During a visit to the hanover trade fair, putin defended the controversial law requiring organizations financed with foreign money to register as "agents.
Merkel urged him not to obstruct the work of the foundations any further. A lively civil society can only develop if such organizations can work without fear.
There was a scandal during the joint knife tour. Five half-naked women with "fuck dictator" written on their upper bodies stormed screaming at putin and could only be stopped by bodyguards.
German organizations such as the CDU-affiliated konradadenauer foundation were also recently raided in russia. Putin has long been accused of violating human rights and blocking the development of democracy in his country.
Merkel expressed concern about the raids and defended the foundations. "Of course it is a disruption and an intrusion when hard drives are simply checked, although to our knowledge the work of these foundations is very orderly." Putin stressed that he was concerned about control of funding. He called the flow of money from abroad to nongovernmental organizations in his country worrying. "Our citizens are entitled to know where the (money) comes from."Laws like russia’s also exist in other countries, for example in the united states, putin stressed. However, the foundations were able to continue working.
Auben minister guido westerwelle (FDP) buried merkel’s clear criticism of the russian action. "We are pursuing a policy of clear messages toward russia," he said. However, despite all the criticism, one should not let the language thread wear away.
On sunday evening, putin and merkel opened the hanover trade fair, at which russia is particularly well represented as a partner country. On monday, both commemorated the victims of nazi rule at a cemetery of honor for murdered forced laborers.
At the fair, the protest action of the five women, aged between 18 and 33, took place. They were arrested beforehand and questioned by the police. Putin reacted calmly. He liked the action, he said. "Without such an action, there would be less talk about such a fair than with such an action."
Merkel referred to the freedom of demonstration, but criticized the form of protest. "I have my doubts as to whether it is necessary to resort to such an emergency measure in germany and whether it is not possible to express one’s opinion in some other way."
Merkel and putin sent different signals on pressing political issues. Both called on north korea to cease its provocations in the face of ever new threats of war. In the syrian conflict, putin defended the arms deliveries to the regime of president basar al-assad as legitimate according to international rules. Merkel disagreed: "from our point of view, mr. Assad’s legitimacy is no longer given." She called for new negotiation efforts within the framework of the UN security council.