Russia and Germany came to understanding that current problematic situation will continue for a very long time without active work on restoration of relations, but there is a long way before implementation of positive steps, a member of the European Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences' International Relations Institute, Vladimir Olenchenko, and Deputy Dean of World Economy and International Relations Faculty of the HSE, Andrey Suzdaltsev, said in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, commenting on today's meeting of Russian and German Foreign Ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
According to Vladimir Olenchenko, both sides understand the necessity of complete reconciliation. "Right now we are at a crossroad: we will either restore relations, or the track that the follow in recent years will remain forever. I think that both Russian side and German side understand it, so the desire of German elite and Russian leadership to return to the previous level of contacts is also understandable. It is great that contacts between our countries are still intact and aimed at maintaining this spirit of search for specific options, which can help Russia and Germany to return to effective cooperation," he stressed.
At the same time, the expert drew attention to the fact that diplomatic statements don't mean that Europe is moving towards Russia - at best, the process of liberation from dependence on America has just began. "In my view, now Europe is starting to pursue more independent policy in the framework of Euro-Atlantic cooperation, trying to build independent relations with Russia, just like it was in the past. The United States, as you know, try to be the ones who determine tactics and strategies of behavior of their allies. Europe and other countries clearly don't like their main thesis about having any contacts with Russia only under Washington's patronage," he noted.
There are still no drastic changes in the policy of Germany, one of the initiators of anti-Russian sanctions, Andrey Suzdaltsev pointed out. "Berlin still demands to return Crimea and stop supporting militia in Donbass. Current statements are associated with the fact that everyone are tired of confrontation. We saw the same thing at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, which was visited by a lot of high-ranking officials from the European Union, and all of them said that it is time to remove sanctions - but only if Russia returns Crimea and abandons Donbass. Basically, Lavrov's and Steinmeier's statements about the inevitability of improvment of relations between the EU and Russia have different meanings," he believes.
"For Russia, it is understanding of reality: Crimea will remain in the Russian Federation forever, and Ukraine pursues policy that destroys the integrity of Ukrainian statehood, so Russia is not ready to carry out those decisions, that Ukraine is supposed to carry out. Germany expects that Russia will soon give up and begin to do what the West demands from it. Summing these seemingly different opinions, we can say that the general context of relations between the EU and Russia did not change - it is simply impossible to always remain in a state of confrontation, which hurts everyone, including Europe, whose positions on Russian market are taken by competitors from Asia," the expert concluded.