The German business community continues to maintain good relations with their Russian counterparts in spite of a European mainstream political line that remains confused about its position on sanctions while remaining ideologically opposed to Russia, even though Russia has no ideological view on Europe. To Russia, Europe is just one of many world markets. The dynamic German business community also tends to take a pragmatic line on Russia, one that is often lost on their political leaders.
The German company Siemens has been embroiled in a dispute, more accurately called a headache over the fact that Russia purchased gas turbines from Siemens that were later installed (surprise, surprise) in Russia!
But because the part of Russia in which the turbines were installed was Crimea, the EU started shouting about Siemens violating the EU’s sanctions against doing business in Crimea, something which Russia correctly states is a violation of international commercial law.
Today, the CEO of Siemens, Joe Kaeser, issued a robust defence of the importance of doing business with Russia.
“It would be incorrect to be suspicious about the country on the whole, the country where we have many loyal, reliable and key clients, such as Gazprom, Novatek, the Russian Railways and others. It is necessary to keep restraint in this situation, this is what we are doing and will do in the future”.
This comes as Angela Merkel’s popularity continues to plunge with Sputnik reporting a 10 point drop in popularity which still puts her at 59%, ahead of her closest opposition rival Martin Schulz.
While the political situation in Germany appears to be stagnating with an unpopular incumbent competing with an even less popular rival who has been a part of the EU establishment for decades, there is a possibility that the business community which is generally supported by both major German parties, may be able to galvanise public opinion more than political leaders who already have less credibility in Germany than many business leaders.
German public opinion is already less Russophobic than many of the populations in the comparatively economically retarded and stagnated countries of eastern Europe. Therefore, German businesses ought to use their political capital to end the EU’s sanctions against Russia in what would clearly be for the economic benefit of both Germany and eastern Europe. For Russia, there are plenty of business opportunities elsewhere, including domestically.