Nach 16 Jahren: Die eine geht, der andere bleibt. Foto von Angela Merkel und Vladimir Putin 2006 in Tomsk. | Photo: Kreml ( Commons | CC BY 4.0

Zäsur ohne Konsequenz: Die deutsche Russlandpolitik und das Ende der Ära Merkel

Mit Außenpolitik sind keine Wahlen zu gewinnen. Dennoch kommt man am Thema Russland nicht vorbei – ob es um internationale Konflikte wie Syrien oder Afghanistan, die gemeinsame osteuropäische Nachbarschaft, Energiesicherheit oder politische Einflussnahme in westlichen Staaten geht. Das nie dagewesene Ausmaß der Repressionen und Wahlmanipulation bei der Dumawahl im September oder die Neuauflage des Militärmanövers „Sapad“ mit dem Pariastaat Belarus machen deutlich, dass das Regime in Moskau seinen Geltungsanspruch nach innen wie nach außen in absehbarer Zeit nicht mindern wird. Es ist also nur eine Frage der Zeit, bis sich die neue Bundesregierung zu Putins Russland verhalten muss.


Dag Hammarskjöld am 6.1.1959 (© UN Photo/JO)
Dag Hammarskjöld am 6.1.1959 (© UN Photo/JO)

Die UN als globaler „Streitraum“. Zur Aktualität von Dag Hammarskjölds Erbe

Dag Hammarskjöld? War das nicht der mit dem mysteriösen Flugzeugabsturz im Kongo? Außerhalb des kleinen Kreises derer, die sich intensiv mit der Geschichte der Vereinten Nationen beschäftigen, verblasst die Erinnerung an den zweiten UN-Generalsekretär zunehmend. Wir wollen den 60. Todestag von Dag Hammarskjöld zum Anlass nehmen, um nochmals einen Blick auf dieses „Wunderkind aus Schweden“ […]


Which challenges and discourses will dominate NATO’s future strategic concept? New FES/PRIF Study maps three alternatives visions for the evolution of the Atlantic alliance. | Photo: flickr, © NATO | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Three futures for NATO: New FES/PRIF backgrounder for the 2021 NATO summit

Today, NATO‘s Heads of State and Government are meeting in Brussels for a summit that is expected to set the course for the rejuvenation of the Atlantic alliance. Leaders will discuss the report of the NATO Expert Group, kick off the process for developing a New Strategic Concept, and signal a closing of transatlantic ranks. Against this background, the new FES/PRIF Report “Three visions for NATO” offers a glimpse behind the headlines. It maps expert debates about the future of the alliance across and within NATO member states and identifies three alternative “futures” for the evolution of the alliance.


Past German-Russia relations have surely also been shaped by the relationship between both countries’ long-standing leaders. With Angela Merkel not running for election again and the upcoming Greens, how will a future German approach towards Russia look like? | Photo: flickr, Lord Jim | CC BY 2.0

Green is the New Black? What might the “Green” German foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia look like?

The election of a new German Chancellor to replace Angela Merkel after more than 15 years in office is eagerly anticipated both at home and abroad. However, anyone expecting a drastic change in German foreign policy towards Russia will be most likely disappointed. At present, most signs indicate that relations between both countries will remain frosty or even deteriorate post-election, regardless of who ultimately prevails in the voters‘ preference. However, one uncertain variable in this otherwise predictable equation is the possible role played by the Green Party in shifting the country’s international course, as it most likely will become a part of a new German government after the election.


A fighter jet of the Russian Aerospace Forces accompanied the Presidential aircraft en route to the Syrian Arab Republic in January 2020. | Photo: Kremlin. | Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Counter-Terrorism for Peace – Syria between the Russian-Led Coercive Peace and the United States’ Withdrawal

After the fifth round of the UN-led Constitutional Committee for Syria in January 2021, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pederson, eventually announced that they failed to draft a new charter for the Syrian constitution. Further UN-led negotiations were postponed after the Russian-led meeting in Sochi which took place on February 16 and 17. This blog presents the latest developments of the parallel processes of peace talks for Syria, arguing that the United States’ uncertainty in the region is leading to more success of the Russian-led Astana format. This comes not only at the cost of UN-led engagement in Syria but also risks the lives of the population in Idlib as regional counter-terrorism plans are a central issue in the current peace talks.


Der New START Vertrag begrenzt die Zahl der Trägersysteme für strategische Nuklearwaffen. | Photo: flickr, Eric Constantineau | CC BY-NC 2.0

Bloß Neustart oder Renaissance nuklearer Abrüstung? New START um fünf Jahre verlängert

Die Verlängerung von New START ist gesichert. Damit ist die seit zwei Jahrzehnten fortschreitende Auflösung zahlreicher Rüstungskontrollabkommen vorerst gestoppt. Es ist noch lange keine Renaissance der nuklearen Abrüstung. Hierzu müssen die Risiken nuklearer Eskalation minimiert und sub-strategische Nuklearwaffen in den Blick genommen werden. Es braucht außerdem die Einbindung Chinas und ein Upgrade der bilateralen Rüstungskontrolle auf die multilaterale Ebene. Wie kann das gelingen?


The New START Treaty limits the number of delivery systems for strategic nuclear weapons. | Photo: flickr, Eric Constantineau | CC BY-NC 2.0

A renaissance of nuclear disarmament, or merely a new start? New START extended for five years

New START will be extended for five more years. This means that the unraveling of numerous arms control agreements, which has been progressing for two decades, has been halted for the time being. We are still far from a renaissance of nuclear disarmament. For this to happen, the risks of nuclear escalation must be minimized and sub-strategic nuclear weapons must be addressed. It also requires engaging China and upgrading bilateral arms control to the multilateral level. How can this succeed?


The President of the Republic of Moldova Maia Sandu during her official visit to Kyiv, January 12, 2020.
The President of the Republic of Moldova Maia Sandu during her official visit to Kyiv, January 12, 2020. | Photo: President of Ukraine | CC BY 4.0

Breaking the vicious circle: Can the new Moldovan president Sandu succeed in balancing relations with the EU and Russia?

For the first time in its history, the Republic of Moldova has voted for an openly pro-Western president. De­spite facing domestic and international difficulties, the newly elected Moldovan head of state Maia Sandu could manage to solve dire economic problems at home, while securing the support of both Russia and the European Union. This could have longstanding consequences for both the country itself and for all the other states of the common EU-Russian neighborhood.


Mayraberd or Askeran Fortress in Nagorno-Karabakh
The renewed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is a combination of external and internal factors – with Armenia’s leadership wanting to appear more nationalistic being one of the latter | Foto: Flickr, Adam Jones | CC BY-SA 2.0

Nagorno-Karabakh: Why did the Second Armenia-Azerbaijan War Start?

The “frozen” Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan existed for 26 years being neither at war nor at peace, with no diplomatic relations. What has changed over the past years so that a new all-out war erupted unexpectedly between the conflict parties in late September: military balance, geopolitical balance – or what else?


Russia’s interest in this year’s US presidential elections seems to be low. | Photo: Unsplash/rob walsh | Free use

This time, Russia сould not care less

“Russian interference” became a buzzword in the 2016 US presidential election and throughout the four years of Trump’s presidency. In the run up to the 2020 election, purported or real threats from Moscow have been called out again, both by serious reports and rather questionable campaigns like a (privately funded) billboard in New York that – in reference to Trump’s alleged collusion with the Kremlin – warned that “Russian lessons are expensive”. In contrast to this preoccupation with Russia, the debate or rather the absence of debate in Moscow indicates a lack of interest in the US elections and points to the fact that Russian expectations are low.