Especially for foreigners – in the capital of Kuban was attended by nearly fifty German cities – Krasnodar Philharmonic choir sang the national anthem of Germany. Sigmar Gabriel thanked the Russians for their warm welcome. “We remember what happened during the war in your country, this city, which was occupied by German troops. But despite all, your people have extended a hand of reconciliation. It is expensive,” – said the head of the German guardian. He told of how the first visit to the Soviet Union through the youth exchanges in 1980, when the West boycotted the Moscow Olympic games. According to Gabriel, he wanted to see Russia with their own eyes – and that trip saved him from many prejudices. “And now, in these difficult times, we must at all costs to support humanitarian dialogue, despite the political controversies.”
Sergey Lavrov also acknowledged that “mutual alienation between Russians and Germans can not be allowed in any case.” He remembered the eminent German Chancellor Helmut Kohl – one of the most respected German politicians, “who are urged to get rid of phobias and look to the future”.
The same was said on the sidelines of the forum participants with whom talked correspondent “RG”. The conference of the partner cities, which meets every two years alternately in Russia and Germany, first held thirty years ago in the German state of Saarland – before the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the USSR. Since then it has developed more than a hundred pairs of cities-partners of Russia and Germany.
“We hope that regional and municipal cooperation contributes to improving inter-state relations, especially as they are now not as good as we would like,” admitted in an interview with “RG” the Chairman of the Federal Association of German companies “West – East” Peter Franke. His colleague Bernd Seifert from the city of Cologne for six years engaged in projects in the field of vocational education and student exchanges with the Russians: “Recipe for better relations between Germany and Russia? I can Express only personal opinion, not on behalf of the city. I am not a supporter of permanent sanctions, I think Russia should be more actively involved in solving international problems.” Agree with him Hans Herbst, the mayor of Karlsruhe, which for a quarter century, is the partner of the Krasnodar: “the Main thing is to make people understand each other. Only a dialogue between Germans and Russians can become a solid basis for our relations. Our people are still interested in each other – because of the long history. For example, the Baden-Baden near Karlsruhe has always attracted artists from Russia and therefore became a part of your history. Well, from politics sometimes you need to go.”
For almost 30 years after the fall of the Berlin wall originated over one hundred pairs of cities-partners of Russia and Germany
However, Sergey Lavrov, and his German colleague to do it failed: on the sidelines of the conference continued to discuss Ukraine, Syria and other pressing issues on the international agenda. Their talks were held in the format of a working dinner, during which a German guest gave a loaf of bread with salt. Gabriel treats tasted and diplomatically shared with Lavrov.