Franz Wiese (AfD) criticised in the Brandenburg parliament the anti-Russian sanction politics. Here is the video and the English translation:
In response to the crisis in Ukraine and the unification of Crimea with the Russian Federation in 2014, the European Union has adopted economic sanctions. These sanctions were renewed on June 17, by one year.
The “restrictive measures”, as they are called by officials, include bans on import of goods and investments in Crimea. In addition, the export of certain goods and technology in the fields of transport, telecommunication and energy, and especially in the field of oil and gas production, is prohibited.
As a reaction, an import ban on agricultural products and foodstuffs from the European Union has been imposed by the Russian Federation.
I do not want to debate now whether the actions of the Russian Federation in the course of Ukraine crisis was correct, because then you would have to talk about the behavior of the so-called West.
AfD would not have requested a hearing related to sanctions if we were convinced of the purpose of the sanctions.
If we take a look into history, we must say that Western sanctions have never had the desired success. They have almost always achieved the opposite and often caused human suffering.
In 1959 the United States imposed an embargo on Cuba with the aim to overthrow Fidel Castro. The result was a deterioration in the food and health situation of the Cubans while Fidel Castro still lives to this day as a retired revolutionary.
In 1990 during the second Gulf War, a total embargo was imposed on Iraq. Saddam Hussein still remained in power until 2003 while hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died as a result of malnutrition and lack of medical care.
Some see in the sanctions the brutalization of Iraqi society and the roots of the IS and the refugee problem.
The sanctions against the Russian Federation have by far not had such a dramatic impact. Nevertheless, I have deliberately chosen these two dramatic examples, because they represent the meaning of sanctions in principle.
What have the sanctions against the Russian Federation achieved so far? None of what they should achieve.
Crimea is still part of the Russian Federation and will remain so. It is utopian to believe that this situation will change by the sanctions.
The only success of the sanctions was a deterioration in diplomatic relations.
Until recently, I thought that good relations with our European neighbors are Germany’s political objective. But I was wrong. This federal government seems not only to have deteriorated the diplomatic and economic relations with Russia; no, it deliberately destroyed relations.
It is about time that the state government is active and urges the federal government to end this harmful policy.
According to a recent survey, a vast majority of Germans see that as well. 88% of Germans want dialogue with Russia and not a spiral of sanctions.
Here is a state government that boasts good relations with Russia. Prime Minister Woidke make the Chancellor realize that these sanctions are not only useless but also harmful.
Why does one drive with 13 companies, six research institutes to the German Week in St. Petersburg?
Why does one look explicitly after economic relations?
So that the Chancellor nullifies all these efforts?
No. Certainly not.
End of May this year events took place in Potsdam. The targets were to seek conflict solutions and to enable a constructive dialogue.
Also, the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier made a speech there.
He said: “for me, penalties are never the means of choice. The threat of sanctions and counter-sanctions, spiral of escalation is obvious.
Sanctions are not an end in itself. And sanctions are certainly not means to force another partner to its knees. No one can have an interest that Russia is economically ruined. That would certainly not contribute to a more secure Europe.”
Markov, the former Minister for Europe, rejected the imposed sanctions against Russia as well.
Markov: “it is not an instrument which could solve problems. Russia is a very important partner for us.”
I can only say: full approval.
I must add to this point that also the German and Brandenburg economy suffer significantly.
And what does our federal government do?
It extends the sanctions.
And here I have a problem in understanding.
The Russia-sanctions are since 2014. The political success was nil. Even the reason for the sanctions is more than questionable.
The unification of Crimea with the Russian Federation was a direct result of a referendum in March 2014. To date, the federal government refuses to recognize the referendum. I think this is an absurdity. The referendum in Crimea was also accompanied by observers from several EU countries. None of these witnesses questioned the procedure of the referendum. But we know the following at least since the Austrian presidential elections and the Brexit referendum: the federal government has apparently a big problem with direct democracy. They are afraid of its own citizens.
No wonder, then, that Berlin and Brussels also refuse to recognize the Crimean referendum. But that this political activism goes so far that our economy suffers, is shameful.
And also in eastern Ukraine there is no solution in sight.
What were the economic successes, or rather failures, of the sanctions policy?
Both sides have suffered billions in losses. In Brandenburg alone some 550 companies were affected. The Brandenburg exports to Russia have decreased from 305 million to 205 million euros. Particularly affected is agriculture which in the context of milk price disaster lost an important sales market. While in Russia they replace imports with their own products.
The sanctions have until now missed all policy objectives and they will not reach them. They have caused great economic damage to the local economy. They have damaged the relationship with Russia. They contradict the idea of international relations. They contradict the objectives of the state government and what the Foreign Minister said.
Incidentally, the German policy of sanctions is perceived in Russia with astonishment. The head of the “Russian Institute of Strategic Studies”, Dr. Leonid Reschentikow, expressed recently on the website of the Berlin-based “German Center for Eurasian Studies” the following: “In general, everything that happens in Germany’s policy towards Russia, is just surprising. In our opinion, in the last 15 years, German businesses had obtained a tremendous opportunity to work in Russia, and now they almost themselves have abandoned these opportunities. Promoting sanctions against Russia brings disadvantages only. The actions by the German politicians are questionable in terms of their ability to think and act by themselves.”
I therefore urge you: make them sit down in the federal government for a swift end to the sanctions.