The blindsided: How France and Germany cleared the way for Russia

Mark Leonard welcomes Sylvie Kauffmann and Timothy Garton Ash to discuss the former’s new book “The Blindsided” and France and Germany’s history with Putin’s Russia

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On 24 February 2022, Russia blindsided most of Europe with its all-out invasion of Ukraine. This forced an overdue reckoning for Europeans on the failures of their Russia policy and the realities of Vladimir Putin’s agenda. In particular, France and Germany had been hoodwinked by promises of cheap Russian energy supplies, as well as the pipe dream of a common European security architecture with Moscow.

In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard welcomes ECFR board and council member, Sylvie Kauffmann, who is editorial director, lead writer, and columnist at Le Monde; and ECFR council member, Timothy Garton Ash, who is a bestselling author and professor of European studies at Oxford University, to discuss Kauffmann’s new book “Les Aveuglés, comment Berlin et Paris ont laissé la voie libre à la Russie” (“The Blindsided: How Berlin and Paris Cleared the Way for Russia”). How and when could France and Germany have acted differently and changed the path of history? At what point was it clear that Putin was heading down this path? And why did Europeans, again and again, ignore the warning signs?

This podcast was recorded on 20 October 2023.


Les Aveuglés, comment Berlin et Paris ont laissé la voie libre à la Russie | Sylvie Kauffmann

Homelands: A Personal History of Europe | Timothy Garton Ash

Cover image:
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, left, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, third left and Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, attend a joint news conference
Image by picture alliance/AP Photo | Charles Platiau

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