voting in EU Parliament as well as in EU Commissions. As far as voting is concern nowhere in EU is allowed majority voting system. In EU every vote has to be Consensual, which means that if even the smallest and the least influential or in any sense weakest country votes contrary to all other members than the vote did not pass. Consensus require that absolutely and without exception unequivocally all states confirm and accept proposition in absolutely same wording and meaning.

      That is important to know when it comes to sanctions against Russia. The question is always very clear and unambiguous and is either YES or clear NO, no other explanation is allowed. That was the case when Greek Prime Minister Tsipras promised to Mr Putin to stop the sanctions it was childishly easy to do so, but Tsipras failed to do so and we already know why and what were the consequence of his double game.

      Germany is in even easier position as it is quite impossible to blackmail or even threaten Germany, and Angela Merkel could simply stop extension of the sanctions thus stopping them dead in tracks. The question is will she want to do that? Well, hell NO she is Obama's arse licker and she will do all Obama orders her to do. To her does not matter if we Germans suffer sanctions as she is surely not, but this is about to change soon and when her CDU/CSU party realises that next elections are end for them she will fly out of office sooner then she entered. Counting on German friendship is same as counting on Ice cream being fresh in Sahara desert.
    • karlof1
      Stratfor's reading tea leaves again, ignoring longstanding German/Russian mutually shared national interests. Rudderless analysis is my assessment.
    • Baybars in reply tokarlof1(Show commentHide comment)
    • Baybars in reply toslimyfox(Show commentHide comment)
      slimyfox, Thank you for the interesting insight into the EU and her politics. I fear that Angela will stay in power until the end of her life and then Russia will be blamed for ending her life.
    • EUROPEAN
      I m Sorry But fu.k germany .
    • mario2015
      I hope the German administration is genuine in its desire to restore ties with Putin's Russia. However I got a feeling that they will back stab the Russians when winter is over or get an alternative supply. That's my opinion.
    • ralf.sxm
      US Government is controlled by Zionists. Angela Merkal too. However, Merkel & Putin have a jointly past, so perhaps ...
    • ralf.sxm
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