Germany's Russia problem

The struggle for balance in Europe

By John Lough

Germany's Russia problem
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  • Price: £12.99
  • ISBN: 9781526151506
  • Publish Date: Jul 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback -
  • Price: £12.99
  • ISBN: 9781526169235
  • Publish Date: Oct 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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  • ISBN: 9781526151490
  • Publish Date: Jun 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: Paperback
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6923-5
    • Pages: 304
    • Price: £12.99
    • Published Date: October 2022
    • Series: Russian Strategy and Power


    The relationship between Germany and Russia is Europe's most important link with the largest country on the continent. But despite Germany's unparalleled knowledge and historical experience, its policymakers struggle to accept that Moscow's efforts to rebalance Europe at the cost of the cohesion of the EU and NATO are an attack on Germany's core interests. This book explains the scale of the challenge facing Germany in managing relations with a changing Russia. It analyses how successive German governments from 1991 to 2014 misread Russian intentions, until Angela Merkel sharply recalibrated German and EU policy towards Moscow. The book also examines what lies behind efforts to revise Merkel's bold policy shift, including attitudes inherited from the GDR and the role of Russian influence channels in Germany.


    'I have found John Lough's Germany's Russia Problem an ideal book as we contemplate the source of energy we will draw on for heat and light in the decades ahead.'

    'Germany's Russia Problem astutely explores Germany's many centuries-old traumatic phobias, romantic fixations, rough disillusionments and incapacitating paralyses in its relations with Russia. It is a crisply and fairly written book vital to our understanding of the nature and progression of Germany's - and, with it, Europe's - Russia problem.'
    Andriy Tyushka, LSE Review of Books

    'The title of John Lough's book itself makes clear that this is not another academic sand box exercise. He wants to make things better.'
    Die Welt

    'John Lough has written a stimulating book rich in knowledge.'
    Frankfurter Allgemeine

    'In this trenchant analysis, John Lough traces three decades of what he views as highly consistent but ineffective German policy toward Russia informed by 'fear, sentimentality, ambivalence, economic complementarity, residual Ostpolitik reasoning and a sense of obligation to Moscow for allowing Germany to reunify.'

    'Suffused with nostalgia for the glory days of Ostpolitik, Germany's approach to Russia bogs down in what might more aptly be called Lost-politik. Cliches, wishful thinking and neuroses are its hallmarks. John Lough nails them all. With admirable clarity, fairness and insight, he lays bare the roots and results of Germany's failure to think strategically about Russia, and the price that everyone else pays as a result.'
    Edward Lucas, author of The New Cold War

    'Provocative and brilliantly written, this book examines the deep relationship between two mutually indispensable nations and explains how Russia triggers reflexes in Germany that distort its policy thinking and produce contradictory results. With courage, honesty and insight, John Lough navigates one of the most sensitive areas of global politics today and sees a crucial role for Germany in creating a transformative environment around Russia that can facilitate its return to Europe.'
    Lilia Shevtsova, author of Putin's Russia

    'John Lough's book is nuanced, astute and fair. That makes his account of how hope keeps triumphing over experience in Germany's Russia policy all the more devastating.'
    Constanze Stelzenmüller, Fritz Stern Chair, Brookings Institution


    1 The weight of history
    2 The development of German attitudes towards Russia
    3 The miracle of reunification
    4 A failure to read Russia correctly
    5 2014: abandonment of illusions
    6 An unfulfilled economic relationship
    7 Russian influence in Germany
    8 The outlook


    John Lough is an Associate Fellow of the Russia & Eurasia Programme at Chatham House (since 2009) and a regular commentator on Russian and Ukrainian affairs. He spent six years with NATO managing information programmes aimed at Central and Eastern Europe, including a posting to Moscow, where he set up NATO's Information Office in Russia and was the first Alliance official to be permanently based in the country. He runs his own consultancy business, advising clients on political and investment risk in Russia, Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union. He studied German and Russian literature at Cambridge University.

    Germany's Russia problem

    By John Lough

    Paperback £12.99 / $18.95

    Hardcover £20.00 / $29.95

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