Mr Putin highly praised the agreement signed on November 9, 1990, calling it a major agreement which laid a solid foundation for rapprochement between Russia and Germany, and for constructive and active cooperation in the interests of pan-European civilisation.
President Putin said that in the last decade Russia and a united Germany had made great progress in developing bilateral relations, which, in his opinion, had been demonstrated by intense political dialogue and the constant development of a legislative and legal basis for cooperation in virtually all key areas.
At the same time, Mr Putin stressed that current bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries definitely did not match their enormous potential. While mentioning that Germany was an importer of Russian oil and gas and in turn supplied industrial equipment to Russia, the President expressed his conviction that in the era of globalisation, such limited inter-change should become a thing of the past. In his opinion, the real potential of Russian-German economic cooperation lay in enhanced cooperation in hi-tech industries. Russia could offer advanced solutions to its German and European partners, primarily in aeronautics and space technology, he underlined.
The President also expressed confidence that such cooperation could benefit both countries if they got over “cold war” stereotypes and learned to think strategically.
The process of historical reconciliation between the two nations, the Russian leader said, was determined to a large extent by Germany’s repentance for the millions of victims of Nazism and the willingness of the country’s current politicians to assume responsibility for the past. The solution of social problems connected with the aftermath of World War II also contributed to it.
It is also important that Germany preserve the memory of the many hundreds of thousands of its people who fell fighting to free the European nations from Nazism. President Putin acknowledged that Germany was doing a lot to maintain Soviet military graves in the country. Russia was also making efforts to rebuild German military cemeteries.