Relations between Germany and Russia are quite ambiguous. Although the military-technical cooperation between the two countries was not on such a large scale as, for example, between Russia and France, Germany has traditionally been an important trade and economic partner of Russia.
In March 2014, Berlin unilaterally suspended the military-technical cooperation with Russia. German Ministry of Economy considered any form of military-technical cooperation unacceptable because of the Russian annexation of the Crimea. In accordance with this resolution, the German military industrial group "Rheinmetall" was forced to suspend the construction of the military training facility in Mulino, Nizhny Novgorod region, commissioned by the Defence Ministry of Russia.
Reference: The contract between the Ministry of Defence of Russia and Rheinmetall was concluded in November 2011. The deal amounted to about € 100 million. Under the contract, up to 30 thousand soldiers could be trained yearly in the center 500 sq. km in area. The partner of the German company was the Russian Oboronservice. The construction was to be completed at the end of 2014.
Since April 1, the German authorities in the wake of the US and Britain excluded Russia from the list of countries with access to import dual-purpose products from Germany. The Federal Agency of Economy and Export Control stopped issuing export permits to Russia even for engineering products, machine tools and components in particular, which can be used for weapons production. Germany was the largest supplier of machines and equipment to Russia, which accounted for about 60 % of the value of German exports to the Russian Federation.
However, despite the sanctions against Russia, which did bring significant results, the Russian Federation remains an important trade and economic partner and an investee of Germany. In particular, this is due to the fairly strong traditional economic ties between the two countries. And the major commodity in Germany's trade with Russia is energy – 51.4 % of the total turnover and 87.6 % of imports.
Although, according to the Federal Customs Service of Russia the volume of Russian-German trade in 2015 decreased by 34.7 % compared to the same period of 2014, it still makes an impressive $ 45.8 billion. Russian export to Germany is $ 25.4 billion, decreasing in the year by 31.7 %, while the import is $ 20.4 billion (38 % drop).
According to Russian sources, Germany continues to be one of the key investment partners of Russia. The accumulated volume of German investments exceeds $ 12.4 billion. 5600 enterprises operate with German capital (80 to 100 % shares of German capital), their total turnover exceeds $ 50 billion. A third of the companies engage in production, mining and processing industries. At the same time, there are 1500 registered companies with Russian capital in Germany, which are operating at full scale.
Currently, more than 170 agreements and arrangements of various kind between the regions of Russia and the German federal lands are implemented at the interregional level. 23 subjects of the Russian Federation and 14 German federal lands have partnership relations in the form of interregional agreements. German companies are represented in 80 out of 83 Russian regions. Regions where the activity of German companies is the most prominent are Kaluga, Tver, Moscow Regions, the Republic of Bashkortostan, Nizhny Novgorod Region, the Republic of Tatarstan, St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region.
Among German research institutions actively cooperating with Russia, the following organizations are worth mentioning: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen, "Otto von Guericke"; Alexander von Humboldt Foundation; Fraunhofer Society; Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science; Robert-Bosch-Stiftung; Leibniz Association.
A variety of Russian research and educational structures are the partners of these and other German organizations. In terms of the activity level of their participation in the scientific and technical cooperation with Germany, as well as in view of their affiliation and importance for the Russian-German scientific and technological cooperation they can be divided into six groups: Russian Academy of Sciences structures; other Russian academies and major research funds; universities and higher education institutions; departmental research institutions; research and development centres in the formerly closed cities and science cities; small private research structures.
All this is a powerful lobbying base in Germany for lifting of sanctions and a returning to business as usual with Russia. That is why more and more voices are heard recently in Germany in support of lifting of sanctions against the aggressor (at least so they say in Russia). So, as a result of a meeting with German businessmen in Stuttgart, Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund announced: "The German business hopes for easing of sanctions against Russia already in June and looks forward to their complete abolition by the end of the current year." According to him, representatives of German companies expressed concerns about the fact that because of the sanctions long-term contacts have been lost and European businesses in Russia are replaced by Asian companies and investors. At the same time, Dmitriev said that "German business is willing to invest heavily in Russia, but it needs positive signals from political elites."
On the one hand, one can understand the German businesses incurring substantial losses due to the sanctions against Russia because of its aggression against Ukraine. On the other hand, the Germans should not forget that any cooperation with the aggressor leads to an increase of the number of innocent victims of its unbridled imperial ambitions that, sooner or later, can affect prosperous burghers, like it happened to hundreds of innocent MH17 flight victims. Although it must be stated that after the accident with Malaysian Boeing-777 liner, the mood of a large part of the German business circles took a significant turn that led to an unconditional support for tougher sanctions against Russia, in spite of their negative impact on the German economy.
Therefore, one can expect prudence from German political elites and businesses, so that their contribution can be decisive to finally resolve the issue with the excessive ambitions of a dying empire and to help build a new Russia not dangerous for Europe.