Russia and Germany: Back to the Future?

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-9-69-78
N. Pavlov (, 
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation

Received 20.04.2021.

Abstract. In terms of geopolitics, Russia and Germany are the two dominant powers on the Eurasian continent. For three centuries, they have been having a “special relationship”. Over the past 50 years, their cooperation has had a positive impact on promoting the detente of international relations globally, in matters of disarmament, in the cause of German unification, and in the inclusion of Russia in the global financial and economic structures after the collapse of the USSR. However, in recent years, the mechanism of constructive interaction has clearly deteriorated due to differences in understanding of the world order prospects, the role and place of the two countries in the post-bipolar system of international coordinates. The parliamentary elections in Germany and Russia will not affect the foreign policy course of Berlin and Moscow, and the Russian leadership will not have to choose with whom to deal. It is important to understand that Beijing has taken Moscow’s place in foreign policy priorities, and cooperation between Russia and Germany is reduced to “peaceful coexistence”. This is for a long time. It is also necessary to take into account that Russian-German relations are most significantly affected by Germany’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, and, therefore, strict bilateralism in the Berlin–Moscow link is excluded. In matters of war and peace, ensuring stability and security, resolving international conflicts, as well as respecting democratic rights and freedoms, the Federal Republic of Germany will always act in the Russian direction according to the Euro-Atlantic scale of values and with an eye to its allies and partners. Of course, the dialogue at the highest level will not stop, but it will be burdened with mutual accusations and will stall at every convenient and inconvenient occasion, because both states live in different dimensions and think in different planes. One lives according to geopolitical concepts of the 19th 20th centuries, the other operates in geo-economic categories of the 21st century. Warming, easing or partial lifting of sanctions will be possible only if the Minsk process progresses, that is, de-escalating the situation in the Donbass and relieving the Kremlin’s pressure on the Russian opposition. No breakthroughs are expected on the trade and economic front either. All this suggests that we are going back to the past, to the era of systemic confrontation, which will be our reality for the foreseeable future. 

Keywords: Russia, Germany, Russian-German relations, international relations, foreign policy of Germany


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For citation:
Pavlov N. Russia and Germany: Back to the Future?. World Eсonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 9, pp. 69-78.

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