Russia Monitor

German-Russian Rapprochement: Gas and Common Enemies

Written on 10/23/2018

  • Over recent months, Germany has been systematically striving for better relations with Russia while its alliance with the United States seems to have plunged into a crisis. Nonetheless, such state of matters can be neither referred to as temporary nor related to the Trump administration. Instead, the ongoing changes are of lasting character and stem from a series of conditions being independent from political decision of the incumbent.
  • There are fewer and fewer enthusiasts of German security and defense policy based on state’s alliance with the U.S. and NATO; interestingly enough, there emerged a political camp whose members call for constructing an alternative plan that would take into account separating from the United States and building the country’s own capabilities within the European Union.
  • Germany’s stronger and even dominant position in Europe clearly pursues to make the country “Russia’s most privileged partner” in the European Union, as evidenced by the growing importance of Russian gas supplies.
  • The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is extremely important for both parties; it will enable Russia to increase both Germany and Europe’s dependence on its raw material while hitting Ukraine. As for Berlin, it will be provided with direct access to such volumes of gas that would manage to dominate the gas market in Central and part of Western Europe.
  • While focusing on both countries’ common points (including gas exports and the question of Iran – as Berlin strongly opposes any further restriction to be introduced), Germany and Russia clearly tend to overshadow all issues about which they are unable to speak with one voice. For instance, there is a political stalemate in the case of Ukraine; nevertheless, as for Syria, Putin seems much closer to achieving his main goal, mostly by involving Berlin in his plan.
  • The German-Russian rapprochement may traditionally translate into weaker security of Central and Eastern European countries. Nonetheless, the so-called Three Seas Initiative can count on Donald Trump as a strong ally. It appears that further steps of the U.S. presidential administration on the implementation of Nord Stream 2, including some potential sanctions, shall be perceived in terms of a sincerity test, thus depicting U.S. actual involvement in Central and Eastern Europe.

Photo source: KREMLIN.RU

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