Russia remains committed to the idea of a "Greater Europe," a single space of cooperation and security from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans and calls for an end to the "heavy weight of misunderstandings" in bilateral relations, wrote Russian President Vladimir Putin in an article dedicated to the anniversary of the beginning of World War II.
Heroes of the Red Army and workers of the rear saved Europe from enslavement, coming to Germany’s land "with a noble, great mission as a liberator," Putin writes.
It was Germany, he recalls, that became the "pioneer of cooperation" with the Soviet Union, concluding in the 1970s a "deal of the century" to buy Russian gas.
"We hoped that the end of the Cold War would be a common victory for Europe. It seemed that a little more and will become a reality of Charles de Gaulle's dream of a single continent, not even geographical "from the Atlantic to the Urals" but cultural, civilizational, from Lisbon to Vladivostok," Putin writes.
According to Putin, it was by following the path of building a Greater Europe, united by common values and interests, that "Russia sought to develop its relations with the Europeans, but a different approach prevailed."
Putin blames NATO and its expansion to the east "despite the verbal promises."
Since 1999, 14 new countries have joined the alliance, and many had " to face an artificial choice to be either with the collective West or with Russia," Putin writes.
Then Europe, in his words, "unwittingly supported the unconstitutional armed coup in Ukraine" and thus "provoked the withdrawal of Crimea from Ukraine."
The coup itself was "organized by the United States," Putin said.
As a result, the world's security system has degraded, the risks of an arms race have become a reality, opportunities for cooperation are missed, Putin says.
But Russia feels "its inseparable cultural and historical connection with Europe and stands for the restoration of a comprehensive partnership" as part of "a single space of cooperation and security from the Atlantic to the Pacific," Putin said.
He adds that this cooperation could include "different integration formats," including the EU and the EAEU.
"We simply cannot afford to carry the burden of past misunderstandings, grievances, conflicts, and mistakes. We are convinced that we all need to recognize these mistakes and correct them.