Published on: Mar 12, 2019 @ 13:11 – At the beginning of his presidency, Vladimir Putin was determined to come closer to the European Union, and was even ready to discuss NATO membership. The head of the Kremlin was very concerned about issues of European security. He also feared that Russia might disintegrate. That is why he acted so “tough” in Chechnya, “having drawn a clear boundary of what was permitted,” Horst Telchik, former adviser on foreign policy and security issues of the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, said in an interview with Der Spiegel .
“Only knowing this, one can understand him,” believes Teltschik. And in the Ukrainian conflict, the West made a “big mistake”, the politician emphasized. It was necessary not only to think about the inclusion of Ukraine in the EU and NATO, but in parallel to develop proposals for Russia. It would be possible to discuss the possibility of creating a pan-European free trade zone, but Brussels did not do anything, the politician complains.
However, he also believes that the annexation of the Crimea was “illegal”:
“ Russians understand this themselves. But I recall the words of Putin, who said that all Ukrainian presidents are crooks. In this he is right. And if you look at today’s candidates for the presidency of Ukraine, you realize that the scam continues . ”
“Putin is not an enemy of Europe,” Telchik stressed, it was the Europeans who pushed him away:
“ He was very much offended by the words of US President Barack Obama , who called Russia a regional power. So you can think, but you can not speak out loud. ” “ In the West, they love to be indignant, to threaten with a finger, the media exposes Putin to a powerful villain who is capable of anything. One cannot help noticing the one-sidedness of such a position, ” the ex-adviser added.
He calls this “one-sidedness” the “legacy of the Cold War” and reminds that “Russia is not the Soviet Union, it has no ideology.” Telchik also noted that in personal contact, Putin impressed him as a “charming, open and responsive” person.
The German politician calls on Europe to build constructive relations with Moscow, as did the former German Chancellor Willy Brandt . He recalled how the former head of Germany, even after the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968, went to the Crimea to meet with the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, Leonid Brezhnev , to negotiate on European security.
It is important to understand the motives of Putin, to maintain a dialogue with Russia, to carry out cultural exchange, to relax visa restrictions, advises Telchik. He is convinced that the Russians are not crazy to attack NATO.
“ In essence, Moscow’s interests are defensive in nature ,” the politician stressed, adding that historical experience confirms this. “ Karl XII, Napoleon, Adolf Hitler – the West has always attacked Russia .”
“What does a normal Russian person feel when he finds out that German soldiers are standing on the Russian border again?” Telchik asked rhetorically to the Der Spiegel journalist
According to the politician, the actions of NATO only exacerbate the situation.
“ We are already seeing this: when one side conducts the exercises, the other does the same. If one plane has flown along the border, the others immediately send their own to the border. This is a damn dangerous game . At the same time, the fundamental Russia-NATO act, as well as the agreement between Russia and the EU, provide us with a lot of opportunities, but we are not undertaking anything , ” Telchik explained.
In this, he, in particular, blames German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In his opinion, the head of the Federal Republic of Germany could have made more efforts to establish relations between the two countries, but apparently did not want to. Merkel lacks leadership qualities. In addition, she does not trust Putin, but the fact is that trusting relationships are built gradually, explained Telchik: “And for this you need to communicate, communicate and communicate again.”