Cover Osteuropa 4/2013

In Osteuropa 4/2013

Interference Is Necessary!
Self-Deception among Putin’s Friends Must Stop

Wolfgang Eichwede

Deutsche Fassung


Alongside representatives of the business world, many Social Democrats reject criticism of President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s record on human rights. They see in this criticism “attitudes of moral superiority” and a “know-it-all mind-set”. German guilt for the war urges modesty, as they see it. Dialogue with the Kremlin is for them an obligation. They see themselves in the tradition of Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik. But this is wrong. This kind of thinking is based on a dire interpretation of détente, which aimed precisely on social change. Germany’s historical responsibility must not be abused to keep us from calling an authoritarian president authoritarian or to force us to accept the criminalisation of partners as agents. The intensity of German-Russian relations requires interference. It is necessary to limit the damage that the Putin regime is inflicting on Russia.

(Osteuropa 4/2013, pp. 91–100)