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Scholz travels to Moscow in search of “clear steps towards a de-escalation”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz travels from Ukraine to Moscow on Tuesday. / AFP

The German chancellor is attributed lukewarmness in his relations with Russia in part due to the Nord-Stream II gas pipeline

We expect clear steps towards a de-escalation”, was the most outstanding phrase of the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, from Kiev and on his way to Moscow, where this Tuesday he will meet with Vladimir Putin. He did not suspend what is his first trip as chancellor to Russia, despite the fact that last weekend the weekly ‘Der Spiegel’ stated that tomorrow is ‘D-day’ for the start of an offensive. That is, one day after the meeting with the leader of the Kremlin.

The chancellor needs to come back with some triumph. A little over two months have passed since he acceded to the power of the first European power and he is blamed for being lukewarm towards Russia. The public reappearance on Sunday of her predecessor, Angela Merkel, at the Federal Assembly ceremony for the re-election of President Frank-Walter Steinmeier sparked talk about what this crisis would have been with the former incumbent conservative leader.

Merkel shared her sixteen years in power with Putin. Both speak each other’s language – German politics, raised in communist Germany, because she learned Russian at school; the leader of the Kremlin, because he did it when he was a KGB spy in Dresden. Their relationships went through moments of great tension, but they never broke.

Scholz is credited with being lukewarm towards Russia, in part related to the role of the former Social Democratic chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, on the Nord-Stream I and II gas pipeline. The first was forged during his political and interest alliance with Putin, still in power. The second, which has not yet come into operation, is conditioned by the course of the current crisis, but has the best ally in Schröder.

If the territorial integrity of Ukraine is violated, there will be no Nord-Stream II, Joe Biden has warned the German Foreign Minister, the green Annalena Baerbock. Scholz actively avoids speaking out to painful extremes. In Scholz’s favor, however, it should be remembered that Merkel did not consider stopping the energy macroproject as a result of the invasion of Crimea.

Schröder has become a stone in the shoe for German social democracy. He has gone so far as to accuse Ukraine of provoking “saber noise” and defends Nord-Stream tooth and nail.

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