The Roots of Germany's Russia Policy

Christopher S. Chivvis, Thomas Rid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


In the aftermath of the Cold War, many American observers expected that the new Germany would more or less follow in the strong Atlanticist tradition of the old West Germany and its Conservative leadership in particular. A rejuvenated, reunited Germany is now seeking a more prominent role in international affairs, but its foreign policy is evolving away from the staunch Atlanticism that predominated during the Cold War. Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany unquestionably sees the United States as a crucial ally, but also sees Russia as an inevitable partner for the stability of the European order. The bottom line for most German leaders is that the isolation of Russia is unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs. It would deprive the West of its few remaining economic levers over Russian policy and leave Europe and the United States with only cruder means of influencing Russian behaviour. Meanwhile, Russian nationalism and even militarism could accelerate. The sense that Germany has become Russia's last strong link with the West only intensifies German concern, driving German leaders to redouble their efforts to maintain good relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-122
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


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