Deutschlandfunk (Germany): “the West has shown arrogance”

Of a referendum on constitutional reform, Russian President Vladimir Putin comes out stronger than before. According to the policy of the faction of the “Left party” Gregor Gysi (Gregor Gysi), and now Putin will be more rigid in their demands. But it is necessary to communicate, because, after his long denied he had lost confidence in Germany.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may run for another two terms. The relevant amendment to the Constitution approved by almost 78% of the vote, as reported by the Central election Commission in Moscow. Less than 22% voted against. Thus, Putin can remain President until 2036.

Joerg Munchenberg: Mr. Gysi, Chairman of the Bundestag Committee on human rights and humanitarian assistance Gyude Jensen (Gyde Jensen) says, about “the Requiem mass on the last remnants of democracy in Russia.” How do you assess the referendum?

Gregor Gysi: From my point of view, it’s still an exaggeration. Of course, Putin has done a neat trick: he said that now there will only be two presidential terms, but my still — not in the bill. Perhaps trump would envy him. He, too, would like to remain President forever. But it’s impossible. However, introduced some new social rules. What bothers me most is the appointment and removal of judges. In fact, to remove judges is impossible. The appointment of the attorney — General is not a problem, but the judges had such a strong concern, because this will further limit the independence of the legal system.

“Putin has a clear majority”

— There are many reports on violation of procedures. People were lured to the polls with the help of the lotteries and winnings. How free and fair was the vote?

— Of course, there were some violations. But we should not build illusions. Putin has a clear majority — not necessarily in Moscow, perhaps not in Saint-Petersburg. But if you go to the countryside, in a small town, where the situation is quite different — among both workers and peasants. Among the intelligentsia there is, of course, all argue and sort things out, I know it for China.

There are constantly emerging contradictions, which, however, do not apply to the whole country.

“Russia has never had democracy”

Now this is a fact: the amendment of the Constitution gives Putin the opportunity to run for another two terms. You’ve talked about this. But in the public outreach campaign prior to the referendum, this was discussed a little. Instead, focused on social benefits: moderate increase in child benefits, allegedly and pensions will rise. It is possible to conclude that the new motto — the welfare in exchange for political passivity?

— Well, that too, because there just happens to be the demonstration. I compare the current Russia with the Soviet Union. Compared to him, Russia became more democratic. But our ideas about democracy it does not fit. We must not forget one thing: Russia has never had democracy. First there was the tsarist Empire, and then, a short time, Kerensky, then Lenin, and finally Stalin. What happened next, you know. In other words, democracy is still not entrenched in the public consciousness, except for major cities. Should still a lot to happen: teaching, education, training in democratic traditions, familiarity with the democratic States. It all seems to me very important.

“Not to forget our geostrategic interest”

Mr. Gysi, I’m sorry to interrupt. But unless the development does not go in the other direction? To cite one example: the famous Russian Director Kirill Serebrennikov a week ago was sentenced to three years of imprisonment conditionally. All observers — or at least the majority — believe that this is a political process. In their opinion, is a blow to liberal intellectuals. It also does not Bode well for the future.

— Yes! Will not only be good. On the other hand, the term conditional. What he would have received in the Soviet Union? So, among other things. So I want us to stay in the conversation, looking at things from different points of view. Of course, pointing to an unfair attitude towards people and anti-democratic manifestations and to discuss them. I do it too whenever possible. But from my point of view, it is wrong to condemn all indiscriminately, as if the old Soviet Union still exists. To realize this distinction is difficult, difficult for us, difficult for others, but nothing else we do. After all, Russia is a powerful country, and Germany has a strategic interest in good relations with Russia and China, while criticizing their too can and should be. We cannot forget our geostrategic interest.

“Trust must be restored”

— Putin wants to restore the former power and strength of Russia. One need only look at the increased armament of the country, its military actions in Syria, Libya and other regions. Now the President became even stronger. That has to be tuned in Germany?

— That Putin will act differently. I will remind you: in 2001, he was in the Bundestag. I heard his speech. Then he offered the cooperation of the secret services, armies, police, cooperation in the field of economy, science and culture. But the West has behaved arrogantly. He felt that he didn’t need it. Since then, Putin has changed, he says he will not allow to further narrow their spheres of influence. I mean not the Crimea, and Syria and so on. To overcome this, we need to restore trust in the moment. So we need to tune into what now on he will be even tougher in their demands.

Because of the sanctions Russian create new production capacity, because can no longer buy certain goods. If he could solve economic problems, and because of this — and some social, that will start to act more vigorously and with a stronger position. Obama made the mistake of calling it a head of only a regional power. I know this type of politicians. If something hurts, they start to prove that their country is a great power.

In other words, we need negotiations, intense negotiations. We must warn Putin against certain things, but he must be sure that we won’t be relegated to the second plan, will not continually place its military on its borders, and the like. It is not available. No relationships based on trust.

But the question is how to have a relationship of trust. Will give a few other examples. There is a murder in Berlin. There were cyber attacks on the Bundestag, contrary to international law the occupation of the Crimea, smoldering war in the East of Ukraine and so on and so forth. All this takes place under the auspices of Putin, which has now become even stronger. And so the question arises, as in this situation should be closer, how can be trust.

— From my point of view, there is only one way: we must agree on the lifting of EU sanctions against Russia provided that certain things should be eliminated and clarified. The other is not possible. In this case it is, I think, would be willing to make concessions. I also don’t like that he supported right-wing forces in Europe, opposed to the EU. But he supports them only because the EU has imposed sanctions against him. In other words, we need…

— Sanctions were imposed because of the Crimea!

Yeah, I know. But we should not forget one thing: the West, the first annexed Kosovo in contravention of international law and the decision of the UN security Council. Now this precedent is used by all. Pujdeme refers to Kosovo, in Iraq, Barzani refers to Kosovo, of course, and the Russians are doing the same. Still, this is a violation of international law. Here we agree. Now if we don’t start something to offer him — of course, provided that he will refuse certain things, because we are talking about the diplomatic negotiations, then we will not get anywhere. The situation will continue to worsen, and we can not afford. And, I think, Russia will not be able to afford it.

“Military means to control the world”

But in the face of all these events, for example, in Syria, where do not pay attention to the civilian population in Libya, and so forth, you really hope that Putin will go towards the West?

— If the West will meet him, and he will be forced to go towards the West, because what is happening in Syria, already above its forces. We must admit that the war against Libya (not that I sympathized with Gaddafi, don’t get me wrong) was, of course, a big mistake. In the end we got a catastrophe instead of a stable order.

You know, from my point of view, all the parties too much emphasis on military action and too little on the diplomatic and political. If we do not return to politics and diplomacy, we have nothing. Military means world can not be controlled.

Mr. Gysi, you already said that require lifting sanctions on Russia. What, from your point of view, the German government must do more to meet Russia?

— It is important that it has initiated the process and articulated what needs to change in policy towards Russia. Internal Affairs — the question is always more complicated, but perhaps there will be able to sort something out. For example, support for right-wing forces. We need to think how to stop the war in Syria, to prevent the fire — at least in the Crimea. The Crimea, they don’t give me this clear. But we do not recognize. However, you can try to establish good relations.

You know? Need to do a number of things, and both sides, and to this intensive talks. If Putin has the feeling that the West is again walking towards him, recognize him and his influence, although it sets certain conditions to lift the sanctions, then I think we have a chance. Here, Germany can play a key role. One only of our history, we should try to establish good relations with Russia, and avoid any aggravation.