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Merkel to Putin - Pussy Riot jail sentence unfair
Photo: DPA

Merkel to Putin - Pussy Riot jail sentence unfair

Published: 16 Nov 2012 16:06 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Nov 2012 16:06 GMT+01:00

Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the imprisonment of the protest band Pussy Riot during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Friday. Yet Siemens also signed a €2.5 billion deal with Russian state railway.

Merkel said the band's protest - singing anti-government songs in one of Moscow's main orthodox cathedrals - would spark "discussion" in Germany, but said, "In Germany you wouldn't then end up in a penal camp for two years."

Merkel also raised fundamental concerns about Putin's commitment to the rule of law and to freedom of expression in Russia. She said that there were a wide range of laws in the country where she "unable to see" what contribution they made to strengthening freedom of expression in the country.

Ahead of what might turn out to be an uncomfortable supper, Merkel also even appeared to offer Putin leadership advice of a more personal nature. She underlined the importance of getting used to dealing with criticism. "If I always got sulky straight away, then I wouldn't manage three days as Chancellor," she told him.

But Putin defended his actions, claiming the Pussy Riot group had exhibited anti-Semitic behaviour, which could not be tolerated - although this has not been substantiated by other sources.

Merkel said that a healthy relationship required constructive criticism, and that the two countries' friendship "won't be improved by brushing all this under the carpet and not discussing it".

Putin also claimed that he wanted "open discussion" despite "differences of opinion" between the two powers.

The meeting was Merkel's first visit to Russia since the beginning of Putin's controversial second term as President in May.

The Chancellor's strongly worded criticism of the regime follows growing unease within Germany at Russian domestic developments.

A resolution passed by the Bundestag on November 9 commissioned the Chancellor to raise concerns about the state of human rights at the conference. The report drew attention to what it termed "repressive tendencies" within the political system.

"Legal and judicial measures have been taken which in their totality aim at achieving a growing control over active citizens, and at the increasing criminalisation of critical engagement," it stated.

Others had sought to downplay German criticism of Putin in the run-up to the meeting. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle warned of the danger of "over-doing" criticism, emphasising that Germany and Russia still had many common interests. He argued that an excessively hostile stance from Germany could undermine co-operation.

But it seems that such fears were unfounded. Despite Merkel's unprecedented candid statements at the meeting, key deals were also signed by the accompanying delegation representing German business interests.

Siemens, the German engineering and electronics giant, reportedly signed a €2.5 billion deal with the Russian state railway RZD for the delivery of 695 electric locomotives. These will be built together with a Russian partner firm Sinara on location in Russia.

And there were also some reconciliatory moves on a political level: a new visa system is planned to encourage exchange between young people from both countries.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/pmw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:20 November 16, 2012 by sonriete
So she believes it should be criminal for a drunk to perform a Nazi salute on a street corner in Darmstadt but when one invades a house of worship, the main seat of the Church no less to perform profane songs in Moscow is should be tolerated.

Maybe heads of government should focus of freedom of expression issues in their own countries and avoids meddling in the affairs of others.

What is the benefit of these criticisms after all, he is obviously not going to listen.
17:48 November 16, 2012 by IchBinKönig
It is illegal for a Russian to talk to Foreigners, the old laws are back. Speaking badly about Putin in Russia is Blasphemy, you don't need to do it in a church.

Don't let the idiots here fool you, its not the Church they are defending, its the right of Totalitarians to lock up dissenters.
18:13 November 16, 2012 by Leo Strauss
pU.S.sy Riot, or, if you say it fast, Psy Riot. ;)

A band without music.
18:57 November 16, 2012 by IchBinKönig
Leo St.Ra.U.ss, or, if you say it fast enough, D Bag :)

A man without clue
19:03 November 16, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@ichBin

you are one to talk about free speach. You knock anybody down who does not agree with your distorted opinions. You are a totalitarian wannabe dressed up as a left/right wing clown.
20:31 November 16, 2012 by realist1961
Nearly 40,000 dead in Syria, and we're discussing Pussy Riot with the Russians?
23:14 November 16, 2012 by TheCrownPrince
Give credit where credit is due. She did well. I guess many others would have shied away from clear words and messages.
23:17 November 16, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Never thought I would see the day when the leader of Russia is talking about pussy to the leader of Germany.
23:39 November 16, 2012 by StoutViking
I guess the crisis is over, the Euro is saved, unemployment at all time low and all is quite on the eastern front...

