BSandra Maischberger’s political speech on Tuesday focused on Putin’s war aims – but also on the corona pandemic. On Russia’s war in Ukraine, Maischberger spoke with Rüdiger von Fritsch, the former German ambassador in Moscow, about Corona with Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD), who outlined his strategy for the coming months. Journalists Ulrike Herrmann (taz), Ingo Zamperoni (ARD TV presenter) and Livia Gerster (political editor at FAZ) also discussed.
Economics professor Peter Ganea, who lives in Shanghai, gave an overview of the corona situation in China and was added to the program. He teaches at Tongji University and has been stuck in his office on campus since early March. Ganea wrote a field report for WELT on China’s strict lockdown.
The campus was locked down due to a single infected person, Ganea reported. He and his colleagues were no longer allowed to leave the campus, they had been blocked since March 9. As the canteen was no longer accessible either, the food was brought without selection. “I had to eat what was delivered to me for over a month. So much like prison,” Ganea said.
But the students are doing less well than him. Sometimes there were six of them living in dormitories. The only way out is for the corona test, and that in protective gear. Ganea: “It has nothing to do with medical considerations anymore. It’s just useless rituals demanding obedience.
There are also protests against the measures, but you hear more of them on social media than in Shanghai itself. Moreover, the Chinese government has recently made it known that it will not be impressed by the protests and that it is s would stick to its no-Covid policy. strategy.
The lockdown strategy is wrong, said Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. Containment measures, for example, could not overcome the omicron wave. And: “The next wave that arrives is again a little more contagious. According to Lauterbach, the new BA.4 and BA.5 variants, observed in South Africa, show: “This is a race that cannot be won. ”
So far, however, Germany has weathered the pandemic relatively well, the health minister said. A study by the European Agency for Infectious Diseases (ECDC) shows that the Federal Republic is better off than Italy, France or Great Britain for every 100,000 people who died with or due to Corona.
The “Taz” reporter Herrmann saw it very differently. “More than 2.7 million people over the age of 60 are unvaccinated and at extreme risk,” she said. The next corona virus will arrive in the fall and everything will start again. “Then the schools are closed again, although the children are vaccinated. Just to save those who refuse to get vaccinated,” Herrmann said. “To all those who refuse to vaccinate: this is really impertinence.”
Lauterbach expressly agreed with her. It is regrettable that the Bundestag did not accede to its request for compulsory vaccination. However, he would like to thank all citizens who continue to wear mouth and nose protection, for example in the supermarket, despite the fact that masks are no longer compulsory. “It’s still an important protection for yourself and others.”
Nevertheless: “We haven’t been completely successful, but compared to our elderly population and the large number of people who refuse to be vaccinated, we have had fewer deaths from and with Corona,” said Lauterbach.
The second major subject of the program was the war in Ukraine. More recently, on “Victory Day”, May 9, Putin gave a speech at a large military parade in Moscow. Rüdiger von Fritsch served as Germany’s ambassador to Moscow from 2014 to 2019 and has seen the parade up close on several occasions.
Although the sentiment of the liberation of Nazi Germany by the Allies was also present during the parades, “there was also a strong sense of irritation at the way Vladimir Putin instrumentalized the day.” Putin makes the story of victory in World War II complete legitimization of his current power, von Fritsch said.
Initially, Putin had two war aims, and a third was added over time. First, no part of Old and Great Russia should be allowed to drift west like Ukraine. Second, Putin wants to weaken Europe and change the European peace order. And third: “Putin is now fighting for his own power in Ukraine. That is why he will continue the war.
The war is already having an effect on Russia: “Putin is causing endless and lasting damage to his country, to its interests and to the people,” von Fritsch said.
However, the Russian president’s speech showed no signs of de-escalation, said journalist Livia Gerster of the “Sunday newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine”. “We wanted to see it, but you couldn’t see it.” Putin did not threaten a nuclear strike, but on the other hand, he seemed rather helpless. “Taz” reporter Ulrike Herrmann was relieved after the speech. “This strange speech showed how weak Russia or Putin are.”
From their point of view, the Russians are only willing to support the war if they do not have to go to the front themselves. A general mobilization announcement would have caused problems for Putin among the population. Meanwhile, Putin himself probably expects the West to weaken his resolve.