Angela Merkel meets Vladimir Putin for the last time, at the end of an era

Angela Merkel meets Vladimir Putin for the last time, at the end of an era


Chancellor Angela Merkel started talks with President Vladimir Putin on Friday in a historic meeting that marks the end of an era. This is Merkel’s last visit to Russia as Chancellor.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel started talks with President Vladimir Putin on Friday in a historic meeting that marks the end of an era. This is Merkel’s last visit to Russia as Chancellor.

She will step down after the elections this September.

The meeting marks the end of an era when Merkel from the GDR met Putin, who was stationed in Dresden during his time as a KGB agent. Both Merkel and Putin are fluent in each other’s language.

Putin is the only G-20 leader who still exists since Merkel took Germany’s top position.

The Russian leader has been described as arrogant and charming by enemies and fans alike.

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Relations between two of Europe’s longest-serving heads of state and government deteriorated in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, leading to widespread condemnations and sanctions from the West.

The talks on Friday coincide with the first anniversary of the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, an incident that put a heavy strain on relations between Russia and Germany.

Putin handed Merkel flowers before the talks and said he expected a substantial meeting, even though it was a “farewell visit”.

Merkel said the two had disagreements, but it was important to talk. She said she wanted to discuss Afghanistan, as well as the situation in Russia, with civil society and non-governmental organizations, some of which have been banned from pre-election procedures.

A press conference is expected around 1300 GMT.

The anniversary of the poisoning of Navalny, Putin’s most vocal domestic critic, is likely to be capitalized in their talks.

Navalny was flown to Germany last year after being poisoned with a military nerve gas suspected by the West. Moscow rejects this and claims a Western smear campaign. Navalny was jailed while flying back to Russia.

In an anniversary letter published in three European newspapers on Friday, Navalny urged the West to do more against corruption in countries like Russia.

(With contributions from agencies)

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