The political weight of fear after Russian threats against Germany

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“It’s unbelievable, but once again we are threatened by German tanks,” said Vladimir Putin, referring to the approval given by the government in Berlin to supply Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. “But Russia has something to answer,” the Kremlin ruler assured, adding that “Hitler’s successors again want a confrontation with Russia on Ukrainian soil using the Banderites,” referring to the supporters of Stepan Bandera – a Ukrainian who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. The speech of the Russian leader was preceded by statements by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who explained that the deliveries of American and German weapons to Ukraine “are understood in Moscow as Germany’s direct participation in the war” and legitimized the speech of Putin’s propagandists, such as Vladimir Soloviev, who advised the chancellor on Russian television Scholz to grow a “thin moustache” and who called on the Russian army to “liberate Berlin again”.

A real sense of danger

Information from Russia reaches the Germans on an ongoing basis, raising anxiety, especially among the oldest part of society. The possibility of directing Putin’s anger at Germany influences the mood of people who believe that they live in a state of real danger. This can be seen, for example, in consumer behavior and the recent significant increase in interest in private bunkers. According to the French research institute Ipsos, in the face of threats addressed directly to the Germans, a sharp decline in support for military aid to Ukraine can be seen in them. A survey conducted in 28 countries on a group of almost 20,000 people aged 16 to 74 shows that only 48 percent. Germans support the supply of weapons to Ukraine, and 43 percent. agrees with the statement: “The problems of the Ukrainians are not our business, we should not get involved.” “The concern that increasing the supply of weapons, including Leopard 2 tanks, will not bring a quick solution, but will escalate the war in Ukraine, is of increasing concern to the German population,” notes Robert Grimm, head of Ipsos’s Department of Political and Social Research. “This concern must be taken into account in the decisions taken by Chancellor Olaf Scholz.”

Conversations with the chancellor

“I am very glad of your hesitation, of your decision to wait and see [rozwój] this war. I am very grateful,” a woman from Marburg told the chancellor last Thursday, where Scholz held one of his “chancellor talks” – a format inherited from Angela Merkel, where he meets with around 150 citizens who are allowed to ask all kinds of questions. The event is regularly repeated across the country. This is the fifth meeting of this type, despite the fact that the previous ones were accompanied by protests and booing. The woman’s speech was interrupted by general applause expressing support for her words. Scholz also admitted then that he did not know “what must happen for Putin to lay down his arms.” Olaf Scholz seems to be relatively relaxed when meeting with citizens, in contrast to his conversations with foreign leaders, where he appears stiff and illegible, but consistent, as he invariably sticks to his learned discourse, in which he never says that Putin must lose the war, only that “Ukraine cannot lose this war.” During the meeting there were also questions about trust issues. Participants asked how it is possible to believe in the words of the chancellor, who once promised not to send heavy weapons, and yet did so … Scholz replied that this is “an imperialist war between Russia and Ukraine; one country wants to take territory from another by force, which we cannot accept”, and then added: “The European order that Helmut Schmidt and Willy Brandt (former German SPD chancellors) wanted is one in which it is unacceptable to invade borders by war . (…) That is why it is necessary for us to do things that we have not wanted to do for a long time, and that is why I have decided to support Ukraine with heavy weapons, in addition to many other types of help, and that is also why I have outlined very well what I am not going to do. (…) It is our duty to prevent the escalation of the conflict between Russia and NATO, and all our steps to this end will be taken very carefully, never alone and always together with the United States.” Scholz’s reasoning points to a “culture of peace” adopted by many politicians after 1945. Helmut Schmidt, the Social Democratic Chancellor of the Cold War era, to whom Olaf Scholz referred during his meeting with citizens, used to say that “a thousand hours of negotiation is worth more than a minute of shooting.” However, it is worth considering how many innocent people will lose their lives during these thousand hours of negotiations and is there anyone to negotiate with? source: abc.es

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