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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 podcasts@newstatesman.co.uk

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Further reading:

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

Katie Stallard on Vladimir the Great

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