MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin has announced a “German-Russian Youth Year” for 2016/2017. As former Head of the Federal Chancellery Ronald Pofalla (CDU) declared last week at the conclusion of a German-Russian Cooperation Meeting (“Petersburg Dialogue”), cooperation between German and Russian civil societies are “more important than ever.” Therefore, the German government’s efforts to intensify the German-Russian student exchange program must be supported. Already at the beginning of the Petersburg Dialogue, which has restarted, following a year’s interruption, Chancellor Merkel explained that Germany is “interested in a reliable partnership with Russia.” Business functionaries are concluding that willingness to cooperate, which had waned due to the Ukraine conflict, is again growing “on both sides.” Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, foresees a “diplomatic process” under Berlin’s leadership that will lead to a further rapprochement during Germany’s OSCE chair – beginning January 1, 2016. Ischinger explicitly points to similarities to the cold war’s so-called détente policy, from which the West emerged the winner.
BERLIN/KIEV/MOSCOW (Own report) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is convinced that the West will be “victorious” in the power struggle with Moscow. Merkel told the Munich Security Conference on the weekend that the Ukraine conflict “cannot be won” with military means. That is why “a new way must be found.” Comparing the current power struggle to the Cold War, she reaffirmed, “I am a hundred percent convinced that, with our principles, we will win.” Earlier, Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, had expressed a similar view proposing that a “double strategy” be applied in the West’s power struggle with Russia. According to the journal of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), the power struggle, which currently cannot won with military means, should be returned “from the military to the economic level.” To this effect, Berlin has launched a diplomatic offensive that should lead to talks in Minsk on Wednesday.