Europe’s Incorrect Policy towards Russia According to the Article by Erhard Eppler
Manfred Brockmann is writing this article because he knows that Erhard Eppler was the top politican of the 70’s and 80’s . Erhard Eppler is 90 years old and Manfred Brockmann will be 80 shortly.
Manfred Brockmann has been working in Vladivostok, Russia since 1992 and has been a permanent resident since 1993. He is living and working as a Lutheran pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Vladivostok. He is the Dean for the Lutheran Church in the Far East. He was the Honorary Consul for the Federal Republic of Germany from 1999-2006 and in 2014 he was awarded the Federal Service Cross. In addition to this, he has been honored by the City of Vladivostok and the State of Primoje.
I can fully agree with the article written by Erhard Eppler entitled “Europe’s Incorrect Policy towards Russia”. I also agree with him that there are two problem areas: 1) Ukraine, Europe and Russia and 2) Russia and Europe.
Addressing problem area 1:
A) It is very clear that a knowledgeable leader of such a large and important country as Russia can simply not allow its traditional foe, NATO, to move so close to the borders of the Ukraine. On this matter I am a resolute Putin supporter. If something like this would happen in the Baltic States it would be a completely different matter since the countries of the Baltic area have been a part of the European cultural circle for over 1000 years. But the Ukraine has never been European, but has belonged to the Russian Orthodox cultural circle for over 1000 years. The oldest city of Russia is Novgorod and the second oldest is Kiev.
B) In my opinion the incorrect political policies of Europe towards the Ukraine stem from an ignorance of the eastern Slavic psychological way of thinking. The people of this gigantic country of Russia and the Ukraine are completely different people from the people of Europe. I can say this without it sounding like discrimination, since I have been living in this country for 25 years and I love this country. In my opinion the Ukraine is not a dependable and solid partner with Europe. Examples of solid partners are Great Britain, Scandinavia, France, Germany, and also Poland, Czechoslovakia and Slovakia, who have been a part of the European cultural circle for 1000 years. Many of the people from the Ukraine who want a closer connection to Europe probably just want the possibility to immigrate to the West. I know what I am talking about here in Russia because for 25 years it has been a painful experience that our people are leaving us to go to the West. (See the article “Don’t Run Away! Stay” www.luthvostok.com Dec, 22.2015)
C) A third reason for a warning about the admission of the Ukraine into Europe is a glimpse into history. The reason for the First World War arose out of this situation: Austria/Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia after the murder of Heir to the Throne Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian nationalist; German Kaiser Wilhelm gave the crumbling Austrian/Hungarian empire a blank check: Whatever happens, we will support you! (Loyalty of the Nibelung) The country became recklessly opposed to Russia and everyone entered the war. It is a fundamental mistake to give a crumbling and corrupt state like the Ukraine a blank check that says “whatever happens, we will support you.”, because then the Ukraine will get “insolent” without the capability for individual responsibility.
D) A concluding thought: Why doesn’t the Ukraine in a spirit of détente give Russia the Eastern territories of Donezk and Lugansk? People there speak Russian. It is probably the case that they are thinking: “Whatever happens, the West will support us.”
Addressing problem area 2
A) In my opinion, I agree with the explanation by Eppler that the stabilizing actions by Putin are good and correct for Russia. “Putin has brought the country back to a functioning state”. I can confirm this because of living in this country for 25 years. This country is very difficult to govern because of its gigantic expanse and the “disorder” of its citizens, but Putin and his people have been able to do it, as much as it is possible to do. A near-chaos that existed during the confusion of the Yeltsin years would be dreadful. Because of this I am not only a Putin supporter, but also a Putin devotee.
B) A very important point: ONE MUST NOT ISOLATE RUSSIA, NOR MUST YOU HUMILIATE RUSSIA. If this happens they will avenge this with a fury. I want to point to an example from history: The Second World War came about because after the First World War, Germany was isolated and humiliated. This was the reason that Fascism arose. A person can not isolate or humiliate such important people as the Germans or the Russians. They will avenge themselves.
C) So, what do we do? We have to talk to Russia; to more precise, as we say here in Russia, it helps to love Russia. I can confirm this idea because of my experiences as a Pastor and Spiritual Advisor. It happens quite often that people here are disgustingly and horribly rude to each other and in each of their neighbors they see a possible enemy (a person can understand this because of their history). But if you take them by the arm, they quickly thaw and soon become a friend forever. I hope you allow me to digress for a bit. When I was studying theology in Tubingen, Professor Michel often said, “You have to love Israel, very much love Israel.” This is the way you have to treat the people of Israel, the Germans and the Russians, for they are, I find, the most interesting and the most difficult peoples in the world. Why? Because these three peoples have lived more difficult lives, lived deeper lives and suffered more than any other nations have.
D) To conclude, I quote Eppler: “Putin is a highly rational character...you can talk to Putin.” We have to do this and the more so, because Putin is a friend of Germany. He sent his children to a German school. He speaks fluent German and is on a first name basis with Angela Merkel, who also speaks fluent Russian. And we should not forget that the Russians treat us with respect and liking in spite of the two horrible wars between us. We Germans need to build on this and seek out conversation with the Russians. If this happens, things will get better.
Manfred Brockmann, Vladivostok, January 19, 2017.