It cost much effort two years ago for the chancellor Angela Merkel to force German business to put up with the political decision about Germany’s involvement in sanctions against Russia.
Russia was in fact an important trade partner for Germany. The total business volume between two countries by the year 2014 reached nearly 80 billion US dollars. German business gave over persisting when the fallen oil prices crushed the Russian rubble and purchasing ability of the customers in the Russian Federation.
German manufacturers realized that the Russian market undergoes a crisis and it is not worth clinging to it, especially given the fact that fallen euro sharply stirred up the interest to the German goods at the global market. For the total volume of German export above 1 trillion US dollars, reduction of supply in Russia by tens of milliards did not throw a monkey-wrench in the machinery.
Russian part in its turn experienced the effect of sanctions as it still critically depends on Western technologies and components, particularly German ones, against the backdrop of the clearly unsustainable plan of notorious import substitution initiated by Kremlin in response to the total prohibition of supply of military and double-purpose goods in the Russian Federation.
Russian defence sphere has significantly suffered following the military and trade embargo, which is the part of the extensive economic sanctions, introduced by the West in response to the Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine and actively searches for sanction bypass paths.
However, there is a range of German companies continuing to cooperate with strategic enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex despite of introduced restrictions. The example is Daimler, which had been protracting multi-faceted cooperation with KAMAZ (makes part of the SE “Rostech”) up to the March 2016, when the construction of the plant for cabin co-production was set up in Naberezhnye Chelny (Tatarstan). In his inaugural speech Sergey Kogogin, CEO of KAMAZ, declared as follows: “Establishing a cabin manufacture joint venture shall become the next step in extending cooperation with German concern. KAMAZ implements the SE ‘Rostech’ strategy for procurement of ‘smart’ capital enabling to acquire necessary competences and gain an access to the new markets and provide additional financing.”
In this respect it should be noted that the Russian strategic corporation KAMAZ and other military manufacturers take a special place in Vladimir Putin’s policy. As far back as the best years of high oil prices and abundance of financial resources in the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin set a task to accelerate the modernization of the Russian army and military industry. Anatoliy Serdyukov, Minister of Defence at the time, had initiated far-reaching military reforms that were partly implemented. However, his activity was followed by the solid trail of corruption scandals and as a result led to resignation.
Certainly, there was absolutely reasonable and sound awareness of the Russian governance about desperate retardation of domestic military technologies and demand for direct injections of foreign know-how, technologies or manufacturing batches of finished products for the Russian army and defence industry. Just the same thing happened in the Soviet period in 20-30s, when Bolsheviks bought up all available products, samples and documentation. And cooperation with Germany in the days of Weimar Republic and even Hitler’s Germany was particularly close.
The Putin`s governance was not an exception. Contrary to the Soviet government, the political elite of the new Russia changed their vehicles for the German executive cars without further ado. Putin also desired the Russian army and industry to obtain Western technologies, particularly the latest samples of German military equipment, including centres for military training, which had to be built by the German contractor on a turnkey basis.
However, the Crimean gamble and later military aggression in Ukrainian Donbass shot down the program of military technologies importation, particularly from Germany, due to imposed Western sanctions. However, jointly with KAMAZ, which is the principal supplier of military trucks, Daimler insistently cherishes an idea about finding a loophole in sanction procedures.
Obviously, Daimler finds the trucks the most harmless gear in Putin`s armoury. The trucks don’t fire, explode or kill. Therefore it’s not a huge deal to supply such goods to the Putin’s army.
Probably, Daimler doesn’t take into account the fact that bombs and shells which today kill civilians in Syria and Donbass and previously killed them in Georgia are transported in KAMAZ trucks. These cars form the fundament of combat service support of the the Russian army lack of which will affect the warfighting as a whole including potential aggression of the Russian Federation, particularly against NATO member-states in the Baltics.
Today response to the production of Russian KAMAZ is especially painful in Ukraine and Syria, as its trucks carry death to their citizens. Despite of the peaceful agreements signed in Minsk, the Russian military governance continue using KAMAZes disguising them as humanitarian escorts to transport weapon and armament in Ukraine for separatist and regular Russian army units, which located there under cover.
Currently it becomes clear that supply of the Russian military equipment in Syria constitute a direct threat to the safety of Germany. The Russia’s support of the agonizing regime of Bashar Asad who continues the dragged-out war against his people a great part of which (more than a million of the locals) has already moved in Europe and the very Germany is performed particularly through supplies of KAMAZ factory products.
For this reason in the current situation Daimler’s attempts to adjust supplies of its technologies to the Russian army are not only immoral but also constitute an indirect threat to the safety of Europe and Germany in particular, where Putin’s and Asad’s regimes sent their terrorists along with the stream of refugees.
Not too long age being light-hearted and peaceful, Europe is now spending billions of euro monthly to overcome migration crisis spawned from outside as well as growing terrorist threat (terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and Germany). Moscow in its turn uses the situation in its interests.
It is an open secret that Kremlin is seeking to quit the rogue-states camp and return to the club of civilized states. For this purpose, Moscow tries to zero out the mistakes and achieve return to civilization through “peace enforcement” – a “hybrid war” the front of which has been relocated to Europe after having been infolded in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014.
Besides it, Kremlin actively exploits the refugee factor and terrorist attacks in Europe to undermine the positions of the Heads of the leading EU-states (Germany and France) with further view to their replacement by those more loyal to Moscow.