Mass protests are testimony to Berlin’s misguided spending priorities, Dmitry Medvedev has argued
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz risks being forced out of office by mass protests, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has claimed. A week-long nationwide strike was launched in the EU’s leading economy on Monday.
Farmers in Germany say the government’s decision to cut diesel subsidies and tax breaks for the agriculture sector will force many of them out of business. Berlin’s budgetary shortages are a direct result of spending “astronomical amounts” on Ukraine, Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council, argued in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
Berlin now faces a “proven weapon” used by Ukrainians in the form of anti-government demonstrations, which have the potential to oust Scholz, the Russian official claimed. Officials in Moscow, meanwhile, are “following [the events] with malicious interest,” Medvedev added.
Germany has emerged as one of Kiev’s key donors in its conflict with Russia, after the US and its allies pushed Ukraine into seeking victory on the battlefield instead of compromising on its ambition to become a NATO member.
German funding currently accounts for half of all EU aid for Ukraine, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said at a conference last week. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) estimates German bilateral assistance to Ukraine at $23 billion, including the cost of hosting refugees.
Kiev’s failure to achieve significant progress on the frontline last year has undermined its long-term aid security. In the US, Republican lawmakers have refused to appropriate additional funds unless the administration of President Joe Biden agrees to concessions on domestic immigration policy and provides a realistic plan for a Ukrainian victory. In the EU, Hungary has vetoed a European Commission plan to prop up the Ukrainian government.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Scholz has seen his approval rating fall. Citing a survey by INSA, Bild reported on Monday that 64% of voters in the country believe Scholz should step down and be replaced by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.
The farmers’ protests were triggered by Scholz’s attempts to fill a €17 billion ($18.6 billion) hole in the 2024 budget, which the government has since partially backpeddled on. Nevertheless, the German Farmers’ Association pushed ahead with its plans for an ‘action week’.
Demonstrators blocked highways with their tractors on Monday, also dumping hay, animal feed, and manure on roads in a gesture of disdain for government policies. Hundreds of farm vehicles gathered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
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