Living in Central and Eastern Europe, you often get to hear people claiming that locals look upon Russia with historical resentment. In contrast, countries like the Czech Republic owe at least 50% of their direct manufacturing capacity to German firms. Poland is engaged in mutually funded megaprojects with Germany.
Russian banks and Russian communities are prevalent everywhere. While people are angry about what happened in the past, they are just as angry about what has happened recently. Financialisation and greedy exploitation of post-reform anarchy has left people feeling just as trapped today (in debt) as they did before (under Muscovite central authority).
In short, while some politicians point to Russia as a threat, or identify anti-financial state-led endeavours with former Soviet policies, they are being hypocritical and disingenuous. They speak standing from a flimsy, feeble ledge held up entirely by the Germans, who if you accept their rationale, should be held as accountable for their past as the Russians.
I propose we forget all this nonsense, and ignore the voices that raise racial, nationalist fears of the past. Times have changed. We have survived the mechanisation of the military, the industrialisation of the world, even the computerisation of the world, and our European borders have been dissolved. Germans are not Nazis. Russians are not Stalinists. We are a European Union.
What I see ahead of us is a pretty bright future, new technologies, new approaches. Everything from domestic manufacturing involving personalised gadgets, 3d printed objects, to electric cars. But only if we can get past the status quo, which is a financialised mess.
The EU and Russia need to work very closely together, if not quite fully assemble themselves, in order to make the most of this. Russia has the resources, Mittelevropa and its dependents have the organisational and manufacturing ability. Together the combination could be wonderful : a huge domestic economy with rapid real growth based on real wealth, real optimisations and real technical benefits, a sound military policy, peace on its periphery….and finally an end to US funded chaos in the Mid East.