One of the leaders of the European Union, Germany, can dramatically change its approach to the Russian Federation’s policy.
Let’s look at the historical background of the question. Leader of the ruling party of the country, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Angela Merkel in 2018 left the position of the party’s leader and announced that she will not run for the German Chancellor post in the 2021 parliamentary elections. On April 11, Marcus Söder, the leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian State Premier and Armin Laschet, who became CDU leader in January 2021 joined the vie for a position. The week lasted tense negotiations between the parties, none wanted to give up with their ambitions. However, a compromise decision on the candidacy for the position of chancellor of the country was reached. The Christian-Social Union has agreed that the only candidate from the CDU/CSU conservative bloc will be head of the Christian-Democratic Union Armin Laschet. And, according to opinion polls, he has all the chances to become the Chancellor, which is one of the leaders of the EU states.
According to the latest opinion polls by Politbarometer if the Parliamentary elections in Germany took place now, the CDU/CSS bloc would receive 31%, Greens – 21%, the Social Democratic Party of Germany – 14%, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) – 11%, the Free Democratic Party 9%, the Left Party – 7%. If such predictions are correct, none of the parties can form a majority government.
A potential candidate for the chancellor of the country Armin Laschet has already become known for loyal attitude to the policy of the leader of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and his supporters. When Russia occupied Crimea, Armin Laschet stood for the Russian president, calling the criticism “antiputin populism”. He also declared that even if the “policy of the Russian Federation in Crimea is clearly contrary to international law,” it is necessary to put itself to the place of the interlocutor, probably to understand its motives. He also urged to abandon “demonization of Russia”, doubted the version of British special services on the Skripal’s poisoning by Russian spies and opposes the termination of the construction of the North-Stream 2. Armin Laschet is a frequent guest of the Russian-German forum ‘St. Petersburg Dialogue’ and opposes anti-Russian sanctions. So, given these aspects, it can be assumed that if Armin Laschet becomes the German Chancellor, relations between Germany and Russia may warmed and the fact that the German Federation are among leaders of in the European Union, will affect the attitude of other EU states to the Kremlin’s policy.
There is another moment, which, in the context of the latest events in the international arena, it is worth paying attention to. The party, which also claims to the votes of voters, pushing its candidates to the German parliament – the Alternative for Germany is considered by local experts to be pro-Russian. This party is positioned as nationalist, anti-immigrant and anti-European. It stands for closer cooperation with Moscow, the abolition of sanctions against the Kremlin, and its representatives regularly attend the Russian Federation and the annexed Crimea. One of the ideologues of the Alternative for Germany Alexander Gauland in conversation with BBC correspondents in 2016 considers a serious mistake to expand NATO to the East. In his opinion, this is a “violation of promises” before Russia.
Considering it, one can expect that tolerant to “Kremlin”, the potential Chancellor of Germany Armin Laschet will easy to get along with leading politicians from the far-right Alternative for Germany on a common vision of the attitude to Russia’s policy.
Consequently, we have a picture of the prospects of possible changes in the priorities of geopolitical vectors in Europe.