Vladimir Putin gets a boost after a statement from a Merkel ally: “We need Russia” | World | New
Olaf Scholz, of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), leads the German elections this weekend and reiterated his willingness to form a coalition with the Greens. He overtook the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) / Christian Social Union (CSU) in the polls, with the latest giving him a five-point lead. Following a televised debate on Sunday, a snap election bolstered Mr Scholz’s pole position, with respondents describing him as having won two of three live debates as the candidates enter the final week of the campaign.
Experts are amazed at the speed at which the CDU / CSU has dive-bombed.
Many blame his new leader, Armin Laschet, for a catalog of unforced errors, including being filmed laughing as the German president delivers a speech in a town that had been largely destroyed by catastrophic flooding .
Its CDU currently lags at 21% in the polls, with the SPD at 26% and rising.
Many are also wary of the direction Mr Laschet might take for Germany if he wins the election and becomes chancellor.
In 2019, reports show how he spoke in favor of closer cooperation with Russia.
Returning to the detente policy of the 1970s during the Cold War, a period which marked an easing of tensions between the Western powers and the Soviet Union, Mr. Laschet declared: “At the time, in a tense situation with a totalitarian communist system, the threads of conversation have been established.
“So it must be possible for us today too.
“There are many issues in the world that we need Russia for.”
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Mr. Laschet’s comments on Russia have led many to describe him as a Russlandversteher – a derogatory term for people who take a soft and sympathetic stance towards Mr Putin’s Russia, according to Politico.
He is also considered to have a lenient stance towards China, as the protection of German export industries has been one of his biggest concerns during his political career.
Earlier this year, Mr Laschet told DW that Germany and Europe must keep the channels for dialogue with Moscow open.
He stressed that Russia should not be isolated and said: “People calling for a harsher approach should say what they mean by a harder approach.
“We have sanctions, but severing diplomatic ties or something like that would be wrong.”
While Mr Scholz took a tougher approach, he too agreed that Europe must communicate with Russia.
He suggested that the Ostpolitik policy of the former SPD chancellor be introduced again, but this time from a united Europe.
Ostpolitik was the Cold War-era detente strategy against the Soviet Union pursued in the early 1970s by Willy Brandt.
In a recent interview with DW he said: “There is a good tradition that was established by Willy Brandt… on common security in Europe.
“They include, by the way, the clear statement that we are committed to the idea that borders in Europe should no longer be forcibly moved.
“Russia has violated this.”