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Merkel compares legacy to Neville Chamberlain…

Angela Merkel has insisted that her position as a lame duck in the last months of her time in office made it more or less impossible for her to influence the behaviour of Vladimir Putin.The former German chancellor appeared both defensive and quietly defiant about her inability to change the course of the Russian president’s decision-making in the run-up to the invasion of Ukraine in February.In an interview with the German news magazine Spiegel, Merkel said she felt acutely aware that her ability to negotiate with Putin was minimal, owing to the fact it was known she would not stand for a fifth term in office.“I no longer had the power to push my ideas through because everyone knew ‘she’ll be gone by autumn’,” she said, describing how she had tried to establish a round of European talks after a meeting in the summer of 2021 between the US president, Joe Biden, and Putin. “Had I been standing again in the September I’d have kept drilling down, but … at my final meeting in Moscow [with Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov], the feeling was clear: from a political power point of view, you’re finished. For Putin it is only power that counts.”In her interviews with Alexander Osang, which took place over a period of a year and …

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