Russian Propaganda? What Russian Propaganda?

The speaker of the Russian Duma has asked a parliamentary committee to study a proposal to condemn the reunification of Germany in 1990.

Annexation

Sergei Naryshkin earlier this week faced scathing criticism of Russia’s annexation of Crimean peninsula when he spoke at the Parliament Assembly of Europe.

Russian news agencies say Communist deputy Nikolai Ivanov on Wednesday proposed a resolution to condemn what he called the “annexation” of East Germany in 1990. Ivanov said that unlike in Crimea, there was no popular vote to support the German reunification.

…Deutsche Welle, an international television and radio broadcaster akin to the British Broadcasting Corp.’s World Service, plans to launch a new multimedia English-language service called DWNews in April. Deutsche Welle President Peter Limbourg has said the new service is designed to “defy [Russian President Vladimir] Putin ’s propaganda.”

Tanks For Nothing, Vlad

The end of the Cold War didn’t necessarily mean the end of war between big countries, and Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine undermines the notion that a quiet Europe is forever free from war. And modern warfare means tanks. Germany recently bolstered their current arsenal of tanks by buying and upgrading 20 Leopard 2A7 tanks acquired from the Netherlands, though originally from Canada.

Tanks

Upgrading old tanks is fairly routine and accounts for the dangers of the present. Developing a new advanced tank, instead, is a bet on the future. In August, German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), makers of the current versions of the Leopard tank, merged with French defense company Nexter. Speaking to the merger, KMW CEO mentioned the idea of a Leopard 3 tank, noting that France has a strategic perspective that stretches decades into the future. In October, when the budget committee of Germany’s parliament put together their draft of a 2015 spending bill, the proposal to develop a new tank was quietly noted, and then debated in an independent German armed forces journal.

It’s Not Just A Club Anymore

The Putin Understanders Club, I mean. In Germany. It’s bound to be an eingetragener Verein (registered society) by now.

Putin

Putin understanders are not confined to the Linke; nor even to Germany. They are the bane of European politicians struggling to contain a troublesome Russia, found everywhere – particularly among the far right and left, and the energy lobbies. Some are ordinary people who see the Russian president as a strongman standing up to a feeble and imperialist America; others are stuck in a mix of nostalgia and sympathy for Russia’s historic sacrifices. Even after a year of geopolitical turmoil, they construct flawed comparisons to support their narratives – arguing that Russia’s actions are no different from the 2003 US invasion of Iraq or the 1999 Nato bombardment of Serbia.

 

Germany’s “Save Vlad’s Face” Movement Picking Up Steam

If you have ever had any doubts about just how deep of an understanding German Putin-Versteher (Putin understanders) have with the current Russian czar, you won’t have to look any further than here.

Platzeck

Former Brandenburg Minister President Matthias Platzeck (SPD) wants the West to resolve the Ukraine crisis by recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea. He’s clearly thought this through, too. Recognition is the highest form of flattery, you know. Or the second highest. I forget.

Well at least one of them finally had the decency to come out and just say it. Crimea, I mean criminy! It’s like pulling teeth with you people sometimes.

“The annexation of Crimea must be retroactively arranged under international law so that it’s acceptable for everyone.”

Gazprom Gerd Pushing To Pass More Russian Gas

To Germany, that is. Not less (less was yesterday).

Gerd

And being chairman of the Shareholders’ Committee of Nord Stream, the Russian-German natural gas pipeline (51 percent owned by Gazprom, the Russian state gas monopoly), has absolutely nothing whatsoever at all in the slightest to do with this push one itty-bitty tiny little bit.

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (SPD) said Wednesday that Germany should deepen energy ties with Russia and urged an end to sanctions. Schroeder, who served as Social Democratic chancellor from 1998 to 2005, retains close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and celebrated his 70th birthday this year in St. Petersburg, where he was photographed in a bear hug with the Russian leader.

“We would be well-advised to further expand this energy and raw materials partnership with Russia.”

And In Other News: Germany Unable To Deliver On Its NATO Promises

Ain’t no big deal. It’s not like NATO partners could ever get attacked or anything.

Bundeswehr

And besides, it’s not the Bundeswehr’s fault. “Industry” let them down again (or the lack of it?).

Germany could not currently fulfill its NATO commitments in the event of an attack on a member of the alliance, owing in part to severe backlogs in replacement parts for its aircraft.

“With our airborne systems we are currently below the target figures announced one year ago, defining what we would want to make available to NATO within 180 days in the case of an emergency,” Defense Minister von der Leyen told the “Bild am Sonntag” newspaper. “Delays for replacement parts for our planes and the missing helicopters are the reason for this.”

Red Carpet Treatment

For the guy with the gas. From Qatar.

Qatar

Who cares that Qatar funds ISIS terror and revels in exploiting its expatriate slave laborers ahead of the 2022 World Cup (to name just two minor points)? It is also the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). And these days, with Germany’s good buddy Putin getting all uppity about passing his Russian gas (and currently suffering from a 35% Russian gas import addition) LPG looks like the next best drug of choice.

Economic ties remain key to Germany’s relationship with Qatar, one of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ energy-rich members. The partnership increasingly encompasses energy interests, especially in light of the crisis in Ukraine and potential threats to Europe’s gas supplies.

Russia Passing Less Gas Than Usual

To Europe, I mean. Do to a “technical disturbance,” it seems. Some 20 to 24 percent less natural gas than agreed to. All of a sudden-like.

Gas

Thank goodness countries like Germany thought ahead and only import a mere 35 percent of the natural gas they need from Russia. Otherwise a dangerous dependency might have developed that could have eventually even threatened the Energiewende itself!

Seit Montag seien die Lieferungen um 20 bis 24 Prozent geringer als in den Vereinbarungen mit dem russischen Energiekonzern Gazprom festgelegt.

“If I Want, I Will Take Poland In Two Weeks”

Oops. I meant Kiev, of course

Poland

On September 1, 1939, the German army under Adolf Hitler launched an invasion of Poland that triggered the start of World War II.

Today, 75 years later, Hitler is regarded as one of history’s great villains. So it’s easy to forget how slowly and reluctantly the worlds most powerful democracies mobilized to stop him. France and Britain did declare war on Germany two days after the invasion of Poland, but it would take them another eight months before they engaged in full-scale war with the Nazis. The United States wouldn’t join the war against Hitler until December 1941, a full two years after the war began.

Germany Increases Pressure On Russia By Selling It An Oil Company

Berlin is set to approve the sale of one of Germany’s largest oil producers to a Russian consortium, in a move that may undercut U.S. and E.U. sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for its role in stoking the conflict in Ukraine.

Oil

Der Verkauf galt wegen der Rolle Russlands in der Ukraine-Krise als politisch umstritten. Die Bundesregierung hat bei derartigen Transaktionen ein Mitspracherecht nach dem Außenwirtschaftsgesetz.

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