Upon arriving in the Kremlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel advocated dialogue with Russia despite their “deep differences”. But at the end of her meeting with President Vladimir Putin, on his last visit to Moscow before leaving power in the coming months, Merkel told reporters that she had asked the Russian head of state to release his opponent Alexei Navalny on the anniversary of his poisoning.
Once again I asked the Russian President to release Alexei Navalny [atualmente detido na Rússia] Merkel said at a joint press conference.
Putin rejected the appeal immediately. In response to Merkel, the Russian leader claimed that Alexei Navalny was arrested not “for his political activities” but for “a criminal offense with foreign accomplices”.
The case of Alexei Navalny, poisoned by the opponent and the West by Russian power, is a sensitive case in German-Russian relations.
Berlin took in Navalny when he was in a coma a year ago, and it was German army scientists who identified the toxin used, a neurotoxin developed by the Soviet-era military.
In January, after convalescing in Germany, Navalny returned to Russia and was immediately arrested.
Subsequently, he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison as part of a fraud, according to the Russian opponent, politically motivated.
Russian authorities have spent the past few months dismantling Navalny’s network ahead of legislative elections in September. Opposition organizations were classified as “extremist”; Internet sites linked to it are blocked; and his allies parole.
Navalny, an anti-corruption activist, is best known for his investigations into the lifestyle and financial malpractice of Russian economic elites, including Putin and his cronies.
Yesterday, Putin stressed that “the fight against corruption is very important” and that Russia will do “everything it can” to eradicate it. He stressed, however, that it “cannot be used for political purposes”.
In a message posted on social media, Navalny from prison thanked everyone who saved his life and said he would continue his struggle. In an article published in three European newspapers – British WatchmanAnd German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung eofscreaming the scientist – , Navalny criticized Western leaders for making anti-corruption a “secondary agenda” and said corruption plays a major role in political failures, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was precisely the fact that the West (ignoring) the systemic corruption in Afghanistan that made this the decisive factor in the Taliban victory, Navalny wrote.
Chat despite differences
As for Merkel, having laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, Putin himself greeted her in the Kremlin, who was waiting for her with a bouquet of flowers. “Although we have deep differences, we have spoken,” said Merkel, who had a complex and ambiguous relationship with the Russian president. It must remain so.
Merkel, who speaks Russian and was raised in East Germany, and Putin, who has spoken German since his years of service with the KGB in East Germany, have always claimed to have established a genuine working relationship despite their differences.
On this twentieth official trip to Russia, Merkel ended the relationship with the realization of failure on an issue identified as a priority: resolving the conflict between Russia and Ukraine impartially. Tomorrow, the German chancellor will travel to Kiev, where she will meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
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