Support 100 years of independent journalism.

Was Angela Merkel too easy on Russia?

The former German chancellor defends her policies towards Moscow, while Vladimir Putin compares himself to Peter the Great.

On 7 June, the former German chancellor Angela Merkel appeared at a speaking event at a Berlin theatre, to discuss how she has spent the past six months since leaving office and reflect on present politics. Jeremy Cliffe in Berlin joins Emily Tamkin and Katie Stallard in Washington DC to assess Merkel’s defiant stance on her policies towards Moscow and ask whether we should reappraise her international legacy. Could she have done more to prepare Germany, Ukraine and the rest of Europe for Russia’s invasion?

Meanwhile, in a speech in Moscow on 9 June, Vladimir Putin compared himself to Peter the Great and his leadership during Russia’s Great Northern War against Sweden. He claimed that the imperialist, who ruled tsarist Russia from 1682 to 1725, was “returning and reinforcing” Russian land, and “it fell to us to return and reinforce as well”. The team discuss this troubling historical comparison and why so many commentators appear reluctant to believe that Putin does not envisage a future for Ukraine as a sovereign state.

Then, in You Ask Us, a listener notes that unlike other networks Fox News did not air the first public hearing on the Capitol riot that shocked America and the world on 6 January 2021. The listener asked how concerned we should be that a major news network is helping to create an alternative reality for a significant portion of the US.

If you have a You Ask Us question for the international team, email

Podcast listeners can subscribe to the New Statesman for just £1 a week for 12 weeks using our special offer. Just visit

Further reading:

Jeremy Cliffe writes that Angela Merkel’s self-justification over Russia does not add up

Katie Stallard on Vladimir the Great

Content from our partners
Data on cloud will change the way you interact with the government
Defining a Kodak culture for the future
How do we restore trust in the public sector?
Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. Your new guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture each weekend - from the New Statesman. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

How to listen to the World Review podcast

1. In your browser

You can use the player above to listen in your browser right now. The World Review podcast publishes on Monday and Thursdays. All episodes are published to on the day of release.

2. In a podcast app

World Review is available on all major podcast apps including Apple PodcastsSpotifyAcastGoogle Podcasts, and more. Search “World Review” in your favourite podcast app, and subscribe or follow to make sure you receive episodes as soon as they publish. While you’re there, please leave a review for the podcast – it helps others find the show, which in turn makes it possible for us to keep making it.

3. On your smart speaker

If you have an Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod smart speaker, ask it to “play the latest episode of World Review”. The same command also works with virtual assistants on mobile devices.

[See also: Can Ukraine win the war with Russia?]

Topics in this article :