Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.
WASHINGTON – Relations between Moscow and Berlin are becoming more frigid even though the countries need each other more than ever for Germany to continue receiving uninterrupted energy and Russia to obtain critical foreign investment to maintain its ongoing economic development, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Today, Germany remains Russia’s second most important trading partner, after China. In fact, Germany always has given its relations with Russia top priority and has been an intermediary in contentious relations between Russia and Germany’s allies.
While economic ties between the two countries remain strong, the problem is in their political relationship.
It has taken a turn ever since Vladimir Putin was re-elected president of Russia. He and current German Chancellor Angela Merkel seem to have a personality clash, according to informed regional sources.
On the other hand, Merkel had good relations with Putin’s predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev.
Early on, she had sent Putin a note suggesting a gesture of reconciliation with the West to show that he wanted a new beginning, such as the release of Russian oligarch Mikhail Khdorkovsky from prison.
He ignored her, sources say.
Part of Putin’s problem is that he sees Merkel as very pro-American. Analyst Ralf Neukirch told the German magazine Der Spiegel that Putin was furious after Germany nixed the sale to Russia of the German car manufacturer Opel which is owned by America’s General Motors.
He said that Putin believes that Washington opposed the deal and it fell through.
Putin has gone so far as to accuse Europeans of being American vassals, Neukirch said.
An indication of this has been Russia’s vehement opposition to American installation of an anti-ballistic missile system in Europe to ward off Iranian missiles. However, Russia views the installation as aimed at its own strategic missiles which would not be sufficient technologically to overcome the new anti-missile defense system.
This reality has upset the Russians, since except for a “swarm” approach of launching multiple missiles at once, the Russians would have to come up with a new generation of ballistic missile capable of overcoming the European anti-missile system, at tremendous cost.
Since his reelection, Putin’s dislike for the West, and especially the United States, could be seen in his decision not to attend the May G-8 economic summit of European and U.S. leaders at Camp David in Maryland.
He also refused to attend the recent summit in Chicago of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to which he was invited.
Merkel has infuriated Putin even more now by recently taking him to task for Russia’s support of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. She had asked him to reconsider his stance, but he refused.
But Merkel isn’t giving up on trying to change Putin, sources say, although they admit that Putin may not be receptive to anything that Merkel puts forward.
As a former KGB officer, Putin was stationed in communist East Germany and speaks the language. He wants a “united and secure Europe,” he once told the German parliament, in which Russia and the European countries would pool their resources.
Putin doesn’t believe his proposals to accomplish his goal have been achieved.
“Putin has noted that his proposals haven’t been answered,” according to one of his trusted advisers, Vladislav Belov. “Today, the West for (Putin) no longer has top priority.”
Instead, Putin’s focus will be on the former Soviet states, especially in forming the Eurasian Union that ultimately would incorporate all of the Central Asian countries in a customs-free zone to rival the European Union.
Neukirch said Putin sees the E.U. as weak and standing in the way of good bilateral relations with Germany.
This is another point of departure between Putin and Merkel, who backs the smaller EU members who do not trust Moscow, particularly Poland and countries in the Baltic countries.
While Merkel’s personal approach with Putin is businesslike and professional, even to the point where she scolds him like a schoolmistress, Neukirch said, Putin is said to be somewhat amused by her.
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