Who is the German ambassador to Russia

German Ambassador: "It is important to have a clear inner compass"

The German Ambassador to Russia: RĂ¼diger von Fritsch / Photo: Nikita Markov

Good afternoon, Mr. Ambassador. The Moscow German newspaper has been helping Germans understand Russia for 20 years. How was your first contact with the MDZ?

The MDZ came into my hands on previous visits to Russia: Anyone who travels to Moscow by plane is greeted by the MDZ in person, it is available at every airport. I have enjoyed reading the MDZ in the past - as I still do today.

What do you appreciate about the MDZ?

What I appreciate about the MDZ is that it provides factual and easily understandable information about Russia and Moscow in German and thus contributes to strengthening and improving German-Russian relations. And I think it's good that the MDZ repeatedly takes up seemingly unrelated topics, that it brings interesting facts to light and often also sheds light on interesting fates and paths in life.

At the moment the news is raging in Russia, how do you keep track of things?

Filtering and processing the large amount of information is of course a challenge. I use several ways; On the one hand, of course, I watch the news myself or follow it on the Internet and read newspapers as well as many Russia-related reports by German diplomats around the world. Secondly, the Foreign Office prepares information for us in a very targeted manner and, thirdly, I sit with my employees almost every day, who then briefly and concisely report important and current information from their areas of work.

Above all, however, I meet a lot of people who have interesting reports from and about Russia, I listen to them. If you do all of this regularly and consistently and are always up to date, then the additional daily information can be processed easily and I actually always feel well informed. Over time, you also learn to differentiate between important and less important information and to classify things according to their meaning.

Do you only read the German or also the Russian press?Which magazines does the German Embassy subscribe to?

I read German and Russian newspapers and follow a large number of media, including electronic ones. Of course, due to time constraints, I cannot read all newspapers and magazines and not all of them in full, but I am well informed about what the Russian newspapers write through the daily press reviews of the embassy. The press department reads all major and national Russian newspapers, follows the electronic media and summarizes the essential content. Regarding the magazines: We have subscribed to several political magazines that are read depending on the frequency of publication.

You are likely to encounter a large number of opinions. To what extent does your own opinion influence your work as an ambassador? Do you sometimes have internal conflicts?

Indeed, a lot flows into you! It is very important to have a lot of experience and a clear inner compass. Because there is always a need to make decisions. I cannot remember ever having faced a real internal conflict - and there is a reason for that: as much as the parties in the lively democracy of our country differ on many issues - there is a great consensus in Germany on foreign policy issues which is supported by a very broad spectrum of parties such as the citizen. And last but not least, this includes the principle of persistently working on good relations with Russia.

And finally: What do you wish the MDZ for the next 20 years?

Keep it interesting and diverse - and do so with journalistic independence!