‘What kind of Germany did you leave us?’: Angela Merkel’s reputation and record tarnished by Ukraine invasion

On December 8, 2021, Angela Merkel left power, her popularity at its peak. A year later, the star of the former German chancellor, who was considered too soft on Putin’s Russia, has faded. “There is your Russian policy, (German-Russian gas pipeline) Nord Stream II, broken roads, climate policy. What kind of Germany have you left?”, criticizes “Build”, quoted Germany’s most read daily newspaper La Libre and radar.

Angela Merkel Photo: John MacDougall / AFP / Profimedia Images

Almost three out of four Germans (71%) do not want Ms Merkel back as leader. And in the comparison game with his Social Democratic successor, Olaf Scholes, he doesn’t stand out, with 43% thinking he would do well, compared to 41% for the current chancellor, according to the CV poll.

For the 68-year-old former leader, the date of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is both before and after February 24.

The onslaught by Vladimir Putin’s troops has indeed dented the balance sheet of the former conservative leader, never disillusioned by the true nature of the Russian regime but convinced that “change through trade” is possible.

Mrs. Mrs.

But it has a responsibility to “recognize and support” the Nord Stream gas pipeline, political scientist Ursula Munch explains to AFP.

“We cannot admit today that Merkel and the government of the time did not understand that these gas pipelines would harm Kiev”.

Precisely in Ukraine, the former president has become one of the personifications of Western complacency towards Moscow over the years.

Beer bottle labels comparing Mrs. Merkel to Joachim von Ribbentrop, the head of Nazi diplomacy who signed the German-Soviet Pact in 1939, thus spread.

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Faced with criticism, Ms Merkel has had to decide to break her silence to justify herself in several interviews with trusted journalists in recent weeks.

So, between two interpretations of her new life, watching series, especially “The Crown,” and writing her memoirs, negotiated a higher price, Ms. Merkel explains “Der SpiegelHe lacks the political weight to pull back preparations for war in 2021, his long-declared withdrawal year.

“I don’t have the strength to impose myself,” Ms. Merkel agreed.

In his last face-to-face meeting with Mr Putin in Moscow in August 2021, there was a “very clear” impression in his face-to-face meeting that he was “finished” in terms of “politics, power” in the eyes of the Russian head of state. . “For Putin, power is all that matters,” he says.

Merkel also believes that sanctions imposed on Moscow after 2014 allowed Kiev to “prepare” for possible aggression.

But more than her relationship with Moscow, Ms Merkel’s lack of remorse is fueling criticism.

In mid-November, her former finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, criticized Ms Merkel’s refusal to take any blame for Germany’s “mistakes”.

“We don’t want to see the real nature of the Russian regime,” laments the former chancellor’s historic rival, saying he doesn’t put him alongside Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt and Helmut Kohl on his list of “great presidents.” .

“It’s true that we don’t talk about the former president anymore,” Ms. Münch confirms, blaming “the speed of the media and our short attention span” in part.

Merkel’s long era was characterized by “a lot of self-satisfaction, little debate (…) many policy announcements and very little attention to their actual implementation,” notes a professor of political science in Munich.

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However, despite “a delay in reforms”, according to Ms Münch, Ms Merkel will go down as the first woman in German history to lead a government and a former citizen of the GDR. (with pleasure)

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