“Understanding Putin’s not out of the question”

The initiative to accept the annexation of Crimea as a “temporary solution” to improve relations with Russia — at the end of last week, the Chairman of the Free democratic party (FDP), Lindner announced in an interview with the Funke media group, which caused a violent reaction. Whether this initiative is coordinated with his colleagues in the party? This and other questions were asked to Alexander count Lambsdorff, Chairman of the FDP group in the European Parliament and Vice-President of the European Parliament.

Die Welt: Mr. Lamsdorf, the FDP goes into the camp of those who are sympathetic to Putin?

Alexander Graf Lambsdorff:
No. The concept of “workaround” clearly says that the annexation is not recognized. We clearly supported the sanctions in respect of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, we support NATO and the deployment of military in East NATO countries — all these are things that strengthen the Western policy and support it. About understanding Putin cannot be considered.

— However, Lindner wants to make offers Putin to change his policy “without losing face”. You also hold this view?

— What must be done — message to Moscow. Behavior, not aimed at intimidating neighbors and territorial expansion would become the policy, which again would be a possible cooperation.

— Lindner offers to gradually ease sanctions even when Putin still has not fully complied with its obligations under the Minsk agreements. This is the politics of appeasement or even a real policy?


— The Minsk agreements contain a number of complex regulations. Another former Minister of foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that can only be a step-by-step improvement of the situation, so that agreement worked. In this step-by-step policy in exchange for improvements can be relaxed some sanctions. But this has nothing to do with the sanctions because of the Crimea.

— Then it turns out that critics who accuse the FDP is now in the betrayal of the liberal heritage and the sacrifice of the economic interests of freedom, human rights, international law, something not so understood?

— Free Democrats unequivocally support the relationship with the West and Western values. As previously rarely mentioned, is the fact that the annexation of Crimea should not block any form of dialogue. Lindner therefore made it clear that we will not consider the issue of Crimea is the only factor for cooperation with Russia on certain issues. That’s what he was talking about, and this is a deliberately misunderstood.

Let’s rate as an attempt to start a new relationship with Russia. Why is it now so important?

— I believe that we need to overcome the steadiness of those who are sympathetic to Putin, on the one hand, and those who hate him. We very sober analysis of the partly aggressive Russian policy.


But the long-term goal should be that we get a security system for the Northern hemisphere from Vancouver to Vladivostok, where Russia will play a constructive role. Currently it is not. We want to give a signal that, in principle, when the appropriate behavior there is a willingness to cooperate with Russia.