AfD lawmakers called on the German government to end Russian sanctions on Thursday, arguing that they’ve failed to “increase domestic pressure on the Russian government” and have only increased the popularity of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In the same motion, the Bundestag’s AfD faction also described the measures taken against Crimea as “counterproductive”, and have worked only to “cement” the peninsula’s “factual affiliation” with Russia, Junge Freiheit reports.
In contrast with Germany’s current policy, the populist party thinks that a “constructive approach” would be to increase “trade relations with Russia”.
Russian sanctions have had a particularly negative impact on the German economy.
“Estimates assume that the EU sanctions against Russia and the resulting counter-sanctions have inflicted billions of dollars worth of damage on the German economy and cost tens of thousands of jobs,” AfD MPs have complained.
Political damage has occurred as well. Up until recently, Germany had enjoyed a good reputation in Russia. However, in recent years, all of that has changed due to the sanctions the Federal Government has imposed against the Russian Federation.
“It is all the more important to focus on cooperation instead of confrontation,” AfD lawmakers argued.
A study that was carried out by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy two years ago revealed that that sanctions against Moscow have inflicted more damage on the German economy than other countries.
The study noted that Germany saw “nearly 40 percent of lost trade, while other large geopolitical players such as the United Kingdom (7.9 percent), France (4.1 percent) and the United States (0.6 percent).”
Following Russia’s democratic referendum on Crimea where the peninsula’s population overwhelmingly voted to join the Russian Federation, 37 countries, including all EU member states and the US, levied sanctions against the Russian Federation in 2014.
Since then, sanctions have been expanded to penalize several Russian banks and industrial groups.