The German edition of Die Zeit published an article by the President of Russia “Be open despite the past.” It is timed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.
In it, Putin reminded Europe that even the USSR was able to mend relations with Europe, but in the past 30 years, the paths of Russia and the West diverge more and more. And now is the time to forget old grievances and try to start over.
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THE UNION HELPED GERMANY
“… Having survived the horrors of the world war, the peoples of Europe were still able to overcome alienation and restore mutual trust and respect, embarked on a course of integration in order to draw a final line under the European tragedies of the first half of the last century. And I want to especially emphasize that the historical reconciliation of our people and the Germans who lived both in the east and in the west of today’s united Germany played a colossal role in the formation of such a Europe.
Let me remind you that it was German entrepreneurs who became pioneers of cooperation with our country in the post-war years. In 1970, the USSR and the FRG signed the “deal of the century” – on long-term supplies of natural gas to Europe, which laid the foundation for constructive interdependence, which became the beginning of many subsequent ambitious projects, including the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
We hoped that ending the Cold War would be a common victory for Europe. It seemed that a little more – and the dream of Charles de Gaulle about a single continent, not even geographical “from the Atlantic to the Urals”, but cultural, civilizational – from Lisbon to Vladivostok, would become a reality.
USA ORGANIZED MAIDAN
But a different approach prevailed. It was based on the expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance, which itself was a relic of the Cold War. Indeed, it was created to confront the times of that era.
… And since 1999, five more waves of NATO expansion have followed. The organization included 14 new countries, including the republics of the former Soviet Union, which effectively buried hopes for a continent without dividing lines.
… Moreover, many countries were faced with an artificial choice – to be either with the collective West or with Russia. In fact, it was an ultimatum. The consequences of such an aggressive policy can be seen in the example of the Ukrainian tragedy of 2014. Europe actively supported the anti-constitutional armed coup in Ukraine. Since this all started. Why did you need to do this? Then the incumbent President Yanukovych had already agreed with all the demands of the opposition. Why did the United States organize a coup, and why did the European countries support it weakly, provoking a split in Ukraine itself and the withdrawal of Crimea from its composition? “
TIME TO UNITE
“… Now the entire system of European security has seriously degraded. Tensions are growing, and the risks of a new arms race are becoming real. We are missing the huge opportunities that cooperation gives us, especially since it is so important now, when we all are faced with common challenges – the pandemic and its dire socio-economic consequences. “
Putin noted that “the prosperity and security of our common continent are possible only through the joint efforts of all countries” and “we are open to honest and creative cooperation.”
“… The world is developing dynamically, it is facing new challenges and threats. And we simply cannot afford to drag along the burden of past misunderstandings, grievances, conflicts and mistakes. A load that will prevent us from focusing on solving urgent problems. We are convinced that we all need to acknowledge these mistakes and correct them. Our common and indisputable goal is to ensure continental security without dividing lines, a common space of equal cooperation and universal development for the prosperity of Europe and the world as a whole. “