The Chancellor is opening a back door for Russia. It is fitting that Scholz does not deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine. No matter how pressing the FDP defense woman Strack-Zimmermann is. Europe pledges $1 billion in winter aid to Ukraine. French President Macron is already thinking ahead.

In his most recent government statement, Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned “imperialist” and aggressive Russia, with which trade relations no longer exist. Well, only a little later, says the same Scholz, after the Ukraine war there could be trade relations with Russia again. How does that fit together?

You have to look at the place where Scholz spoke of cooperation with a country that Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy, like the European Parliament, classifies as “terrorists” or a “state of terror”. It was the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, which one shouldn’t offend if one understands it as the inventor of the later social-democratic Russia policy.

In 1970, the natural gas pipe deal was signed in Essen – Mannesmann supplied pipes through which Russian gas then flowed to Germany, primarily to its then still industrial powerhouse – the heavy industrial Ruhr area. “If we connect with each other through a gas pipeline, then the political landscape in the Soviet Union will change for the better,” said Otto Wolff von Amerongen, then chairman of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations.

Change through trade, that was the doctrine from now on. She had invented the economy, first the Ruhr area patron Bertold Beitz, followed by politics. Without the pioneering role of the Ruhr area industry, the Russia doctrine of the SPD cannot be explained. The fact that it was invented in the Ruhr area is no coincidence – here the Social Democrats ruled for 39 years in a row – in a de facto grand coalition with industrialists and trade unions.

Change through trade – it never worked. It was an illusion – at least. Rather, it was the legitimacy of the business bosses to do business with the Soviet dictatorship fat, unmolested by politics, later even encouraged by them – the social democracy above all.

And in front of this institution, the social-democratic chancellor used his jubilee speech on the occasion of the 70th anniversary to send the industrialists this signal: after the end of the war, Russia would still be the largest country on earth.

With the Scholz’green coalition partner no longer wants to have anything to do with it. If the energy transition works, Germany will no longer need Russian gas, explains Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck. What if the energy transition doesn’t work? Then neither. Then the gas comes from Norway, from Qatar, and from the USA, the world champion in fracking. The technology frowned upon by the Greens, but only domestically.

The fact that the chancellor is not changing his weapons policy fits in with Scholz’s backdoor policy towards Russia. Anti-aircraft guns and cheetah tanks – yes, more of those too – but no leopards and no martens either. “Mr. Scholz, what are you waiting for,” exclaimed former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh-Rasmussen to the SPD man.

Scholz can still ignore the NATO ex. It becomes more difficult with identical votes from your own traffic light coalition. After a visit to the United States, the chairwoman of the defense committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, says into every microphone how much her American interlocutors would like Leo-Zwo to be delivered to Ukraine.

Toni Hofreiter from the Greens will be there again. He wishes Germany would coordinate the Leo deliveries from the 20 EU countries that are currently using it. The ground is freezing in Ukraine right now, so delivering armored vehicles now would be just the thing. Scholz was once too late for the “heavy weapons” that he had long refused to deliver to Ukraine. That shouldn’t happen again, said the FDP expert from Düsseldorf.

Especially since Scholz has now taken his most important argument against further delivery of weapons out of the game. The Russians themselves, but above all the Chinese, have signed a summit declaration according to which not even threats of nuclear strikes are to be accepted.

After the return of its ambassador Andriy Melnyk, Ukraine is now trying diplomacy as it is known. Ukraine is still demanding more and more weapons, but now she is thanking Scholz for what has already been delivered. And the new ambassador Oleksij Makeiev certifies Germany that “leadership role” that Scholz naturally certifies for himself – with which the chancellor was internationally alone. It will be interesting to see what works better: diplomacy based on a guilty conscience plus insults, or based on interest politics plus compliments.

The Eastern European Committee, long the Russia lobby par excellence, has meanwhile changed course. They are now busy there with the reconstruction of the Ukraine and the development of new trading partners from the defunct Soviet empire – including Taschikistan. After all, Scholz has already announced a “Marshall Plan” for Ukrainian reconstruction, which is only an option if Ukraine passes it on.

Today there is a big donor conference, Scholz is going there, Selenskij is connected. France’s President Emanuel Macron, who unusually followed up with an all-French conference, initiated this. With the crème de la crème of French industry. It’s about Scholz’s Marshall Plan.

Macron wants as much of it as possible, which stands in asymmetrical contrast to the previous French aid for Ukraine. It is modest – and so Macron’s initiative can certainly be understood as doubly selfish: the costs of the Russian bombing are to be socialized by an international donor conference, the profits from the subsequent reconstruction are to be privatized, more precisely: nationalized.

So anyone who believes that human rights are the primary concern is naïve. It’s about hard economic and political interests. The Americans, Joe Biden has even said it publicly, want to keep a visibly weakened Russia small. The French, led by Macron, want to make money in Ukraine. And the Germans?

Don’t know exactly yet.