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Conceptual Vacuum: Russian Direction in the Foreign Policy of the A. Merkels Fourth Cabinet
Analysis and Forecasting. IMEMO Journal

Conceptual Vacuum: Russian Direction in the Foreign Policy of the A. Merkels Fourth Cabinet

DOI: 10.20542/afij-2019-1-59-69
© 2019  F. Basov
Received 26.08.2019.
Fedor A. BASOV (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation.
Acknowledgements. The article was prepared at IMEMO within the project of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research No 18-011-00464 “Germany’s Changing Role in the European Union Integration and Transatlantic Processes. The Challenges for Russia”.

This article is devoted to the policy of the A. Merkel’s government towards Russia. Fundamental changes in German policy towards Russia took place in 2011 and 2014, but some recent developments determine new characteristics of the policy towards Russia of the A. Merkel’s fourth government. These developments include: the change of the government staff in 2018, the problems associated with the implementation of the “Nord Stream 2” gas pipeline project and the crisis of the INF Treaty. In recent years Germany’s policy toward Russia and all of Eastern Europe has been lacking a positive strategy and has been in a state of conceptual vacuum. Different interest groups from Germany and abroad are trying to influence the German Federal government. That is why German policy towards the Post-Soviet space is very restrained and cautious, therefore allowing to maintain the unity of the EU’s foreign policy towards the East, which is a top priority for Berlin. As for the main issues of policy towards the Post-Soviet space, the fourth A. Merkel’s cabinet has continuity with the third cabinet of the Chancellor (2013–2017), but the potential of the so-called “friends of Russia” in the German leadership is decreasing. Moreover, now A. Merkel is one of the most competent and willing to interact with Russia politicians not only in the German, but also in the all-European political establishment. Her possible departure from politics in 2021 will have a negative impact on German-Russian relations. Also in recent years in Germany and the EU there has been a decline in terms of interest in Russia and in political interaction with it. The German establishment reduces contacts with Moscow to the required minimum. According to the German political elite, no one can democratize Russia except itself. Therefore, “the ball is in Russia’s court now”.


About the author:

Fedor A. BASOV, Cand.  Sci. (Politics), Senior Researcher, Sector of Political Aspects of European Integration, Department of European Political Studies.

For citation:

Basov F. Conceptual Vacuum: Russian Direction in the Foreign Policy of the A. Merkels Fourth Cabinet. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2019, no 1, pp. 59-69.

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