I made a mistake by relying on Russian gas

Is Angela Merkel responsible for the war in Ukraine?

  • Germany hastened the completion of a strategic project the size of "Nord Stream 2".

    archival

  • The extension of the pipeline between Russia and Germany aims to secure the latter's natural gas needs.

    archival

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Angela Merkel has disappeared, and the former German chancellor, upon leaving power last December, promised to refrain from any comments and advice to her successor, Olaf Scholz.

Were it not for a brief paragraph in the local newspapers stating that her wallet was stolen from her in the supermarket, and an eloquent press statement condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we would have thought that she no longer exists.

After four terms in the chancellorship, she has genuinely weathered the troubles of German and European politics, in which she has been tirelessly participating, since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But the war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin has pushed her to the center of the public debate.

What is the share of responsibility, for those who ruled Germany for 16 years, in the tragedy that Ukraine is going through?

How did this East German woman, who speaks Russian and grew up under a communist regime, see nothing coming?

And how can an older European leader feel good about the Russian president, with whom she has spent so much time face-to-face or on the phone?

And why did she continue to trust, and even woo, according to critics, this former KGB agent who worked in Dresden during the Cold War, and whose character she was unaware of?

Above all, how could she make the fatal mistake of making her country so dependent on Russian gas?

Russia has always been close to Merkel's mind;

I grew up in Templin, a small Russian-influenced town about 60 kilometers from Berlin.

As a teenager, she won a trip to Moscow for excelling in her high school Russian language competition.

She loves to read Tolstoy and Dostoevsky;

A picture of "Tsarina Catherine the Great" was hung on the wall of her office in the Chancellery.

ruin field

Many blame her for her "naivety" toward Putin.

And her party is targeting her now.

And here is the new head of the Christian Democratic Union, which faces the opposition, Friedrich Merz, referring to parliamentarians to the "field of ruin left by German foreign and security policy in recent years."

“We wouldn't be there if Ukraine had been allowed to join NATO," Merz says, something that Merkel and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy opposed at the 2008 Bucharest summit.

However, unlike her predecessor, Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder, Angela Merkel has never refrained from condemning violations of freedoms and the suppression of dissent in Russia.

When I went to visit the Russian president's opponent, Alexei Navalny, who was being treated in Berlin for poisoning, I criticized Putin.

And the latter did not stop provoking and testing her.

In 2007, he learned of the chancellor's fear of dogs, so he brought her a Labrador, while receiving her in the Kremlin.

In the photo, Merkel is seen crouching in her chair with Putin smiling. In 2014, Putin publicly lied to Merkel, for the first time, and assured her that he had no intention of annexing Crimea.

The relationship between Moscow and Berlin has cooled considerably, while the chancellor has called for a series of European sanctions against Russia.

She was not deceived, but she still hoped that common business interests and the pursuit of dialogue would make the break-up possible.

However, in 2015, Merkel gave the green light to build a gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, connecting Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Although the decision was of a "purely commercial" nature, critics pointed to the project's dangerous geostrategic ramifications.

Nord Stream 2 highlights the fragility of Germany's energy supply, which is 50% dependent on Russian gas.

The only guarantor

In 2011, under pressure from a public terrified of Fukushima, Japan, the chancellor decided overnight to phase out nuclear power.

In principle, the last two plants still in operation are scheduled to close next year.

Meanwhile, the German government returned to the use of coal aggressively.

Therefore, Russian gas remained the only solution to ensuring German energy supplies in the medium term.

Indifferent to the warnings of the Green Party (the only German party to oppose the construction of Nord Stream 2), and to the protests of Ukraine, the Baltic states and the United States, the Merkel-led coalition continued the project.

It took the outbreak of war in Ukraine, on February 24, for Germany to freeze the project, and then search for new gas suppliers, Qatar for example.

In her party, conservative leaders in the Eastern Province and the Bavarian Christian Social Union criticized her for her "obstinacy" toward Vladimir Putin after the annexation of Crimea.

And in the ranks of the SPD, which have participated in two of Merkel's three states in the "grand coalition" and who have endorsed all important decisions on energy, there is, too, a conscience check.

In addition to the main role played by Schroeder, who is Putin's personal friend and the architect of the Nord Stream project that Merkel inherited from him;

There is the policy that Chancellor Willie Brandt launched in 1969 to begin détente with the Soviets.

For Brandt, closer economic and trade ties with Moscow should enable Russia to shift toward coexistence and de-escalation.

Until February 24, this doctrine was not really in question in Germany.

This indicates the scale of the strategic transformation underway in the country.

Yet it is a revolution that has, so far, failed to break Merkel's silence.

• In 2015, Merkel gave the green light to build a gas pipeline, "Nord Stream 2", linking Russia with Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Although the decision was of a "purely commercial" nature, critics pointed to the project's dangerous geostrategic ramifications.


• In 2007, Putin learned of the Chancellor's fear of dogs, so he brought her a "Labrador" dog, while receiving her in the Kremlin.

In the photo, Merkel is seen crouching in her chair with Putin smiling. In 2014, Putin publicly lied to Merkel, for the first time, and assured her that he had no intention of annexing Crimea.


• 50% of German gas supplies come from Russia.

• Unlike her predecessor, Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder, Angela Merkel has never refrained from condemning violations of freedoms and the suppression of dissent in Russia.

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