Germany’s Ostpolitik in crisis: President Putin and Chancellor Merkel amid the Ukraine crisis
Braun, Thomas L.
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The Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 set off the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the 1980s. In the wake of this event, a reunified Germany has emerged as the key leader to engage Russia on behalf of the West. The Crimean episode shattered the 1975 Helsinki foundation for the peaceful inviolability of Europe’s existing borders. The shock of the Russian intervention in Ukraine and the Crimean annexation destroyed the illusion of the German Ostpolitik since 1969 of perpetual entente with Moscow and challenged the European security order. This study examines historic German-Russian relations and Germany’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on Germany’s Russia Policy and post-1990 Ostpolitik. The evolution of policy from change through rapprochement to change through trade forms a special focus. Caught between an interest-led Realpolitik and a value-based Moralpolitik, Germany has changed its Russian statecraft since the Crimean annexation. The thesis examines this German policy transformation and presents its implications for Germany’s foreign policy amidst a growing German geopolitical power in Europe.
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