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Bulletin of the Institute for Western Affairs, ed. 9 (491): Germany, Russia, History

Bulletin of the Institute for Western Affairs, ed. 9 (491)/2022: Stanisław Żerko „Germany, Russia, History”

How far into the past should one reach to discover the very origin of Germany’s Russlandpolitik? This policy towards Russia, which failed spectacularly on February 24, 2022, does indeed have historical roots. However, none of them extend as far back as the 18th or 19th centuries or even the Interbellum. The historical determinants of the reunified Germany's policy towards Russia only go back as far as the last few decades. It would be absurd to assert influences from earlier periods.

Everything has changed since those earlier times: Germany itself, the German society, and the configuration of international powers. In both the 19th century and the 1920s, Germany’s policy goals towards Russia differed radically from those adopted under the rule of Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel. The current stance of the Olaf Scholz administration on Putin's Russia has been raising doubts. Berlin has been accused of procrastination and excessive caution, although a firm intervention by the Social Democratic Chancellor in the Bundestag on Sunday, February 27 (proclaiming die Zeitenwende or a “turn of an era”) was received as a radical paradigm shift. However, the new approach did not last long. The Federal Republic's policy towards Russia remains controversial. It is unclear how pro-found the change in Berlin's policy is and especially whether it is permanent.

the Institute for Western Affairs in Poznan

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