Rüdiger von Fritsch: The expert on a Russia that few (still) understand

19. May 2022 – Katharina Schlangenotto

Former Russian ambassador Rüdiger von Fritsch, whose civil name is the impressive Rüdiger Werner Hans-Erdmann Freiherr von Fritsch-Seerhausen, is currently a sought-after expert in the media.

Crimea has just been annexed when Rüdiger von Fritsch becomes ambassador to Moscow. One of his important books is entitled “Interior Views of Russian Power.”

The following can be read about him and the book: “Rüdiger v. Fritsch is an “understander” of Russian history, soul and psyche and can thus explain much of what is so incomprehensible to us about Russian politics. In doing so, he consistently takes a stand against many arguments of the so-called Russia-understanders. And yet (or perhaps because of this?) he has secured the respect of Vladimir Putin. The book is an enriching and highly readable read for people with an interest in (mostly recent) history and international politics.”

Rüdiger von Fritsch – In-depth coverage of Russia

The German historian Heinrich-August Winkler calls it “a report from Vladimir Putin’s Russia that is as vivid as it is incisive. The book (…) should become required reading for all politicians.” Russian writer Viktor Yerofeyev says of it that it is “one of the most interesting books about contemporary Russia.”

Rüdiger von Fritsch’s books are all worthwhile. He conveys his message even more forcefully in his lectures, in which he speaks intelligently and diplomatically about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The West does not find it easy to understand Russia, Rüdiger von Fritsch builds a bridge, he is both an understander and a mediator and never tires of emphasizing the importance of maintaining relations with Russia.

Russia and the war from the perspective of a former diplomat

At the moment, when everything revolves around the war in Ukraine, Rüdiger Fritsch can hardly save himself from inquiries. It is too difficult to grasp, let alone understand, what is happening. The former Russian diplomat is trying. “I fear that we have to assume that Russia will try to continue this war on a massive scale,” von Fritsch told the phoenix television channel. “Russian President Vladimir Putin is starting from a false reality: He has miscalculated in some respects and he is acting not only to the detriment of his own country, but ultimately also of his own interests. But the drama is that, from his point of view, he cannot lose this war. Because Russia is a great power, a nuclear power.”

In Rüdiger von Fritsch’s books and speeches, it becomes astonishingly clear time and again how the mindset and actions of diplomacy and politics differ. Diplomacy is not about power and influence, but about peace.

The most important instrument of diplomacy, according to Rüdiger von Fritsch, is talks. In the current situation, however, even he sees little chance of this strategy succeeding: “But when one side refuses to talk, even tramples, diplomacy reaches its limits.”

What diplomacy can achieve, where it reaches its limits, what makes Vladimir Putin tick and what kind of Russia has emerged under his rule is what Rüdiger von Fritsch talks about in his engaging, instructive lectures. His topics are for example Russia & Europe and how the future relationship will be, “Energy & Raw Materials and Russia’s Power Games”, “USA, Russia & China – Tectonic Shifts in Economy & Politics or “Turn of the Times – Putin’s War and the Consequences”.

Rüdiger von Fritsch

Diplomat, former Ambassador in Warsaw & Moscow