...Or else I don't see why is madam Merkel giving Putin 2nd opinion gynecologic assessment.
23:46 November 16, 2012 by joysonabraham
As if nothing else going on in this world for two of the most powerful person,s with so much responsibilities, to talk about.

Merkel> Where are those pop singers

Putin> who

Merkel> The rioters

Putin> I heard they are in prison

Merkel> I heard the same too

Putin> I heard you planning to get a new puppy

Merkel> ja ja .. sort of

Putin> Go for an English one, never ever for a Russian one

Merkel> Why so!!

Putin> Oh they wont survive the German summer.

By evening someone in the TheLocal.de was able to pen one page about the rioters and gave it in bold :))
23:50 November 16, 2012 by sonriete
@Berlin fuer alles;

And what do you think Putin, Schroeder and Berlusconi ever talked about?
09:55 November 17, 2012 by PzPeiper
For gosh sake, why is it the damn business of Mrs. Merkel how Russia handles vermin who are so classless and tasteless as are the slags who were arrested and jailed? Doesn't the fatherland have enough problems with losing it's ancient culture and traditions and language (eventually) and problems of being overwhelmed by yet another foreign invasion by people who will never ever actually be German.
10:02 November 17, 2012 by lordkorner
But Putin defended his actions, claiming the Pussy Riot group had exhibited anti-Semitic behaviour, which could not be tolerated, ah yes, Putin, a well known lover of all things Jewish,
12:10 November 17, 2012 by smart2012
I am surprised that almost everyone missed the point that Verkel is visiting Russia cause Russia has a lot of money (hence big customer) and Germany owns tons of money to Russia (gas, russia huge supplier for germany) hence visit has nothing to do with pussy riots, pussy riot is just a topic for the press.

And yes, in germany we should talk about a crisis which is invading us (unexpectedly for Bild readers), not talk about something has nothing to do with us and plus which we have to accept anyway as Russia is one of our business safer..
12:29 November 17, 2012 by Leo Strauss
Af-Iraq-Libya-Syria-Iran-Russia/China

If you can`t see the connection between the Pussy Riot Psy-Op to discredit Putin and the ongoing NATO campaign then you must have your special edition Hello-Kitty Pussy Riot ski-mask on backwards. :)
14:09 November 17, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Is Putin saying his is that big? If so, what is Angie replying?
15:39 November 17, 2012 by hallopeople
What's the latest News of Bild "Smart " ? It seems you are an avid Reader of Bild. Who translate it for you? Google,Babylon ..... ?
16:15 November 17, 2012 by truth is treason
Gaza, Syria, Obama....... not mentioned, Pussy Riot and Siemens Contract (Jobs are not in Germany ) This is the way of the News Media more X-factor than reporting the facts and news
16:40 November 17, 2012 by chris berlin
smart2012, I have not read anywhere that the crisis is invading Germany. Of course there is a slow down of economic growth and even if there might be a slight decrease in the future (I find it strange anyway that economies have to grow all the time...) but as I read on bbc and in new york times there is no prospect that the employment market will be effected significantly. so you have to be more patient to say: I am right. Just for fun I just checked BILD: there is nothing about any crisis. you must know that BILD is like the British yellow press, they prefer to write about celebrities or scandals... people read it for amusement, not for information ;) and it is called BILD because there are pictures instead of text, so there is not much to read anyway ;)
19:05 November 17, 2012 by smart2012
Chris Berlin, of course Bild is not saying anything about crisis, Bild is building up German propaganda. U misunderstood me.

Second, main companies in Germany are starting to struggle, unemployment rate is growing, and companies started to talk about productivity and savings (if u r a manager u can easily understand what it means).

Plus 25% poverty and 400 euro job and contractor of subcontractor of subcontractor of subcontractors hiring people is not great right?

Germany is struggling and future is darker
20:49 November 17, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Too many chiefs, middle men and not enough indians willing to work for €400. Dr. Merkyl and Mr. Hyde is as I predicted flying in ever decreasing circles and is about to fly up her own ass.
02:35 November 18, 2012 by chris berlin
sorry, smart2012 and Berlin für alles, your negativity is not backed up by numbers, it seems to come from subjective opinions or by overvaluing punctual events.

By now only slight changes have happend, unemployment rate has not yet increased at all. And someone (only) having a 400Euro job is officially not seen as employed. And if you earn 400 Euros you will get the rent extra from the job center. Most people with 400 Euro jobs have a main job and earn sth. in addition to a part-time job or in addition to studying or in addition to the retirement. Many use it as an asset, it is not always desperation as you incline.

