Why Germans Lose Trust in Media?
Natalia MEDEN | 24.12.2014 | FEATURED STORY

Why Germans Lose Trust in Media?

The Berlin’s effort to revive the Minsk talks by holding a meeting of three-party contact group on the settlement of the situation in Ukraine failed. Of course, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko listened to what German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had to say. He replied that a meeting of «key» importance for finding the final peaceful solution to the problem should take place soon. Then the Ukrainian President put down the receiver … to immediately call up the President of Belarus whom he invited to visit Kiev on December 21 - the very same date the three party meeting that never took place was scheduled on. Nursultan Nazarbaev, the President of Kazakhstan, was also invited to visit Kiev on December 22. It’s hard to avoid the impression that the Ukrainian President led the Germans by the nose having no intent to send a negotiation team to Minsk. 

In Warsaw Poroshenko did discuss the issue of holding a tripartite meeting in Minsk but the issues of arms supplies provided by Poland and the prospects for Ukraine’s NATO entry dominated the Ukraine-Poland summit agenda. Poland is open to hold talks with Ukraine regarding potential sales of arms, «I have never heard of any embargo on arms sales to Ukraine,» Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said at a joint press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko on December 17. Let’s assume that Poland does not care if the loans for arms deal will ever be repaid. Let’s suppose that Poland can allow itself the luxury of such largesse. No doubt the Polish President understands well what his Ukrainian counterpart wants the weapons for. The «peace plan» that Poroshenko promised during the election campaign brought great suffering to Ukrainian people – the death toll around 5 thousand and a great number of populated areas destroyed. The US-sent rations for military are stolen, the money provided by Europe has gone to fill somebody’s pockets – that’s how Ukraine fights corruption. Protests are taking place near the building of Ukrainian parliament. People want credits restructured as the currency rate changes. They want medicine which is impossible to buy as the shelves of pharmacies in Kiev are half empty, they want the government to take an action against the banks that refuse to repay deposits… Constant protests take place in Kiev’s bedroom communities left without hot water. During his sixth (in 2014) visit to Ukraine Frank-Walter Steinmeier met Foreign Minister Klimkin, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and President Poroshenko. He emphasized the importance of reaching an agreement on delivering humanitarian cargo to the eastern areas of Ukraine as winter approaches. (1) So what? The Dnepropetrovsk Oblast (region) does not let the humanitarian aid pass through its territory. The region is ruled by tycoon Igor Kolomoisky who does not believe that the orders coming from Kiev are obligatory and must be carried out. Actually the Ukrainian rulers don’t care about common people and Germans may be promised anything – the Ukraine’s government will do things its way. Rolling electricity black outs have started this autumn. In Kiev they occur in accordance with the schedule. It’s much worse in province – there black outs may last as long as 9 hours. 

It’s important for Americans not to let the events deviate from the scenario worked out in Washington. It is confirmed by the simultaneous visit to Ukraine paid by presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan. As soon as Chancellor Merkel mentioned the possibility of talks between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union including Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Poroshenko invited the Belarusian and Kazakh leaders to visit Kiev. Besides it’s a signal sent to Germans saying they should not go that far. 

While meeting Lukashenko and Nazarbaev the Ukrainian President talked with US Vice President Joe Biden. The statements made by some Ukrainian politicians provide a clue to the US strategy in Europe. For instance, Yatsenyuk said the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe is an obsolete institution that should be abolished. It was said on purpose to be heard in Berlin - Germany is to chair the OSCE in 2016. On October 1, the German cabinet agreed that Germany would apply for chairmanship of the OSCE in 2016. On this occasion Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on the candidacy in Berlin, «The OSCE has proved in the Ukraine crisis how important it is for a pan-European peace order. It is in our own best interests to strengthen the OSCE as a forum for dialogue, as a bridge between East and West, as an operative instrument for European crisis prevention, and as an institution that plays a concrete active role».  (2)

By and large Ukrainian politicians don’t care about the Germany’s vision of prospects for peaceful solution to Ukraine’s crisis. The only thing they want from the European Union is money. Some Germans realize that. «Kiev chooses a military solution… the United States is to deliver arms while Europe is to prevent the Ukraine’s bankruptcy», (3) one of Spiegel’s readers writes in his post. But German media prefers to keep mum about it. To avoid stories about Ukrainian politicians try to wheedle out credits and assume an offended air when refused. German media outlets avoid stories about the suffering of Ukrainians who live near the battle front. They avoid stories about the abrupt deterioration of living conditions in Ukraine. But one cannot hide an awl in a sack. As a result, Germans start to lose trust in their national media, especially when it comes to reporting on Ukraine. 

The attitude towards media splits over to the streets. Federal President Joachim Gauck is known for his anti-Russia rhetoric. On December 13, four thousand people staged an anti-war protest near his residence to be joined by demonstrators in Bochum, Heidelberg and Hamburg. Naturally, the «established» German media outlets shied away from mentioning the «minor» events. 

(1) Zeichen der Solidarität: Steinmeier in Kiew
(2) Deutschland bewirbt sich um OSZE-Vorsitz