Why is the West aggressive

Comment: What's behind Russia's aggressiveness?

The evidence seems overwhelming: The secret services of the Netherlands, Great Britain and Switzerland name the names and in some cases also the rank of the Russian agents who have been behind the recent wave of cyber attacks. Americans, Canadians, Danes and Australians also complain of attacks by Russian hackers. Even if the complaints against Moscow seem a little orchestrated at first glance, no one doubts that Russian agents in particular are constantly attacking Western institutions, parties, companies or sports associations. Moscow denies this. But it does it mechanically, like an annoying exercise, often with a cynical undertone.

Does civil society dialogue still make sense?

The West responds with countermeasures. We are investing more money in the cyber war that is already taking place. At the same time, many are wondering what is behind this long unfamiliar aggressiveness of the Kremlin? What is Moscow's destination? Because the spiral of sanctions and counter-sanctions, which is turning ever faster, leads nowhere. In the end, both sides always lose. The Petersburg Dialogue, which will begin in a few days and bring representatives of both civil societies together, actually always makes little sense against the background of growing tensions in East and West. Why talk to each other when in the end there is no fundamental political will to a fruitful coexistence?

Miodrag Soric is a correspondent in Moscow

And so the West continues to speculate what is behind the brutal action of the Russians. What is noticeable: The most recent attacks were carried out mainly by the military secret service GRU. And what also catches the eye: How amateurish the spies were, what traces they left behind, that they even got caught in the act.

The protests from the West leave Moscow cold. This is reminiscent of the times of the Cold War. But even then there was always something like a basic trust in the other side. However, this is completely eroded. When exactly this began is difficult to determine: in 2007, President Vladimir Putin accused the Americans and the West for the first time on a massive scale of creating a unipolar world without taking Russia's interests into account. A short time later the Georgia war began. Attempts to restart relations with Moscow have failed. President Trump's announcements to improve relations with Moscow fail because of opposition in Congress. In the meantime, the politicians in East and West talk more about each other than with each other.

Attacks to Stabilize the Military Budget?

Is it also about money? In light of the recent attacks from Russia, NATO countries are increasing their defense spending. President Putin had actually announced that he wanted to cut the budget for the military in 2019. He needs more money to stimulate weak economic growth. His generals will not be pleased. And there is already speculation that this is why the GRU military intelligence service launched the latest cyber attacks. Because growing tensions with the enemy are always good for the defense budget. Others claim that Russia is doing this because Washington has already decided to drastically tighten sanctions in late November. Moscow therefore lacked incentives for good behavior.

Whatever may be behind Russia's new aggressiveness, at some point the Kremlin will have to row back again. Better relations are in the interests of both Russia and the West. An alliance with China is not a real alternative to a partnership with the West either. Because Beijing is a cool calculator.