Home World News Developed Economies New Left-Wing Party in Germany demands end to Russian Sanctions

New Left-Wing Party in Germany demands end to Russian Sanctions

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The Alliance Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW), a new left-wing party in Germany, will campaign for an economic rapprochement with Russia, BSW foreign affairs expert Sevim Dagdelen said on Friday.

The party, a split-off from the existing left-wing Die Linke (or the Left Party), was launched in October by Sahra Wagenknecht, a member of the lower house of the German Parliament (Bundestag), after her own name. It aims to complete its formalities in January and rejects the “economic war, the stupid energy sanctions against Russia,” Dagdelen told public broadcaster ZDF. Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict last year, the European Union (EU) imposed heavy sanctions on Russia, affecting both members of the government and individuals. Foreign trade with Russia was severely restricted.

According to the European Council, a total of 321.5 billion euros (356.9 billion U.S. dollars) in assets in the EU and the Group of Seven countries have been frozen or blocked. The value of goods traded with Russia subject to sanctions amounted to around 135 billion euros. Germany’s monthly exports to Russia have meanwhile dwindled to only 0.8 billion euros in November, according to preliminary figures by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). Since February 2022, Russia plummeted from fifth to 16th place as Germany’s most important export market outside the EU.

Wagenknecht has been one of the most prominent critics of the West’s strategy in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “The Russians were ready to end the war in spring 2022 when it had barely begun, if Ukraine had committed to not joining NATO,” she said in her latest video on YouTube. “In this war, people are fighting and dying for NATO,” Wagenknecht stressed. “For the United States to be able to set up military bases and missile bases on Ukrainian territory at some point. That’s what it’s all about.” Although a large majority of Germans are in favor of sanctions against Russia, almost three out of four believe that the frozen trade relations are harming Germany’s economy more than Russia’s, a survey by the German Economic Institute found earlier this year.

In February, Wagenknecht and feminist Alice Schwarzer published a manifesto calling for an end to Western arms supplies to Ukraine. “Negotiating does not mean capitulating. Negotiating means making compromises, on both sides,” it said. So far, more than 900,000 people have signed the document. Alongside Wagenknecht’s BSW and parts of her former party Die Linke, the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) is also speaking out loudly against the sanctions on Russia. “Europe, and Germany in particular, are at risk of being crushed between these major powers,” said AfD leader Alice Weidel in a recent interview, calling for a “responsible government to take countermeasures in order to represent the interests of our country.”

The Ukraine crisis will “not be ended by force of arms,” Weidel stressed. Instead of further escalations towards a third world war, the international community should “work more intensively for peace negotiations.” In initial polls shortly after the foundation of the BSW was announced, it received 12 percent of votes, fueled by inflows from the Left Party and AfD. However, election experts now see a significantly lower electoral potential of only 1 to 3 percent, not enough to reach the required 5 percent hurdle to enter the Bundestag. (1 euro = 1.11 U.S. dollar).

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