German Chancellor Angela Merkel briefs the media before talks with Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the Chancellery in Berlin, April 25, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
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While almost half of Germans want Berlin to act as a bridge between the West and Russia, those in former Communist eastern parts are more sceptical about further sanctions, polls show.Some 49 percent of Germans want Berlin to be a mediator between NATO and the EU and Russia, a poll by Infratest dimap showed this month.About 6,200 German companies deal with Russia, and bilateral trade totals some 76 billion euros.Merkel may have surprised observers with her tough line against Putin but, like many Germans who grew up in the former Communist East, she speaks Russian and is fond of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.Paradoxically, many east Germans are even grateful to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for backing German reunification.Now, many Germans are wary of policy being dictated by the U.S.Revelations of widespread snooping on Germans by U.S. spies have put paid to hopes of an upturn in relations with Washington under U.S. President Barack Obama after a lowpoint due to strong German opposition the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
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