German Policy towards the CIS Countries in the Late 1991 – Mid-2000s
The main outcome of the collapse of the USSR and the Warsaw treaty organization that had been considered a “frontline State” for a long while was the disappearance of the military bloc confrontation in Europe. Besides the opening prospects for the economy and the strengthening of Germany’s influence in foreign policy the emergence of Newly Independent States was linked with the threat of occurrence of man-made and environmental disasters, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and organized crime, ethnic conflicts in the post-Soviet region. The German leaders saw as the main threats the possible destabilization of the internal situation in Russia and uncontrollable proliferation of nuclear weapons in the post-Soviet region. Until the mid-nineties Russia was practically considered to be Germany’s sole partner that had the ability to control the situation on the former USSR territory and to interact with Berlin in resolving the most significant security problems in the post-Soviet space. No other State provided such strong support for the reforms started in Russia. Russia received large loans from Germany to carry out market reforms, to support small and medium-sized businesses, to equip Russian troops withdrawn from the former German Democratic Republic, etc. Close relations between Germany and Russia were an important factor for maintaining stability in Europe at that time.
Berlin’s course towards partnership with Moscow has remained stable under the first government of G. Schroeder. At the same time, in Germany the demands for the Chancellor to take a more critical stance on anti-democratic trends in Russia were increasing. That is what happened when A. Merkel came to power. In relations with Germany strived to prevent the strengthening of Russian influence in the post-Soviet space. Thus, during the conflicts within the CIS Berlin sided with such Russian opponents as Ukraine and Georgia. Moreover, it was always underlined that the hope to secure the political integrity of the CIS is illusory and that Germany should lay the main emphasis on political and economic cooperation with its individual members. Along with the traditional financial, economic and diplomatic institutions, an important role in German policy in relation to the CIS countries was assigned to non-governmental organizations and foundations of political parties that performed the tasks of creating an attractive image of the German model of social market economy in them, explaining the principles of parliamentary democracy, state administration, federalism etc. An important problem concerning the relations between Germany and the CIS countries was the program of the resettlement of ethnic Germans under which during the years from 1991 to the mid-2000s 1.8 million Germans moved to Germany from these States (mainly from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan).
Starting from 1998 the funds allocated for the support of the immigrants arrived were repeatedly reduced and redistributed to support the Germans remaining in the CIS. In 2006 Germany initiated the “New European neighborhood policy” an integral part of which was the strengthening of relations with Russia. Although, the concept did not find the support in the EU and was substituted with the project “Eastern partnership” the main difference of which was ignoring the interests of Russia. However, even after the adoption of the project the understanding of the necessity of a constant dialogue with Moscow remains in Berlin, based on the fact that “the establishment of stability and security in the post-Soviet area is impossible without taking into account Russia and even more so, against its interests”
Kokeev A. German Policy towards the CIS Countries in the Late 1991 – Mid-2000s. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2019, no 4, pp. 42-49. https://doi.org/10.20542/afij-2019-4-42-49