When discussing the role of an individual in history, we inevitably face the issue of the scale he or she has among those determining the path of a specific state or group of countries at a particular historic period. It's one thing when NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urges the bloc to prepare for Russia's "aggressive actions" and boost military spending, which is many times higher than the defense budget of the Russian Federation as it is, but an entirely different thing are the problems of humanity that the Russian president touched upon in his Davos speech. Vladimir Putin spoke at this international economic forum for the first time in 12 years and focused on the most relevant global issues like social stratification, the threat of a "war of all against all", the risk of basic freedoms destruction, and the key priorities of human life.
Now, once again, the question is whether the Western leaders do perceive this, remaining at their sanctions impasse, from which they do not see or do not want to look for a way out. What will be the scale of their personality and the understanding of their own liability towards the history of mankind? The German NTV portal notes thereupon that in Davos, the Russian president has demonstrated his readiness to improve relations with Europe, called the current situation abnormal, and urged an honest dialogue between Russia and Europe to relieve tension between them. The German media quote our leader as saying that there is a need to "discard the phobias of the past" and enter a positive phase of relations, which both Russia and Europe are, in Putin's view, interested in.
However, the meeting of the EU foreign ministers held in Brussels earlier this week demonstrated, as the reputable Frankfuter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) states, that opinions about Russia are dispersed in no small way. It was about whether to impose new anti-Russian sanctions over the detention of Alexei Navalny, who returned to Moscow. Poland and Baltic states with a Soviet past habitually favored new sanctions. They were supported, for one, by Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu, who said the following ahead of the meeting: "We need to discuss and I think we will discuss the adoption of sanctions." In contrast to this opinion, Jean Asselborn from Luxembourg said: "We want to talk about cooperation with Russia, not sanctions." However, it is clear that it was primarily the balanced position of Germany, France and other countries that provided ground for FAZ to publish the article under the title "Too early for sanctions".
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said at the end of the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers that no state has yet initiated specific sanctions proposals against Russian representatives because of the Navalny case. On the forum sidelines, the diplomats noted that "there is no hurry, the day is young." It means that the West should see how the situation with Navalny will develop, how Josep Borrell's visit to Moscow scheduled for early February by invitation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will end, and what decisions will be taken in the second half of March during the next summit of EU heads of state and government. It's been announced by the way that the meeting will feature "strategic debate on relations with Russia".
It should be noted that most recently, on December 10 last year, the EU once again extended the anti-Russian sanctions dating back to 2014. So, it is safe to assume that Brussels is not going to quit its confrontation with our country, but is poised to take a break. It is conceivable that the same Germany and France decided to wait for the US decisions on Russia, so as not to ride past the hounds. Moreover, they are probably concerned about US sanctions against European companies that cooperate with our country. Will those be introduced by the new administration and how tough are they going to be, if any? This primarily concerns US actions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which should let Europe provide itself with alternative and more profitable natural gas supplies from Russia.
In comparison with the European concerns' billions of dollars in losses looming due to the possible suspension of Nord Stream 2 construction, the "Berlin patient" may not seem that much significant to Europe in the foreseeable future, with the current arguments for his alleged poisoning not plausible enough. It is apparently no accident that Berlin has yet to acquaint Moscow with a detailed medical assessment report from the Charite clinic, although it could have done this long ago, both through diplomatic channels and by organizing a "leak" to its own media, fundamentally free and democratic by all odds.