Leonid Slutsky: “In Germany, elections to the Bundestag took place. According to official preliminary data, the SPD wins. For Angela Merkel’s CDU / CSU bloc, it was a rainy day: Christian Democrats received the worst results for them in history. The third party in terms of the number of votes is the Greens, on the contrary, with the best result for them. The Free Democratic Party (Liberals), Alternative for Germany and the Left Party also enter parliament. As a result of the elections, a ruling majority will be formed, which will elect the chancellor. It is not yet known who they will become. Since no party has absolute numbers for this, the formation of a coalition is inevitable. It seems that everything will depend on which of the two largest parties the Greens and the Liberals join. So far, rebuilding the current “grand coalition” of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats looks like the least likely option. Thus, there are difficult inter-party negotiations ahead, which may drag on and still bring surprises. For example, in 1969 the CDU / CSU won the elections, but the losing SPD successfully assembled a coalition and brought in its own chancellor. One could say that all this is an internal affair of Germany, that we care about their parties, we will work with any government! And indeed it is. But let’s not dissemble. The German Chancellor is the leader of the EU’s “locomotive” country, and he will largely determine the development of Russia’s relations both with the FRG and with the entire EU. The 16-year era of Angela Merkel is receding into the past, and I am sure no one will argue that the largest politician in the past fifteen years is leaving the European stage. A united Europe owes it a lot: overcoming the financial crisis in Greece, the European migration crisis, solving the Brexit problems and many other difficult issues that undermined the unity of the EU. Merkel has always been a calm, self-confident politician seeking compromise. She also made a significant personal contribution to attempts to achieve an internal Ukrainian settlement, which, however, so far, through the fault of Kiev, have not led to real results. Who will replace her? Most likely, this can be claimed by the candidate for the chancellor from the SPD, the current Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz. Merkel’s official successor from the CDU party, Armin Lashet, has noticeably diminished the chances of taking this seat. According to German political analysts, there are great chances of joining the Greens coalition (in two of the three most likely coalitions). And its leader, Annalena Berbock, is called a possible vice-chancellor and foreign minister. Judging by their campaign statements, none of the likely Chancellor candidates, other than Berbock, should have dramatically changed relations with Russia for the worse. Both of them, criticizing Moscow on various issues, at the same time consider it necessary to have a dialogue with it both for Germany and the EU as a whole. Both support the Nord Stream 2 project. Berbock, on the other hand, repeatedly opposed the construction of the gas pipeline, saying that if she entered the government, she would try to interfere with gas supplies through it. As the German political scientist Alexander Rahr put it, “until the last day of the election race, she did not stop grinning at Russia.” But too much German money has been invested in Nord Stream 2. And any German Chancellor cannot ignore the interests of big business. The German business community has already issued a statement urging the future government to avoid conflicts with Russia. So the opponents of the long-suffering project, with all their will, are unlikely to be able to stop it. Although, of course, they can spoil the blood if they wish. “

Leonid Slutsky: “In Germany, elections to the Bundestag took place. According to official preliminary data, the SPD wins. For Angela Merkel’s CDU / CSU bloc,

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