I have been to Portugal recently, there you see the crises. Cafes, restaurants, shops, all empty and dead, here in Berlin is see full cafes, restaurants and shops, hard to get a place... and I do not anyone who lost his job, so there is nothing to see, feel... it is just fear of you guys... though it might come, but it is not here yet.
09:26 November 18, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@chris berlin

Where are your numbers and facts to back this up? Also comparing the capital of Germany with Portugal is not a proper comparison. By the way I see plenty of empty cafes in Berlin also. And if you travel to the smaller towns and cities in Germany you will see plenty more empty ones.

The national average gross income for industry, commerce, banking and insurance industry jobs is gradually falling. This is according to DeStat. https://www.destatis.de/DE/PresseService/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/2012/11/PD12_398_45213.html
12:59 November 18, 2012 by raandy
Mrs Merkel stated her opinion, I agree with her that the punishment does not fit the crime.

However, those Pussies should have seen it coming.
13:31 November 18, 2012 by jg.
IIRC, the three people who disrupted a service in Cologne cathedral (in support of Pussy Riot) now face charges which carry a sentence of up to 3 years in prison. As Merkel apparently expects Putin to interfere in the Russian judicial system, is she planning to the do the same in this case in Germany?
14:06 November 18, 2012 by Leo Strauss
@jg.

For real? The hypocrisy is stunning. But what can one expect from a N.E.D. Psy-Op? Nadeschda Tolokonnikova, the face of the "band" Pussy Riot (again, a band without any music), was trained up in Canada for her mission and is ready to return to her adopted country as a hero when this charade has run its course. She already had been granted permanent resident status in Canada before her little show in Moscow.

Maybe the Merkelschen can join her after she implodes the German economy.

Now back to your regular programming...
16:09 November 18, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Berlin fuer alles #23

Are you sure you gave the correct link? The press release you pointed to shows that the sales in the hospitality industry are slowly increasing (on an average). Probably the most relevant figures are the ones from the last table, because they are seasonally adjusted. September 2011 was at 90.3%, September 2012 was at 91.6% (in real prices, not nominal; both percentages apply to the same reference period). So it is exactly the opposite of what you claim.
16:55 November 18, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
You are right. Wrong link. I will have to go and find it again now. In the mean time this supports my opinion. Read it through and pay special attention to manufacturing jobs which reflect more on Germany's exporting industry. You will need to read it through whilst paying attention to the main issue regarding manufacturing jobs as there is a lot of jargon.

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/ewco/studies/tn1203015s/de1203019q.htm

'These provisions, therefore, mitigated employees¦#39; earnings losses arising from the adoption of short-time work. To sum up, when the crisis adversely affected wages it did so mainly through its impact on working-time.'
10:17 November 19, 2012 by ChrisRea
The new link you posted is pretty interesting. It shows that the 2008-2009 crisis pulled down the salaries in the manufacturing sector, but they bounced back higher in 2010 (Tabel 2, Annual average gross annual earnings in 2010 was 37,584 euro, while 35,773 euro in 2006, 36,689 euro in 2007, 37,323 euro in 2008 and 35,998 euro in 2009). In the hospitality industry it happen the same. At macroeconomical level, I quote, "There is no sign of a negative wage trend". Ah, you also mentioned banking and insurance in your post #23 - "The crisis only slowed the positive wage trend." (also a quote from the link you newly posted).

Your last quote also show that the decrease in salary was lessened by the work regulations. The study explains that companies were replacing overtime work with short-term work. So the main phenomena was not decreasing the salaries, but that new jobs were created instead of over-working the existing employees.

Are you sure that with your links you want to support the postings of chris berlin? I thought you do not share his perspective.
11:01 November 19, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@chrisrea

yes the link does support my perspective. You even support it with your last post. 'The study explains that companies were replacing overtime work with short-term work'. Workers in manufacturing are earning less now with less work. The fact new jobs were created does not point to anything. These jobs are short-term work with temp contracts and less hours. These new employees needing financial support from the Arbeitsamt and job centre.
12:56 November 19, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Berlin fuer alles

The decrease in income due to replacing the overtime work with short-term jobs was a temporary measure taken to overcome the crisis. In 2010 they bounced back to 37,584 euro, higher than they were before the crisis. How can you say that income in manufacturing industry "is gradually falling"?
03:07 November 20, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@ ChrisRea. Continue the conversation on this topic. :-)

http://www.thelocal.de/article.php?ID=46259#comment2918692
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