It is a great pleasure to hear on the German media Rüdiger von Fritsch – German ambassador to Moscow between 2014 and 2019. A man who worked for more than 40 years in continuous diplomatic service with and around the USSR and Russia, knows Putin personally and all the key figures of the Russian government. In an interview, he shared that in the middle of 2000, Putin and his clique ruled Russia within the framework of an unwritten but strictly observed social contract – Putin and the oligarchs run their own business and political games, guaranteeing ordinary people relative peace, stability, non-involvement with problems in the framework of government and freedom of movement in and out of Russia, as the rule is that none of the parties are confused with the other (oppositionists are “confused”). At the moment, partial mobilization, according to von Fritsch, represents a very sharp violation of this social contract, which will inevitably meet resistance – it is not a question of lack of patriotism, but of “you do your thing, we do ours”, i.e. rather a deal. Later in the conversation, he notes that Putin will try to drag out the military actions as much as possible to “screw” the EU in order to deepen the economic consequences of the lack of gas and energy carriers. Von Fritsch also commented on the risk of nuclear weapons – according to him, Russia’s nuclear doctrine does not envisage the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the context of a conflict like the Ukrainian one, and he also spoke about more than 75% of Russian society, which is worried about the Third World War and expansion of nuclear conflict by not supporting it. Also India and China in a diplomatic context have made it very clear that they will not approve of such a move. At first glance, these are not particularly new, but when they come from such a reliable source, we can trust them.
Postscript: in another interview, von Fritsch, personally involved in the negotiations on the reunification of the two Germanys, notes that in his time there were never any agreements on the non-enlargement of NATO to Russia, simply because the USSR and the Warsaw Pact still existed at the time. What was involved was emergency financial aid from West Germany to the USSR because the Union was on the verge of financial collapse. Later, no commitments were made in this direction either.