Russia’s new enemy No. 1

Roman Tsymbaliuk
09:40, 01 February 2017
World
1675 2
Opinion

Russian state television is, in fact, a mirror of the Kremlin's policy. There are no half-tones here, and if ugly Barack "dead lion" Obama is a "scoundrel" who "does not like Russia," it will be clearly explained to the Russian audience. While Russia is courting Donald Trump, the anchors will definitely be telling the public why the new U.S. president is a "good" one and how great it would be to arrange a so-called "Yalta-2" meeting with him, to divide the world into zones of influence. Moreover, Russians need not wonder what will happen next as their television loves to impose on the public the ideas of further developments.

Russian anchors are now saying that Russia’s new "friend" Donald Trump "will slam down on Merkel’s German arrogance before he decides how to finally deal with Germany." Think about it: just a month ago, "pindosy" [a derogatory Russian term generalizing "the American people"], whose country the Kremlin could "turn into radioactive ash," are suddenly Russia’s friends now and should do everything possible to prove their "loyalty" to Moscow. To this end, it is best to "rein in" the insidious Frau Merkel - even more so now that now it is she who is Russia’s "true" Enemy No. 1.

Elections to the German Bundestag, which will result in a new federal government being formed, are scheduled for September 24. No one knows whether Angela Merkel will manage to retain the post of the Federal Chancellor. There are at least 50/50 chances, which is normal for any country with real elections, not just for the show. But Russia has decided to start denigrating Merkel as early as possible. According to the new version of the Russian TV broadcasts, it is the Germans now who are guilty of all the problems in the European Union and around the world. By the way, these “scoundrels” came up with the idea of the anti-Russian sanctions, too...

No one knows whether Angela Merkel will retain her post of the Federal Chancellor

Kremlin TV talking heads are already comparing Merkel’s Germany with the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler. While earlier, the Kremlin propaganda talked about some terrible Americans from the CIA, who had seized Ukraine and now occupied high offices in Kyiv, now the role of Ukraine’s "invader" is assigned to the Germans that are not grateful to Russia for the reunification of Germany 25 years ago and who suffer from a lack of "living space."

That's right, despite the fact that it’s the Russians who seized the Ukrainian Crimea and part of Donbas, they say that it’s the Germans who lack living space. At first glance, this contradiction seems rather schizophrenic, but not in Russia. Over the past weeks, local TV has been telling people that Germany "is absorbing" or already "absorbed" Ukraine. In practice, this means the following: on the one hand, the Kremlin ought to keep fueling anti-German attitudes among own population and on the other – to give a helping hand to German populists, in order not to let Merkel be re-elected. To this end, the whole arsenal of means available to the Kremlin will surely be used: the support of the German radical parties, the influence on the Russian diaspora in Germany, information napalm of propaganda media outlets like Sputnik and Russia Today. They are probably already hiring German-speaking twitter bots. The main objective is to show that all the troubles of Germany and the Russian patriots living in Bavaria come from the united Europe and the refugees, whom Merkel has let in. Some "simple solutions" will be whispered in German ears aimed at weakening, or better – breaking up the European Union.

Trump’s foreign policy with its protectionism and isolationism can lead to a change of the leader of the Western world

Such attention to the elections in Germany and Merkel personally is anything but surprising. After all, she remained the most principled leader in the whole Europe, defending the need to retain sanctions against Russia even against the background of Donald Trump’s unpredictable behavior. The sanctions were imposed following the Russian invasion in Ukraine, but their purpose is much broader, that is to prevent a new redrawing of borders in Europe and to prevent another major war. Who could know better than the Germans how fascism is born and how the whole nation begins to suffer, destroying itself and everything around it? Certainly, looking at Russia today, with its reflections over some sort of "historical justice", and the Kremlin’s claims of "getting up off their knees," many of the Germans see a certain analogy with their tragic past... 

In addition, Trump’s foreign policy with its protectionism and isolationism can lead to a change of the leader of the Western world. If the U.S. voluntarily gives up on its role, Germany will take the lead as Europe’s richest and most prosperous country. Meanwhile, Russia aims to "waste in the outhouse" all of its enemies (whether they are real or imagined), without really thinking about the absurdity of its own logic.

Roman Tsymbaliuk, Moscow

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