The Russian elections are over with no surprises. Everything proceeded as planned. Russia will now concentrate on further intimidation of its former colonies - a natural geopolitical reality which is in its interests. Despite the fact that even if Russia permitted a free media and truly competitive elections which allows for opposition candidates that have not been hand-picked by the Kremlin, Putin would have won. But not by much.
But it is telling that the energy ties-that- bind running from Moscow to Berlin are firm and colours the question of Germany's dependability as a Western ally and member of NATO. The majority of European countries were silent about the elections and the results. Putin received few congratulatory phone calls from any European country, with France remaining significantly quiet.
But, Angela Merkel immediately called Putin to congratulate him and amazingly offered a "strategic partnership". The Foreign Minister of Poland, Radoslaw Sikorski, provided the proper response by calling the elections undemocratic. Poland has seen the results of a strategic partnership between Moscow and Berlin before.
German ties with Russia are understandable given the prostrate energy position of Berlin. At the same time, coupled with German positions on Libya, it's attitude toward Greece and the southern tier of EU member states and its positioning to control the EU at the expense of everyone else, Germany must be looked on differently and its foreign policy with suspicion.