Whoever ultimately wins the German election, we lose. By ‘we’ I mean the West facing up to its enemies.
Putin’s kleptofascist regime is one such enemy, implacable and self-proclaimed. And consecutive German governments have been its collaborators. Political analysts have even come up with the term ‘schroederisation’, in honour (dishonour?) of the ex-chancellor now making millions on the board of Gazprom and other Russian cash cows.
It’s from that angle that I invite you to look at the German election. The dead heat between the Christian Democrat Armin Laschet and the socialist Olaf Scholz brought up a photo finish in favour of the latter. However, his victory doesn’t necessarily mean Scholz will be able to form a coalition.
As with all countries practising proportional representation, it’s the marginal parties that often decide the outcome (which explains why our dear LibDems pine for this inherently ineffectual system). At the moment, the Greens and the Free Democrats are playing hard to get, hoping to drive up the price of their participation.
Yet whoever forms a coalition, Putin wins. For both candidates are his stooges, unwitting or otherwise.
Using his professional skills, the KGB colonel started out by buying European politicians retail. He later switched to wholesale purchases, doubtless trying to lower the unit price.
Britain is no exception, always open for Russian business. Our illustrious PM has even cooked up a KGB peer of the realm by elevating Evgeny Lebedev to the Lords.
Lebedev’s father is a career KGB officer turned tycoon, whose ill-gotten loot bought two British newspapers and hundreds of lavish shindigs, at which his son wooed British politicians, including Johnson. A life peerage followed, leaving me surprised that it wasn’t a hereditary one. Something to look forward to, I suppose.
For details of Russia’s recruitment of the City of London and the relevant politicians, I do recommend the recent bestseller Putin’s People by Catherine Belton. Since she wrote that book, our former chancellor, George Osborne (whose recent job was editing Lebedev’s Evening Standard), has become advisor to Oleg Deripaska’s aluminium concern.
That consummated a courtship conducted by Osborne since at least 2008, when he was shadow chancellor. Osborne visited Deripaska’s yacht in the cross-party company of Peter Mandelson, with great and profitable fun doubtless had by all. Deripaska, incidentally, is under personal sanctions in the US, whose authorities cited his links with organised crime as the reason for that exclusion.
Actually, any Russian billionaire or government official (the two categories often overlap) could be found guilty of the same indiscretion. After all, Putin’s government is history’s unique fusion of secret police and organised crime – unique, that is, in a sizeable country with lofty pretensions.
Such a combined background stands Putin in good stead when it comes to seducing Western politicians, especially German ones. His bias towards Germany is easy to understand.
First, the country is the most influential EU member; second, Col. Putin served at the KGB Dresden station, where he developed a particular expertise in recruiting and running German agents. Since he became national leader (nationaler Führer in German), that activity has, if anything, intensified.
Merkel, while occasionally making critical statements about Putin for public consumption, toed an unswerving pro-Russian path in everything that mattered. The two leaders are on a first-name basis, and they happily indulge in public foreplay each time they meet. That cordial friendship extended to business, with Merkel happily increasing Germany’s dependence on Russian gas.
In particular, she lobbied to overturn US sanctions against Nord Stream 2, the Russian pipeline using gas as a profit spinner and blackmail weapon. Biden obliged, and when the pipeline starts pumping, just about all of Germany’s gas will be at Putin’s mercy. So much for German Christian Democracy.
But the good colonel doesn’t discriminate: he is happy to woo any European parties, right, left or centre. The so-called right-wing (in effect fascisoid) parties, like Germany’s AfD or France’s National Rally, are the easiest marks, but like a priapic lothario Putin is out to seduce any willing prey.
Hence both deadlocked candidates treat Putin with sympathy and affectionate understanding. Laschet especially has set out to out-Merkel Merkel or even to out-Schröder Schröder.
He responded to Putin’s bandit raid on the Crimea by saying: “Yes, of course Russia is breaking international law. But do let’s look at this through the eyes of our partner in dialogue”. No wonder that Laschet is a welcome and frequent guest at the Germano-Russian forum ‘Petersburg Dialogue’.
By way of conducting such bilateral communications, Laschet doubts Russian spies had anything to do with the Skripal poisoning, he didn’t demand sanctions after the poisoning of Navalny or his imprisonment on trumped-up charges. He applauds the role Russia is playing in Africa and the Middle East. And of course he adores Nord Stream 2.
The other candidate, Scholz, who won the election by a whisker, is more reserved in his pronouncements about Putin. However, judging by his close links with his Parteigenosse Schröder, his policies will be softer than his rhetoric.
While rebuking Putin for the theft of the Crimea and eastern Ukraine, Scholz believes that: “If we want to guarantee collective security in Europe, then it’s up to the EU and Russia to do so.” Herr Scholz refuses to see that this is the same as using burglars to secure one’s house from burglaries.
Who does he think is threatening European security? Britain? US? New Zealand? Clearly not Putin’s Russia, which pounces on its neighbours like a rabid dog and whose rattling sabres are deafening the world.
One has to congratulate Col. Putin for this operational success. These days he can watch any European elections with the detachment of a neutral observer. Whoever wins, he wins.