Meet Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance that calls to “test Putin’s willingness to negotiate”

Bündnis Sahra Wagenknecht @Buendnis_SahraW
Sahra Wagenknecht speaking at a BSW meeting in Frankfurt on May 29, 2024.

Germany faces a critical period as economic issues, the war in Ukraine, spy scandals, an increase in Islamophobia, and ties with China have challenged the coalition government of Olaf Scholz. In addition, the resilience of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) to scandals involving some leading members, court rulings against the party, strict monitoring by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), and the loss of international support, keeps its electoral strength high. AfD could even double its current nine seats in the June European elections.

Polls indicate the results of the upcoming elections for Germany’s 96 seats in the European Parliament will “punish” the Greens, Socialdemocrats (SPD), and Liberals (FDP) while also potentially affecting smaller parties like the Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP), Volt, the Pirates, or even Die Partei.

However, a new party, born in January 2024, will enter the next Parliament in Strasbourg. The Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance—Reason and Justice (BSW), a split from Die Linke led by its former leader, Sahra Wagenknecht, may elect up to 6 MEPs, disrupting the left environment in the country.  

BSW promotes a mix of socially conservative and nationalist ideas, including anti-immigration scepticism, and supports the return of power from the EU to the national states. The extent to which the party will successfully absorb part of the AfD’s political proposals still needs to be discovered.

Also, whether BSW will join the Left in Parliament or attempt to form a new group with other similarly thinking parties is still a question. Last month, the party announced that it had found partners to create a new left-wing group in the Parliament, challenging the left-wing GUE/NGL group. As 23 MEPs from seven countries are needed to form such a group, discovering parties from another six countries wishing to partner with BSW seems complicated.

Rumours involved a wide range of political parties in the EU who could create this new group, such as the Five Star Movement (M5S) in Italy, La France Insoumise – LFI, or the Direction-Social Democracy (Smer) in Slovakia.

However, while these parties share views on several issues, they all belong to different political environments.

In addition, M5S and LFI denied any ongoing talks with BSW. Smer, which gradually moved to far-right positions, opts for something more internationally reliable than Wagenknecht’s party.

In support of Putin in Ukraine

From the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, BSW opposed any practical help to Kyiv despite the massive killings of civilians, including children, and the bombing of hospitals, schools and nursery schools. The party of Wagenknecht adopted the Kremlin’s narrative about the war and blamed NATO for escalating the conflict.

The decision of Western allies to allow Ukraine to use European-delivered weapons against Russian targets led the party to spread rumours about a dangerous escalation of the war and called German politicians to consider Russian threats of retaliations seriously.   

“From helmets to attacks on Russian territory with German weapons operated by German military personnel? How will Russia react? We are being driven into war by our own government and NATO!” Klaus Ernst, Deputy Chairman of the BSW in the Bundestag, posted today on the media platform X.

“It is not my war!” Ernst continued. “My father was in the war against the Soviet Union for five years, then in Russian captivity for five years. He did something to the Russians, not the other way around! Now, German weapons are being fired at Russia again! It is foreseeable that Russia will react. We can only hope that it will be a cautious reaction. The federal government’s policies have so far endangered our prosperity; now, they are increasingly endangering our lives! The escalation must be stopped. Negotiate a ceasefire immediately before it is too late!”

However, it is not clear whether the BSW’s leading member assimilates today’s Germany with the Third Reich and Putin’s Russia with the Soviet Union.

Populist rhetoric should have some limits!   

“Attack with German #Waffen #Russland ? That only contributes to #Eskalation without improving the situation in #Ukraine. Olaf #Scholz is not a peace chancellor, but is increasingly becoming a #Sicherheitsrisiko for Germany,” Sahra Wagenknecht posted on X on May 31, aligning with the narrative promoted by the Kremlin.

Talking to, Fabio De Masi, the leading candidate of BSW for the 2024 European elections, proposed using diplomatic tools to approach the situation in Ukraine.

“Test Putin’s willingness to negotiate”, De Masi said, adding that it is necessary to “take the path of diplomacy.”

The BSW programme emphasises that Germany’s interests differ considerably from those of the US.

“Our goal is an independent Europe of sovereign democracies in a multipolar world, not a new bloc confrontation in which Europe is crushed between the USA and the increasingly self-confident new power bloc around China and Russia”.

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