This article originally appeared at Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten. Translated for RI by Joann Gillen
Siemens’ sales have decreased sharply because of Russian sanctions. Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser directly blamed the German federal government for the situation. He has benefited from the criticism he experienced last year when he was chided in an unprecedented TV interview with Mann Kleber [chief news anchor] for ZDF for taking a prearranged trip to Russia while sanctions were in effect. Now Kaeser can simply state the facts.
Sales for Siemens industrial conglomerate have slumped by around 50 percent in the Russian market as a result of Western economic sanctions, CEO Kaeser said in the newspaper Bild am Sonntag. “Business with Russia has generally fallen sharply; ours has decreased by about half.” Still, if sanctions were to continue, he said, the company would provide support because “we follow the primacy of politics.” He said they have done so and that he had always made that clear. But “it is better talking to each other rather than about each other.” Siemens has traditionally been heavily involved in Russia with annual sales of a billion dollars.
Kaeser’s seemingly strange-looking compliance with the sanctions policy is on closer inspection a clever move by Siemens’ public relations department. Kaeser was heavily criticized last year by public broadcasters in questioning regarding the crisis and private financing because he had dared to take a long-planned visit to Moscow. In particular, ZDF TV interviewer Claus Kleber made this attack in an unprecedented, arrogant interview with Kaeser. Kaeser no longer needs to address these issues; he can now simply state the facts. It is understood that the facts are so clear that ZDF journalists will refrain from undertaking any similar type of interview.
During the program with Kleber, Kaeser mentioned his position regarding “the primacy of politics,” but he did not receive a favorable reaction. Nevertheless, Kaeser was still able to respond to the accusations and insinuations calmly and confidently.