German economy in Russia continues ‘high hopes’ in Scholz-Putin meetings

13 Feb 2022 7:26 p.m.

German companies in Russia are pinning “great hopes” on Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to the Russian head of state, Vladimir Putin. They expect the visit to not only address the Ukrainian crisis, but also health testing for foreigners.

Ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Russia, the chairman of the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce Abroad (AHK), Rainer Seele, said on Sunday that the conflict over Ukraine must be resolved peacefully and through diplomatic means. At the same time, Seele warned against cutting contacts and freezing projects. This does not reduce tensions, but “more confrontation”. The official spoke out in favor of an intensification of contacts.

“Even in the darkest moments of the Cold War, the German economy was always a bridge between Germany and the Soviet Union.”

According to the AHK, German companies have invested around 7.6 billion euros in Russia over the past five years, despite the sanctions imposed due to the Ukrainian conflict and despite the restrictions imposed by the corona pandemic.

German companies expect Scholz not only to bring up the Ukrainian crisis during his meeting with Putin. A major obstacle is also the new mandatory health tests for foreign citizens who wish to work in Russia. AHK CEO Matthias Schepp is quoted by the German press agency as saying:

“German and foreign managers and engineers are subject to discriminatory and time-consuming procedures to the detriment of the investment climate, even as they promote investment in Russia in their home country.”

The resentment of managers, engineers, scientists and researchers will remain high. According to Schepp, the regulations should be suspended.

All foreigners traveling to Russia for more than 90 days must be tested for drugs, syphilis, HIV, gonorrhea, tuberculosis and SARS-CoV-2 every three months, according to a law since January. X-rays are planned, which are controversial due to the dangerous radiation exposure. Almost all foreigners living in Russia and their family members, including children from the age of six, are affected. Excluded from the settlement are students, some diplomats, citizens of Belarus and children under the age of six. Anyone who does not comply with the requirement or receives a positive diagnosis for one of the diseases tested may be classified as “undesirable” or should expect a shorter stay in Russia.

Scholz will first visit Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in Kiev on February 14. His meeting with Putin in Moscow is scheduled for February 15.

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