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Putin and Merkel Open Hanover Trade Fair

World  (tags: Germany, Hannover, Messe, trade fair, Putin, Merkel, protests, society, Russia )

- 2141 days ago -
Russian President Vladimir Putin has opened the Hanover Trade Fair with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as protesters outside decried a perceived descent to dictatorship under Putin's rule.


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Angelika R (143)
Sunday April 7, 2013, 8:31 pm
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the world's biggest industrial fair in Hanover on Sunday, as human rights organizations protested outside against Russia's increasing authoritarianism.

Russia is the partner country for this year's Hanover Trade Fair, where some 6,500 exhibitors from 62 countries are showing the latest developments in industrial technology.

In his opening speech, Putin highlighted Russia's economic growth and relatively low unemployment rate as evidence that the country is a good investment. He also noted a rise in German-Russian trade, which hit an all-time high last year of 80.5 billion euros ($105 billion).

About 350 activists turned out in the northern German city, with signs directed toward Putin reading "Leave NGOs in peace" and "Stop political terror." Russia came under harsh criticism from international leaders and human rights groups after authorities raided the offices of dozens of foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations late last month.

Merkel made tacit reference to those raids in her opening speech, describing NGOs as a "motor of innovation" that must be given a chance to work to improve the lives of Russian citizens.

"We are convinced that this succeeds best when there is an active civil society," Merkel said.

Erika Steinbach, human rights spokeswoman for the parliamentary group of Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, said Sunday that Germany cannot turn a blind eye to abuses in Russia.

"Despite strong business ties, we can't close our eyes to the dismal human rights situation in Russia," she told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

On Monday Putin and Merkel are scheduled to lay wreaths at a memorial cemetery where nearly 400 forced laborers from the former Soviet Union and other European countries are buried.

Kit B (276)
Sunday April 7, 2013, 9:07 pm

Other than Gorbachev when has a leader of Russia told the truth about how things are in Russia? Putin is not to be trusted, he has all but crowned himself as Tzar for life. Not much in the way of protests in Russia and ya gotta wonder why? "Dismal human rights", to say the least.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday April 7, 2013, 9:18 pm
Not sure if you had the news in the US about Russias raids on NGOs ? because some of our own renowned orgs were also effected , our govt protested. I think by now things have been cleared again. There were supposedly official "registrations" with Russian authorities missing and they accused every not registered NGO operating on russian soil of money laundering, hostile infiltration etc. russians had imposed this new law just recently, obviously also kind of secretly.

Kit B (276)
Sunday April 7, 2013, 9:28 pm

Cleared up? The NGO's are front for the US to prod and manipulate other countries into doing as we want. When Russia is friendly with them they become a front or talking piece for Russia. It a big chess board, and the end game is always the same.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday April 7, 2013, 10:03 pm
Kit, by cleared up I only meant that Russians returned the confiscated materials, computers etc and Merkel, known as a friend of Putin, and he will likely have settled the matter in a personal talk. In Putin's speech in Hannover he did NOT mention it at all. Of course our party leaders and others are still protesting the incidents demanding this will never happen again.

Background story here >

JL A (281)
Monday April 8, 2013, 6:58 pm
Why does this feel like a street gambler's shell game or who's got the button?

Gloria p (304)
Tuesday April 9, 2013, 6:21 am
I don't understand Putin. Sometimes he runs an dictatorship then other times he seems to be OK.

Bornita Quader (10)
Tuesday April 9, 2013, 6:36 am
Maybe including Russia more in small ways will encourage Putin to be more democratic :S

. (0)
Tuesday April 9, 2013, 8:06 am
Putin should be more democratic.

Birgit W (160)
Tuesday April 9, 2013, 1:20 pm
Why is that guy Putin in Hannover with Merkel? He should not be there!

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday April 9, 2013, 1:50 pm
Birgit, if you cannot pick it up from the headline, perhaps if you care to go to visit site and READ the article/s you would get your answer.

Lois Jordan (63)
Tuesday April 9, 2013, 3:52 pm
Noted. Thanks, Angelika. The words all sound nice, just like American politicians....but the proof is yet to come.

Joanne Dixon (37)
Tuesday April 9, 2013, 4:35 pm
Funny, I always thoght there were THREE Stooges. Apparently there are only TWO for now?

Sam E M (0)
Wednesday April 10, 2013, 2:45 am
We can't expect all countries to have the same human rights as e.g. the US; all we can do is try to influence gradual changes. It can't be done with the click of the fingers, it takes time.
That's an extremely unflattering photo.
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