Angela Merkel says she lost influence over Putin as a lame duck leader

Angela Merkel has insisted that her status as a lame duck in the last months of her time in office made it more or less impossible for her to influence Vladimir Putin’s behaviour.

The former German chancellor appeared both defensive and quietly defiant about the Russian president’s inability to change the order of decision-making in the run-up to the invasion. ukraine in February.

In an interview with the German news magazine SpiegelMerkel said she was acutely aware that her ability to negotiate with Putin was minimal after it was known that she would not stand for a fifth term in office.

“I no longer had the power to put forward my views because everyone knew ‘she would leave by the autumn’,” she said, adding that she had planned a meeting in the summer of 2021 followed by a round of European talks. Tried to install. US President, Joe Biden and Putin. β€œIf I were to stand again in September I would continue to dig, but… at our last meeting in Moscow [with Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov]The feeling was clear: From the point of view of political power, you’re finished. For Putin it is only power that matters.

In her interview with Alexander Ossang, which took place over a year and in various locations, Merkel insisted that her stance on the Minsk accords – which brought a ceasefire following Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula – was correct. . Key points of the Minsk peace talks, including disarmament and supervision by an international body, were never followed through. But Merkel said the agreement nevertheless helped buy Kyiv time to better arm itself against Russian forces.

According to Ossang, she has repeatedly alleged that she felt misunderstood about what she had tried to achieve as German leader, as she now faces a barrage of accusations on some of her choices, such as Bucharest. His decision to block Ukraine’s entry into NATO. 2008, which was seen by many as hurting his ability to defend. Refusing to admit your mistakes in allowing Germany Another major criticism is the over-reliance on Russian gas supplies.

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Merkel appeared to compare her behavior with that of Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister associated with Adolf Hitler’s flawed policy of appeasement in the 1930s by allowing Nazi Germany to expand its territory.

After watching the Netflix drama Munich – The Age of War, based on the novel by Robert Harris, in which actor Jeremy Irons plays Chamberlain, Merkel said she was inclined to portray him in another, more positive light. – “Not as the feared stirrup holder for Hitler but as a strategist who used his country to create a buffer so he could better prepare for a German attack.

Merkel said it was unfair to suggest that she had not paid enough attention to Ukraine in 2013 and 2014. Have you lost sight of Ukraine?’ But it’s very simple. we had elections [in Germany]There was always something going on with grease at the time, and I broke my pelvis,” she said, referring to an injury she suffered during a cross-country skiing holiday in 2014.

In a wide-ranging interview she related anecdotes in which she reflected and sometimes lamented about her time in office, encounters with the Queen – although Merkel said she had never been able to establish Wasn’t able to hear what the British monarch thought about Brexit – and a G7 meeting with Boris Johnson, who said he was attempting to undermine the Northern Ireland Protocol. Upon warning him, apparently half-jokingly, that he was on his way to becoming a sinister Shakespearean figure, Johnson stormed out of the room, returning five minutes later to tell him: “If that’s the case, I want to be Hamlet. “

She said she was currently in a “pupil period”, trying to reinvent herself. “I’ve entered a period of reflection, and the hamster wheel phenomenon is abating.”

She said that activities she had found time for since leaving her position included watching the series The Crown and Babylon Berlin. She had also seen the Queen’s funeral on television, and took an interest in many of the guests she recognized, including Tony Blair, whom Ossang said was “a great political genius who had lost his reputation” over the Iraq War. referred to as She mentions having read Schiller and Shakespeare as well as Sebastian Haffner’s biography of Winston Churchill and said she was now reading Churchill’s voluminous war diaries, along with those of her longtime office manager Beate Baumann. He and Baumann are also writing a book together about his chancellorship, for which he has reportedly received a large advance.

She said one of her first out-of-post vacations was a trip to Tuscany last spring with an art historian friend.

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