“Everyone who calls for pacification, insisting that we respect Russia, is becoming less and less popular,” Mr Gressel said, and stubbornly against Russia is increasingly being heard.
However, this did not lead to immediate action by Germany. Early calls for the cancellation of the nearly $ 11 billion Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany have died down, and Ms Merkel’s government has insisted on seeking a European response to the poisoning.
But from the outset, Mrs Merkel has taken an unusually personal interest in Mr Navalny’s fate. She allowed him to enter Germany quickly, although most Russians were banned, given the threat of the coronavirus, and personally announced in extremely harsh conditions the discovery that Novichok had appeared in Mr Navalny̵
In a speech to reporters in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated Chancellor Russia’s request to explain what happened to Mr Navalny before a meeting of the European Council, part of the European Union’s executive, on Thursday and Friday. Poisoning was added to the agenda of this meeting.
“This is very clearly an assassination attempt on Russian soil against a Russian opposition leader with a chemical agent manipulated in Russia,” Macron told reporters, according to Reuters. “It is therefore up to Russia to provide clarification.”
The European version of the US Magnetic Act – which penalizes those who violate human rights – will give the bloc an additional tool to use against Moscow in Mr Navalny’s case. But even if Europe still assembles its own version, Mr Meister expects that those affected will be largely limited to those who do not do business outside of Russia on a regular basis.
The bigger question, however, will be how Russia decides to treat Mr Navalny once he returns home, as he said he plans to do, said Janis Kluge, an Eastern Europe analyst at the German Institute for International Affairs and security issues in Berlin.