SPD chairman: Klingbeil admits mistakes made by the SPD in Russia policy

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil has admitted several misjudgments by his party in Russia policy over the past few decades.

SPD chairman: Klingbeil admits mistakes made by the SPD in Russia policy

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil has admitted several misjudgments by his party in Russia policy over the past few decades. "When looking for common ground, we often overlooked what separated us. That was a mistake," said Klingbeil on Tuesday evening at a discussion event for his party in Berlin. After the end of the Cold War, the SPD believed that relations with Russia would simply get better and better. "This has created blind spots in our dealings with Russia. And that has led to mistakes in dealing with Russia."

Klingbeil advocated a fundamental change in attitude towards Russia. The statement that security and stability in Europe can only exist with and not against Russia is no longer valid. "Today it's about organizing security against Russia," said the SPD leader. "Russia has left the system of common security and common values. Our security must function without Russia."

Klingbeil: Change through rapprochement didn't work

In his speech, Klingbeil specifically named four misjudgments made by the SPD in the period after the end of the Cold War:

- People believed that history obliges both countries to each other. The SPD failed to recognize that Putin sees things differently and is using history for autocratic consolidation internally and his great power politics externally.

- The paradigm change through rapprochement did not work. Ever closer economic ties would not have contributed to a more stable European order.

- Germany has made itself dependent on Russia with its energy policy. "Such a one-sided dependency must never happen again."

- The interests of the Eastern and Central European partners had not been sufficiently taken into account. This led to a massive loss of trust.

There are certainly other mistakes that have been made, said Klingbeil. It is important to him to name them and to draw the right lessons for the future from them.

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