Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin wasn’t the first Russian poet. Before him there was Zhukovsky, Derzhavin, and even Lomonosov. Beautiful, melodious verses were composed by many also after Pushkin. Nevertheless, he is “our everything”. Without him, without Pushkin’s language, not just Russian poetry, but the Russian language itself is incomplete…
Pushkin is exact and extremely laconic. He knows how to pack many meanings into only a few words. And he doesn’t use excess words. Do you remember: “Up there a prince in passing captures a fearsome tsar”. Just one word – “in passing” [two words in English – ed]. But how it characterises both people and process! Solving more important problems, in between times, a certain prince at the same time captured a fearsome (i.e., mighty, strong, dangerous) tsar (and it means he conquered him, his army, and his state).
I don’t know whether it was Peskov’s idea or it arrived by itself, but the Russian media, highlighting the visit of the president Putin to Germany, concentrated on the Austrian wedding, the Tula samovar, an ancient milkchurn, the Kuban choir, and the painting of an unknown (to us, so far) artist [all four are the gifts that Putin brought to the wedding – ed]. The meeting with Merkel and the solving of difficult global (including European) problems happened in passing. So, he went to wedding and at the same time attended to some affairs.
Meanwhile, the visit to Germany isn’t only symbolic – it is critical. For the third time in 100 years, the Reich finds itself in a condition of a rigid standoff with the same Anglo-Saxons who raised and nurtured it for the fight against Russia. Only this time the grown wiser Germany tries to keep France as an ally (instead of crushing it, like the two previous times) and isn’t eager for a Moscow campaign at all. It is rather on the contrary – it tries to reach an agreement with Russia concerning a joint standoff with Anglo-American aggression.
It is a very difficult process. It’s not only about history and “values”, but a consciousness most dear to bürgers — markets providing a multi-billion income, connecting Berlin and Washington. It is almost impossible to escape from “brotherly” embraces without suffering considerable damage. For a long time Germany didn’t even try to do this, obediently joining the sanctions regime. At first the introduction of sanctions was still shaped by more or less worthy pretexts, for example: “Russia is to blame for the fact that the West organised a coup in Ukraine, and now Ukrainians kill each other with ecstasy during civil war”. Four years have passed and sanctions are imposed even for the fact that the Brits out of fear killed the cat of the Skripals, and also for the fact that the Americans elected Trump as president, and not Clinton.
The “gloomy German genius” would reconcile even with this. Losses because of sanctions have already been incurred, and bypassing routes have been found. Those who can enter the Russian market with an exclusive offer remain there. The others calculate their losses. Russia, under the name of import substitution, radically reorganises its economy. The sector focused on national production rejoices. The sector focused on import weeps.
But here it became clear that the Americans want to take away from the Germans their “cow” – the European Union, and to milk it themselves. But Germany in exchange is granted the “honourable” right to increase military expenses fourfold and switch from Russian gas to the three times more expensive American gas.
At this moment something skipped a beat inside the Germans. It isn’t excluded that they even remembered that Hitler, in the last five years of his life, blamed Anglo-Saxon “plutocracy” (his expression) with even more bad words than the Jews and Slavs hated by him. In general it entered the bürgers’ mind that Germany has two paths: to perish once again, or to make friends with Russia and smoothly but quickly – since the time for reflections passed already five years ago – reorientate its economy from the American to the Eurasian market.
This is a very difficult and painful process, and the Germans up to the very end tried to change nothing, hoping that somehow they will come out unscathed. But they didn’t. The weakened America, in the inverse proportion, became so impudent that it tried to decide on Germany’s behalf what gas pipelines it should build and which ones “harm European security”.
If the current crisis doesn’t transform into a global catastrophic military conflict, and all the history of mankind will remain, then the future generations of historians will undoubtedly pinpoint the discussion about “Nord Stream-2” as one of the main reasons for the disintegration of NATO and the reformed European Union’s reorientation from the US towards Russia. On the eve of the Austrian wedding Putin pinpointed topics of future discussions in Berlin, as well as a discussion about global questions, including economic and security, and he also placed an accent on the question of “Nord Stream-2”. In turn, the Germans on the eve of the meeting once again stressed that “Nord Stream-2” is a solved question and that it won’t be discussed with the Americans in any form.
Actually, this is everything that should be known about this meeting. Putin flied to Berlin not to reach an agreement or to synchronise watches. In fact, agreements had been reached before the visit. It was the ways in which the American problem can be solved that was discussed in Berlin. How to appease a bull the most without there being serious consequences for the china shop. In Berlin the most general forms of technical solutions to the problem that is the post-American world were worked out. Moreover, judging by the contented faces of the participants and a minimum of information, mutual understanding was full and comprehensive.
We will be able to see the main results of this meeting over the next 12 months, and they will be expressed in the careful, but quick rapprochement between Germany and Russia, against the background of the contradictory and twitchy policy of the US. By the way, the question of recognising Crimea as Russian again arose in Washington just because the US cannot offer anything to counter this careful but quick rapprochement. And within the framework of this rapprochement, Europe will sooner or later recognise the actual status of Crimea anyway.
Putin also spoke in passing, but quite concretely about the prospects of solving this problem, as well as settling the entire Ukrainian crisis. When he was asked a question by a journalist, he answered by saying that we will also discuss Ukraine.
This “also” for Kiev is worse than Russian tanks on the Khreshchatyk. The West solves the Ukrainian problem with Russia without Ukraine among other questions. Ukraine is not only not the main subject of a meeting, it is simply one of many: about nature, about the weather, about Papuans, and at the same time about Ukraine. In the media the Ukrainian topic is far less relevant than the Austrian wedding and the Kuban Cossack choir being 10 minutes late to it.
It is not just an effective policy. It is also a beautiful performance. Putin went to a wedding, and at the same time solved European problems in a global context, and also spoke about Ukraine.
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