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Apr 20, 2022
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The fight with Russia could topple the German Chancellor

Pictured: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

In the photo: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Photo: DPA / TASS)

After Germany joins the anti-Russian sanctions, forecasts about the future of the German economy are becoming less rosy, Vice President of Deutsche Bank told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in an interview. Carl von Rohr. According to him, the inflation rate can reach 8%. And in the event of an embargo or partial restriction on the supply of Russian energy resources, the inflation rate may exceed 10%. At the same time, this forecast concerns the short-term perspective.

According to Bild am Sonntag, unprecedented price increases and turbulence in the economy have negatively affected the rating of the current chancellor Olaf Scholz. According to the publication, more than half of German residents negatively assess the work of the state apparatus.

At the same time, it is assumed that this is only the beginning of all the problems that will appear in the European economy as a whole in the near future. But Scholz did not work at his post even for a year. No one else had such an unprecedented decline in the rating in the first year of the chancellorship.

If the situation worsens, things may even come to the collapse of the coalition and re-elections. In this case, Scholz could become the first chancellor to retire since Willy Brandt.

And perhaps not only him. Ratings of the Prime Minister of Great Britain have seriously fallen Boris Johnson. The same situation may arise in other countries, to which anti-Russian sanctions will return like a boomerang…

In fact, Scholz’s predecessors also had serious rating drops, recalls Associate Professor of the Faculty of International Relations, Political Science and Foreign Regional Studies of the RSUH Vadim Trukhachev.

— For example, when the migration crisis of 2015-2016 happened, the rating Angela Merkel descended just as fast. Another thing is that this happened in the 11th year of the chancellorship, and not in the first months. For the first months of the analogue, of course, no.

“SP”: – According to Karl Rohr, in the event of an embargo or a partial restriction on the supply of energy resources from Russia, the inflation rate may exceed 10%. What is most interesting, the prediction of the vice president of the German bank was for the short term. How serious are these numbers for the German economy?

“These are very serious numbers. Germans are not used to double-digit inflation. At least since the change of the brand to the euro.

“SP”: – Ordinary Germans believe that Scholz is to blame for everything? How fair is it to think so?

– No, all the blame is not placed on him personally. Scholz in this case is not a person with a specific name and surname, but a function. The chancellor, personifying the entire three-party government, where the decisive word is by no means always left to the Social Democrats.

“SP”: – If Merkel had been in Scholz’s place, would everything have been the same? And now she would be booed just the same?

– Most likely, if the Christian Democrats were in power, even larger echelons would go to Ukraine. Military spending would have risen, and price increases could have been even higher.

“SP”: – Can further negative developments lead to the collapse of the coalition and the resignation of Scholz?

– The coalition is very unstable, and it is not at all a fact that it will last all four years. Today, however, its collapse would be considered a victory for Russia. And that is why Germany is not waiting for early elections in the near future.

“SP”: – And yet, what would the hypothetical re-elections change?

– The result of the “Alternative for Germany” and the Left Party would grow – two or three percent each. All the rest would have kept the same ratio, falling by about a couple of percent each. Perhaps the left-liberal Free Voters party would have reached the 5% barrier.

“SP”: – In your opinion, only German politicians experience such problems? In what countries can really come to a change of power?

– Now, an early change of power everywhere in Europe would be regarded as a “deflection” under Russia. Rather, we could talk about the Balkan countries like Bulgaria or Montenegro. At the same time, governments are more belligerent towards Russia than societies, almost everywhere.

– The figures announced by Karl von Rohr, of course, are not rosy, but against the background of other European countries, these figures are not so bad, – says Advisor to the President of the Russian Association for Baltic Studies Vsevolod Shimov.

— For example, in neighboring Poland this figure reached 11%. Things are no better in the Czech Republic. The examples go on. The European economy is sliding into recession, but Germany has a fairly high margin of safety. At the same time, the German man in the street, spoiled by a high standard of living and social well-being, may perceive the ongoing changes more painfully than they really are.

“SP”: – According to the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, more than half of the inhabitants of Germany negatively assesses the work of the state apparatus. It’s a lot? Is all the blame placed on Scholz personally?

– This is a lot, especially considering that Scholz has recently been in the chancellor’s chair. His personal anti-rating is 49%. At the same time, the anti-rating of the federal government is even higher – 55% of respondents are dissatisfied with it. It must be borne in mind that the government in Germany is coalition, and in his actions the chancellor is not free and is forced to look at his coalition partners. Therefore, in this case, it is rather a verdict of the coalition as a whole, rather than Scholz personally.

“SP”: – Have other chancellors ever had this? Especially in the first year…

– For comparison, Angela Merkel remained the most popular politician in Germany until the end of her reign. After such a long reign of the popular chancellor, it will be difficult for Scholz, especially since he is clearly not charismatic and as a public politician is very weak.

“SP”: – Does Scholz have a risk of becoming not only the most unpopular chancellor in recent years, but also the first to resign in many years?

– The lack of personal charisma, friction in the ruling coalition, the deterioration of the socio-economic situation – if all these factors add up in the right combination, then such a scenario cannot be ruled out for Scholz. However, you need to understand that the German socio-economic and political system has a fairly high margin of safety, so Scholz also has every chance to stay afloat. Much will depend on how the crisis around Ukraine develops and the sanctions war between Russia and the EU provoked by it.

“SP”: – At the same time, Scholz is spinning, does not go for tough sanctions against Russia and an embargo on energy carriers. Will people appreciate it? Or vice versa?

– Scholz’s task is to mitigate the consequences of the economic war unleashed against Russia as much as possible. Germany simply does not have the opportunity to quickly abandon Russian gas, especially if we remember that the Merkel government, under pressure from the Greens, actually killed the country’s nuclear energy, and the notorious “green” energy turned out to be a soap bubble.

At the same time, the pressure on Scholz is enormous. This is the American lobby, which is trying to “get” Germany on expensive liquefied gas, these are the same “Greens”, which not only force the chancellor to refuse Russian gas, but also push through their energy agenda, which is detrimental to the German economy. If Scholz persists, an information war will be unleashed against him, especially since he is already under constant fire for his supposedly “pro-Russian” position.

Therefore, Scholz has a bleak choice – to try to resist the American and “green” lobbyists, receiving blows in the information field, or to accept their agenda, but get a rather serious socio-political crisis. Obviously, now he is trying to balance between these two extremes.

“SP”: – If the political crisis reached the re-election, what could be the result?

– According to the latest sociological data, in the event of re-elections, all the main German parties would have received approximately the same result as now, plus or minus a few percent. The SPD would concede the palm to the CDU/CSU by a narrow margin. Therefore, the governing coalition would most likely have been different, with the CDU/CSU as the dominant party. If at the same time a Jamaica coalition (CDU plus the Greens, plus Free Democrats) arose, then for Russia it would be much worse than the current “traffic light” coalition, since the SPD is a party traditionally tuned to the most moderate and pragmatic course in relations with Moscow. Christian Democrats are much more inclined to play along with Russophobes from the Greens and Free Democrats.

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