Russia Plays Both Sides in Germany

Moscow knows it doesn’t have much economic leverage right now.

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On Dec. 8, a delegation from the AfD, a far-right German opposition party whose interests in the country tend to align with Russia’s, arrived for talks in Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made a rare appearance at the meeting. Also early last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after a considerable period of abstention. The reason for the uptick in attention Russia is paying to Germany is simple: Berlin hopes to restore ties under the Biden administration, and Russia doesn’t like that. So Moscow is trying to make inroads with Germany while it can, influencing domestic politics and ensuring that bilateral trade and economic relations will grow despite Germany’s turn to the United States. Russian-German relations have always been one of the issues around which European politics revolves. Historically, Russia has been uniquely vulnerable to invasion from the west, and that westerly threat is never so potent as when it includes Germany. Maintaining friendly relations with Berlin through trade and commerce is therefore a matter of national security for Moscow. They disagree on any number of issues, but both recognize the complementarity of their relationship: Both of their economies depend on […]

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Ekaterina Zolotova
Ekaterina Zolotova is an analyst for Geopolitical Futures. Prior to Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Zolotova participated in several research projects devoted to problems and prospects of Russia’s integration into the world economy. Ms. Zolotova has a specialist degree in international economic relations from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. In addition, Ms. Zolotova studied international trade and international integration processes. Her thesis was on features of economic development of Venezuela. She speaks native Russian and is fluent in English.