With immense courage, the leader of the Russian opposition, Navalny, returned home after surviving a poisoning attempt. President Putin avenged all the powers available to the Russian state apparatus. Navalny was imprisoned in a concentration camp. The authorities threaten to include his organization on the list of extremist movements, along with the Islamic State and the Taliban. Then Navalny’s organization decided to dissolve it.
Consequently, any opposition is stifled in Russia. After tsarism and communism, the Russians were allowed to retain the hope of more freedom after 1989. With the brutal repression of Navalny and his supporters, Putin showed that he no longer wanted to keep up with the appearance of democracy.
This is a tragedy for all freedom-loving Russians. But Putin is also putting the West, particularly the European Union, on hold. The European Union is expected to truly stand up for “European” values. At the same time, Russia is a large and close country with which the European Union should relate.
Germany is dependent on Russian gas. France has sought – in vain – to have a dialogue with Russia, because it has great interests in the Mediterranean region, where Russia plays an important role. Especially in Syria and Libya, the French face Russia again. The tension between moral values and strategic interests has led to a half-hearted policy that is increasingly difficult to maintain.
This certainly applies to Germany’s indecisive and inconsistent policies. As Navalny languishes in a punitive camp and political life in Russia disappears, Germany clings to the Nord Stream 2. In addition, the prime ministers of several German states negotiated with Russia to supply it with the Sputnik vaccine.
In doing so, they facilitate the Russian propaganda campaign, while sufficient other vaccines will become available in the foreseeable future. The most powerful country in the European Union can be expected to use its economic power to put more pressure on Russia.
The newspaper’s position is expressed in the commentary of Volkswagen Krant. It comes after a discussion between the commentators and the editor-in-chief.