Saxony’s Prime Minister Kretschmer wants Russian gas again at some point. And Stralsund wants to negotiate peace with Ukraine. What’s going on in East Germany? And why does an important Scholz man attack Annalena Baerbock? A search for clues that also includes a familiar face.

A few unfriendly lines against the Prime Minister of Saxony came from a trusted source: “Tomorrow, Mr. Kretschmer, your addiction to Russian gas seems to be incurable. I’m curious what’s really behind it.” The unfriendly greetings to Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer come from: Andrij Melnyk.

The ex-Ambassador of Ukraine is certainly not stopping tweeting just because he is now based in Kyiv to be Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister. In order to answer the question of what “is behind” the fact that Kretschmer wants Russian gas again at some point, attacks western sanctions, calls for “negotiations” and pleads for “freezing” the Ukraine war.

Kretschmer likes to talk about the hardships of craftsmen and small tradespeople in his state – not only in the cities, but especially in the countryside. And indeed: no prime minister should ignore fears of bankruptcy, taking care of the concerns of his citizens is the reason for his existence as the father of the country.

Kretschmer must worry that the AfD is strong in Saxony and is getting stronger, which has a reason: that more and more people in East Germany not only think what Kretschmer says, but are far more radical. And believe the US is fighting a “proxy war” against the West in Ukraine. It’s mainly older people who grew up in the GDR, with everything in their heads that resulted from that.

For example, a stable anti-American enemy. If you want to understand this better, you should watch the documentary by sports journalist Jessy Wellner, who was born in Güstrow in Mecklenburg, on Monday evening on ARD. In “Russia, Putin and we East Germans” many people have their say, and they say what is likely to disturb most West Germans, as well as younger East Germans, namely: the Americans are to blame for the Ukraine war.

Gregor Gysi explains this attitude in the film with the “anti-American socialization” that those who grew up with it in the GDR do not want to give up even today. Wellner’s film also talks about what concerns Kretschmer – the existential fears of many people who fear for the middle-class existence built up after the “Wende”. Or, as the federal government’s former commissioner for Eastern Europe, the SPD man Carsten Schneider, says when he speaks of the “humiliation experiences”.

To search further for Andriy Melnyk’s “what’s behind” question: Prime Minister Kretschmer himself also had an experience of humiliation. In 2017 he lost his Bundestag mandate in Görlitz, Saxony, to the current chairman of the AfD, Tino Chrupalla. One can only guess: it would be a nightmare if this happened to Kretschmer a second time – or “just” that the AfD in Saxony overtook the CDU. There are still about a year and a half until the next state elections in Saxony.

In any case, Kretschmer is not alone on the road, as his federal party would like us to believe. The Hanseatic city of Stralsund, a city with a great history, offers itself as a German location for peace negotiations to end the Ukraine war. Don’t take this for a local political farce.

“As a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the associated measures taken by the federal government, the people in our country are afraid of a third world war,” says the reasoning in the motion, which is supported by these parties: SPD, Greens and FDP, who set up the traffic light government in Berlin, plus: Linke and AfD.

Lord Mayor Alexander Badrow, who is a Christian Democrat, was commissioned to write to Chancellor Olaf Scholz. And to offer him the town hall of Stralsund as a place for peace negotiations. The people of Stralsund confidently refer to the “Stralsund Peace” that ended the war between Denmark and the Hanseatic League. That was in 1370.

“My goodness, what’s the matter with you, dear Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania,” commented Andrij Melnyk from Kyiv. And after the arson attack on a house in Mecklenburg’s Groß-Strömkendorf, in which Ukrainian refugees were housed, Melnyk asked: “What is Manuela Schwesig doing in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to prevent such crimes against Ukrainian war refugees?”

The question remains as to what should be negotiated with the Russians. Although it is by no means the case that diplomacy between the West and the Russians does not take place. Chancellor Olaf Scholz is still personally on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The content of these phone calls remains confidential, which is good practice.

The foreign ministers of four NATO countries – the USA, Great Britain, France and Turkey – had a very special diplomatic experience with the Russian government. The Russian Defense Minister Shoigu contacted them, apparently on behalf of Vladimir Putin. To warn of a dirty Ukrainian nuclear bomb that Ukrainians could detonate at home, blaming Russia.

A transparent maneuver by the Russians, as are Putin’s threats to use his nuclear weapons. Which in turn Yale historian Timothy Snyder believes is fear diplomacy. Why, he asks in a post on his website, should the Russians threaten their own troops, newly recruited, with dropping nuclear bombs – which would cause more than half a million more young Russian men to flee Russia?

In any case, diplomacy takes place across enemy lines. Which doesn’t stop the leader of the SPD parliamentary group in the German Bundestag from asking Germany’s top diplomat, the Green Party Annalena Baerbock, to take diplomatic initiatives. This is certainly a very special event that highlights the mood and the situation in the Berlin government coalition.

For those, Mützenich is much more dangerous than Kretschmer’s calls for peace and negotiations. Or Stralsund peace initiatives. Or the criticism of the argumentative SPD man Ralf Stegner on the “bellicism” of the Greens, for example. Now, however, Mützenich: When the leader of the largest government faction in Germany asks the foreign minister to simply do her job, the ball is once again in the Chancellery’s office. And once again the chancellor is in a tricky situation.

Where is Olaf Scholz going now: to his foreign minister’s side, or to his group’s side? The Foreign Minister needs Scholz because he needs the Greens. His faction needs Scholz because he needs the SPD. And as if that wasn’t enough, the Union is rolling the next cannonball in front of the Federal Chancellery.

Group Vice Jens Spahn demands a special session to vote in the Bundestag on Olaf Scholz’s favored China deal in the port of Hamburg. Because, as Spahn calculated: In the Bundestag there is a majority of Union, Greens and FDP against the China deal.