In the federal election campaign, the Greens and SPD refused to rule out an alliance with the Left Party.

At the time, politicians from both parties spoke openly about the fact that it would be difficult to come to a common denominator in the fields of foreign and defense policy.

Greens and Social Democrats are relieved these days that this option was not on the table.

Left-wing politicians see it that way too.

"If we were in government now - that would be an absolute catastrophe," foreign policy expert Gregor Gysi told the newspaper "Die Welt" in early March.

Sahra Wagenknecht could not agree.

Three weeks after the start of the war, she also considered it "desirable if there were more forces in the German government that would now focus on negotiations and de-escalation rather than on armaments".

Helen Bubrowski

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, the Left Party was in a desolate state.

The two new party leaders Janine Wissler and Susanne Hennig-Wellsow have not been able to get the internal dispute under control either. The party recorded heavy losses in state elections in East Germany, and in September they only got into the Bundestag thanks to three direct mandates.

The beginning of the war acted as a catalyst.

The gulf between the pragmatists and the ideologues in the party widened even further, and public insults were exchanged.

The first acknowledgment came in the elections in Saarland: the party lost more than ten percentage points and was kicked out of the state parliament.

It was foreseeable that the left would not agree on this issue

Immediately after the Russian troops marched in, the party leadership tried to adopt a new tone towards Russia.

On the morning of February 24, the two party leaders, together with the parliamentary group leaders Amira Mohamed Ali and Dietmar Bartsch, condemned the bombing and the invasion of the Ukraine by Russian troops "in the strongest terms".

"This war of aggression, which violates international law, cannot be justified by anything." In the Bundestag debate on February 27, in which Chancellor Scholz announced the "turn of the era", Mohamed Ali confessed to having misjudged Putin and signaled his readiness for sanctions.

It was foreseeable that the left would not agree on this question, even if things remained relatively calm in the first few days after the beginning of the war.

But just a few days later, a group of left-wing deputies around Wagenknecht published a statement that not only criticized the planned arms deliveries to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, but also criticized American policy, in particular the decision to expand NATO to the east, a " significant co-responsibility” for the escalation.

Gysi accused these deputies of "complete lack of emotion regarding the war of aggression, the dead, the injured and the suffering".

They are only interested in "saving their old ideology in every respect".

Wagenknecht, in turn, was "horrified" by this letter.

A result of anti-Americanism

Shortly thereafter, the Left Party's Council of Elders issued a statement that read: "The question of how far the war in Ukraine is now an invasion of Russian troops or an internal civil war of the forces in the new Eastern states and fascist Elements in western Ukraine is in the room.” Hans Modrow, chairman of the committee and former Prime Minister of the GDR, wrote down the sentence – uncoordinated, as it was said.

It was later changed, and the party leaders announced that they would reorganize the party's council of elders.

Such examples show that even after mass war crimes in Ukraine, the left is incapable of breaking with its pro-Russia tradition.

Many leftists still associate the Soviet Union with liberation from National Socialism.

In West Germany in particular, the turn towards Russia is also a consequence of the anti-Americanism that has been rampant since the Vietnam War.

These enemy and friend images lived on in the spectrum of today's Left Party even after reunification and later the merger of the WASG and PDS.

In the program for the 2021 federal elections, the left called for the dissolution of NATO, which is to be replaced by “a collective security system with the participation of Russia”.

The aim is a "policy of detente towards Russia instead of further escalation and troop deployments or maneuvers on its western border".

The left accuses NATO of describing Russia and China as enemy images in its strategy papers.

"We oppose all forms of imperialism."

Just two weeks before the war began, a number of leftists, including Gysi, had signed the appeal with the headline “Peace policy instead of war hysteria”.

It states that the "unilateral blame on Russia" by Western governments and media is increasingly "taking on the character of war propaganda".

Despite the military maneuvers near Ukraine, Russia has no interest in a war.

Wagenknecht announced this position on a talk show a few days before the outbreak of war.

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