One year after the departure of former Chancellor Angela Merkel, historian Jan C. Behrends speaks about her term in office – and criticizes one point of her policy. In particular, the record of their Russia policy is devastating.
A year has passed since Angela Merkel is no longer chancellor in Germany. In an interview with ” ntv “, the historian Jan C. Behrends looks back on her tenure – and dissects the politics of the former chancellor. Because although 72 percent of Germans count Merkel among the most important chancellors in the Federal Republic, Behrends contradicts and says: “I I see few chancellors in the history of the Federal Republic whose major decisions turned out to be wrong so soon after leaving office. “
In the eyes of Behrends, it is far too early to definitively judge whether Angela Merkel will be one of the great chancellors. Wolfgang Schäuble already said something similar. However, Behrends is certain that no decision by a Chancellor so soon after his departure has turned out to be wrong. “One will see whether in retrospect the year 2015, her handling of the refugee crisis, is suitable to outshine other consequences of her chancellorship. As far as peace and security in Europe is concerned, a central concern of German politics since Adenauer, the balance is devastating,” said Behrends.
His biggest criticism of the former chancellor: her Russia policy. When Russia attacked Ukraine in 2014, the ex-chancellor tried to contain the situation with the Minsk Agreement. What did you do with your policy for the attacked Ukraine? “Not enough to prepare Ukraine for the massive attack that followed after her chancellorship, in February 2022. The conditions for this attack were created during her term of office,” Behrends sums up.
In particular, their adherence to the two Nord Stream pipelines is a completely “anti-Ukrainian project,” which ultimately enabled Russia to decouple Russian gas infrastructure from Ukraine’s. What Behrends also criticizes: “Merkel had suggested to Putin since 2014 that Germany would definitely stick to Russian gas. Those were the wrong signals.”
According to Behrends, there were already voices calling for Russia to be contained during her term of office. Many called for Germany’s special relationship to be broken off, but Merkel defended this to the end. The former chancellor is currently not responding to subsequent criticism.
“She recently claimed that she knew how aggressive Putin is, and yet she has not invested in the Bundeswehr. That would have been the minimal consequence of this knowledge. Where was the big Bundestag speech after 2014, in which she explained that there was a threat to peace in Europe to which we had to react?
“It is this kind of policy – not only to appease Putin, but also the German public – that is falling on its feet now. It’s their whole political style, the inability to engage in conflict, not just specific decisions,” said Behrends.