“Putin is not a legitimately elected President”

She has just completed the first day in the prestigious London school of Economics. This site is under big construction, and has to go through a zigzag road. Finally I got to the building, Turm 3. Its Bureau oozing charm of a prison cell, more bleak were the only cubby Hermida of Moncler (Herfried Münkler). But the spirit is strong. London light falls through the murky glass. On empty shelves the one and only book about the Soviet Union.


Die Welt: You are posting passionate comments in the Washington Post, and you the historian. Your last book dedicated to the “iron curtain”. And what will be next?


Anne Applebaum: a Book about the Ukraine under the name “Red Famine” (hunger Red). It describes how Stalin used the famine and repression to destroy the national movement in Ukraine and “sovietise” the country. I started working on it back in 2010. However, when the protests began on the Maidan, I took them, and the book was postponed.


Will this book met with the same attention as “the GULAG” and “Iron curtain”?


— Anyone who wants to understand the European policy to address this issue. It will help to understand the complex relations between Russia and Ukraine. And it will help to understand Putin and what he wants to do with Russia.


Then the Ukraine was experiencing a severe degradation, remember only the “Bloodlands” of the author Timothy Snyder (Timothy Snyder). Whether there will be for Ukraine a promotion?


Perhaps Putin was sometimes almost ready to abandon Ukraine. After all, he started this war. The conflict in Eastern Ukraine Russia used for domestic political reasons. Ultimately, Putin is not a legitimately elected President. He constantly needs to prove that he had the power and why. According to him, one of the reasons is to protect Ukraine and also Russia from the fascist and Nazi forces. Another story is the struggle against Islamism. The conflict in Ukraine has meanwhile ceased to be popular in Russia, so he might want to complete it.


And how Affairs with the Ukraine? Is it something other than just a miserable society that is too late has shown its will to freedom and which are indifferent to the Europeans?


— Oh, no! In recent years there have been huge positive changes in every city are people who have quite a clear idea about the future of their country. It works as a useful liberal patriotism. They want to make a difference with our own government. And don’t forget: Ukraine is indeed practically the last country that is set up is so Pro-European. People need to overcome not only the Soviet period, they were also a colonized country. To overcome this very difficult. But unfortunate this country is not.


Will Ukraine ever part of the West?


— I don’t think there aspire to membership in the EU or in NATO, I just want trade relations and freedom of movement. For a greater majority of Ukrainians does not count. But it is “West” in terms of inner attitude and commitment.


There is a lot of speculation about the friendly attitude of the Donald trump of Russia. But can you really imagine bringing the two antagonistic models of society, or even Union?


— Every President since Ronald Reagan tried to build a special relationship with Russia. And each of them was unsuccessful in this. The problem is simple — the United States and Russia have different views on the world and have no common values. We Americans believe that the government exists to serve the people to ensure freedom and promote welfare. And the Russian people think that the government in order to enriched the manual.


Who is more dangerous, trump or Putin?


Well, the question You have! We still don’t know if trump and how. With Putin thing easier. He is not only Imperial habits to control other regions. He needs to their own perception of power, the mission of destruction of the EU, and with it NATO. The ideas of democracy, rule of law and human rights are a nightmare, which he proved. For this it uses the methods of cyber warfare in all European countries. Compared to this warlike military treatment of the Ukraine is unusual.


However, both now connects more than it dared believe.


What unites trump and Putin, it’s the inability to understand and appreciate the value and power of Western values. Trump is not cheating and does not betray the West, he’s just not interested in it. His touches and do not care what Union structure and alliances arose 70 years ago. He is the first President since the second world war, which Europe really care about.


Why, no one could imagine such a figure like him, of whom the historian Dan diner (Dan Diner) called “artificial figure”?


— It is in some way outside the possibility of representation. But he is democratically elected, and he, it must be admitted, have not yet caused actual damage democracy. We must be cautious in a too rapid assessments. But it is also clear that in the twentieth century was not a single President with the same corruption potential.


Still structures reacted quite a model.


— We’ll see. America is not so centralized as Europe. The President can’t control the police, and the FBI has a regional office. And justice has an extensive network. It’s a giant. Trump also could not control the media or Congress. But can he keep it? Here, any prediction is too premature. His behavior and his style is still insufficient for the process of impeachment, what many on the left wanted after four weeks of the presidency.


So you recognize him in “the presumption of innocence”?


— No. He is a bad President. Baffling to me, what he says and how he says it. I have no illusions, but it would be weird now to say that in America there is no democracy. This now can be heard from many Germans. This is nonsense. Donald trump just does not understand democracy and our Constitution. When he talked about the judge who overturned his ban on entry into the country, it was noticeable that he, perhaps for the first time actually thought about it. He is now on own experience learns that the President has absolute power and he is also bound by obligations and its control. For it is all virgin. But it is a good lessons.


