Dmitry Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, writes on the Institute's website about why the "Navalny case" became a turning point that ended a long period of trusting relations between Russia and Germany.
From now on, Germany's attitude towards Russia will be the same as that of the rest of Western Europe: fundamental opposition to Kremlin policies, harsh criticism of any steps taken by Moscow, solidarity with the countries of Eastern Europe, and, of course, rejection of Nord Stream 2. That is, the end of an era.
And it's not a fact that Putin foresaw such a turn in the story of Navalny's evacuation to Berlin, most likely he just relied on interaction with Merkel, on her help in solving this unpleasant incident without reputational losses. And he received a "stab in the back"...
Now Berlin will finally close the era of almost friendly relations with Russia, begun by Gorbachev, and Moscow will begin to view Germany as a state controlled by America. Thus, the situation is developing both simpler and at the same time more risky: Moscow is no longer looking back at the opinion and interests of Europe in its actions, and in the war with the United States, the restraining factors are becoming less and less.
This is a severe blow to Russia's position in Europe, as noisy corruption scandals have shaken the positions of Kremlin-loyal European politicians in France, Italy and Austria of late. And in many other countries, spy scandals involving Russians have led to a chill in relations with Russia. That is, there are virtually no countries left in Europe whose authorities would treat Russia in a neutral-positive way.
The Skripals case had a particularly strong impact on this, which appeared exactly when some European countries were already planning to relax Russia after four years of Ukrainian sanctions ... And Navalny's case came at a time when a new hard split in Europe was outlined, as a reaction to the American Chinese confrontation.
Whatever side these poisonings were provocations on, emotions about them should be restrained so as not to finally harm relations between the countries, since Russian-German reconciliation is just as important a pillar of European security as German-French, and in its own way wonderful , given the dire consequences of the war unleashed by Hitler.
Despite the fact that now there is a struggle between Moscow and Berlin over what kind of neighbor Russia will get near Smolensk, one should not rejoice at the revival of German-Russian enmity. This enmity will by no means strengthen NATO or enhance Europe's security. Relations between Russia and Germany have been steadily deteriorating for almost 10 years and it is unrealistic to return them to the era of partnership for the modernization of Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok, but their transformation into hostile ones can still be stopped.
And for this, instead of unnecessary rhetoric, one should conduct a very thorough investigation of the Navalny case, and create an extremely reasoned position for discussing the issue of banning chemical weapons at the UN. And it should be, first of all, reasoned for Russian citizens, who should not be “fed” with the words “we are not to blame, moreover, there are dozens of versions why this poisoning could have happened (as was the case with the Litvinenko and Skripal cases or the Malaysian Boeing).” In the case of Navalny, this pathos will no longer work.
As for relations with Berlin, a pause should be taken, let them decide the fate of the gas pipeline themselves, and the issue of Merkel's successor and their political future - this is not Russia's business. And only then, you can again start looking for points of contact and mutually beneficial cooperation. Today, the main thing is not to miss Belarus, just as Ukraine was lost. Do not allow Lukashenka to deceive Putin, and the latter is deceived by the people of Belarus and his own...