AfD Delegation meets with Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov
A delegation of Germany’s AfD met the Russian Foreign Minister in Moscow. The party continues to establish its relationship with the Kremlin.
During a visit by two AfD politicians to Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised the party’s role in “maintaining” German-Russian relations. It was imperative to develop contacts with those who want to “overcome the existing problems,” Lavrov said on Tuesday at a meeting with AfD co-chair Tino Chrupalla and parliamentary group vice-chair Armin-Paul Hampel, the AfD’s foreign policy spokesman.
The AfD is resolutely in favor of lifting the EU sanctions against Russia, which, according to Chrupalla, had harmed both sides. Previously, party politicians had visited the annexed Ukrainian Crimea and Moscow’s “People’s Republics” in eastern Ukraine without obtaining permission from the Kyiv government.
Lavrov said that a “hysterical discussion” had transpired in Germany over the visit that the “official Berlin” sought to prevent.
The two AfD politicians traveled to Moscow at the invitation of the Duma, the Russian lower house. A reception for members of the Bundestag by the Foreign Minister is unusual and, from Moscow’s point of view, a promotion.
In February 2017, then AfD chair, Frauke Petry was received by Duma spokesman Wjatscheslaw.
Three years later, Lavrov’s presence is a testimony of the increased importance of the AfD, which has been the third strongest party in the German Bundestag since 2017. Moreover, Moscow appreciates statements from the AfD such as that the US could be behind the poisoning of the oppositionist Alexei Navalny.
The attack in August with the Novichok agent further clouded relations between Berlin and Moscow. The Kremlin has reportedly been furious that Chancellor Angela Merkel legitimized the regime critic Navalnyj by visiting his hospital bed in Berlin.
Lavrov now complained in the presence of Chrupalla and Hampel that “official persons of Berlin” would instead meet “non-systemic” opposition members than representatives of the opposition parties represented in the Duma. However, due to their loyalty to the Kremlin, these are considered to be a sham opposition.
Moscow, which sees itself threatened by “color revolutions” allegedly orchestrated by Western states, is for its part cooperating with opposition forces in the West. “Our Western colleagues always meet with the opposition,” Lavrov said in mid-October. “A few years ago,” it was therefore decided “that we will work with the opposition” and “without regard to those who try to criticize us.”
For example, Moscow stood up for Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election in 2017, while Putin received the right-wing populist in the Kremlin.
(Image: Außenministerium Russland)