The impression that Brakcet, which was a shock last summer, meanwhile, dropped to negligible proportions.


— It could be easy to forget. If it were not for a variety of echo, which he called. It will be difficult to leave not only the domestic market and the customs Union. What do you think will happen if between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland will again be to implement border controls? Theresa may is not acting cautiously and not in the interests of all, and influenced by militant minorities in his office. Problem Breccia that most of its effects are longer-term and more delicate. There will be no collapse. Changes will occur gradually.


If there are any here positive thoughts, for example, that the British “no” had meaning, and the EU needs a radical new beginning?


— It would be a fantastic moment for the EU. After all, the border issue is a critical issue in every society. We must ensure the protection of the external borders and to create naval patrols. “Fortress” for me is too hard a concept. But, of course, Europe cannot accept all the refugees and give yourself to destabilise and alienate. But border security is not the task of a single country but in all countries. If these countries will not be discontent.


And if elected, Le Pen, and she out of the EU?


— Then, probably, there will be a new Association under the leadership of Germany. This would be the time to carefully weigh and see who is with whom in General can deal with.


In any case, there is the German question. Again.


— I hate when people say Germany needs to itself become a leading country for new thinking and new structuring of the EU.


Why do you hate it?


— I hate it when Germany lay such a burden — it is a country that just does not want it.


What was the biggest mistake of representative democracy?


— She made a mistake?


Then the discontent and distrust, alienation from the government? Parties are obsolete entities.


This is a different issue. The old structures no longer work, because they don’t embody the true dividing line. The Christian Democrats relied on the Church, the social Democrats in the trade unions. Both structures are no longer important.


What does matter then?


— Indeed, there is a difference between “open” and “closed”. The populism actually there is no majority. In the best case, it reaches 25%. Le Pen may even get 26% because the other parties are too fractured. The party of the Kaczynski has never had more than 25% and represents 18% of the population. She won because the other forces were crushed.


“We the people, and who are you?” — asked Erdogan.


In Germany You have not reached this crisis point. Limitation of populists is possible only through new alliances. But they need to put the right questions, not such as taxes or justice. Everyone wants justice, it is a truism. The party system really needs to gradually realize the seriousness of the situation. The conservatism of the centre should unite and might just win. It would be easy in Poland, and by the way also in the Netherlands.


And what prevents the parties of the center stick, say, a responsible ethics?


Me something extremely frustrating: I’m not as old, but I remember about the collapse of communism, and why he lost. And I remember how people understand that socialism simply does not function. All this happened only 28 years ago. Today, however, politicians have again demanding the nationalization of industry. However, this does not help and does not help more poor people. Why do people want to return to those failed slogans? For me it is a mystery. Trade definitely creates new jobs and open borders. Thus, there is welfare, which creates a sense of belonging. However, it was not possible for Western societies is the reduction of corruption. In London, entire neighborhoods are owned by foreigners, who thus receive tax benefits. And young people can’t find a suitable apartment. This is really a big social problem. Every government has withdrawn from in order to find a solution. Instead, we have Breaksit!


Is also and incredibly high youth unemployment in France has nothing to do with economic liberalism, but rather unsuccessful caused by excessive government regulation.


— Return to liberal capitalism. We need to patch the holes. Let’s be honest, as for his weaknesses. The oligarchs have to pay taxes. International capital around the world must be brought to justice. We need a strong state which would build roads and houses. In Switzerland accumulate gold bullion in the former bunkers. This is absurd.


Is there any party or politician that impress you?


— Yes, there are liberal heads who know that we live in a new era. In Spain, in Poland and in France, the Makron. He created a new party, a new movement. Whether he will achieve success? At least he realized that this vacuum. In the UK it is much harder to create something new. Think about that many people. Because both parties are the minority as the hostage-takers. And in the center a huge number of people don’t feel represented. Give your vote to these people.


So, you not only a pessimist?


— I’m incredibly pessimistic! I have a year and a half ago talking about the possible end of the liberal world order. And Breaksit I also predicted. Why didn’t I see that coming trump? At least, I don’t believe in the power of Clinton. How long can I resist the pessimism, I ask myself? In the US, anyway, was the worst thing that could happen. What are the answers? So I sit here in this office and want to talk. We do disinformation and how to fight it. On this I work for several years.


Make fast the program and help us in the election campaign in Germany!


— Maybe we actually will make the German program. I think of course about Russia. Is that deep heartfelt guilt that the Germans make such a Russophile or immune to obvious dangers? No, the Germans are afraid of Russia. Because Russia has done something to the Germans. Especially East Germans remember about it. In Germany there is a huge amount of Russian money. They put in there very carefully and gradually, to companies, firms, up to art exhibitions a few years ago in DHM, which is sponsored by Gazprom. I would not want to be overly conspiratorial, but Germany two decades, is under the eye of Russian disinformation. In Germany, it has successfully managed.