Thus, with the knowledge and control of German experts, the decentralisation reform was transformed into a reform of local governments. As Georg Milbradt
, special envoy of the German government for decentralisation reform, stated : "Decentralisation in no way means separatism or federalisation." In addition, this reform was considered
by the German side as a "countermodel" in relation to Russia, aimed at long-term changes.
In other words, in 2014-2022, Germany actively increased its political and economic influence in Ukraine. This influence was not absolute and was in competition with other Western players, primarily with the United States and the states of Eastern Europe. However, the leading role of Germany in the EU and the relative geographical proximity of the two states, as well as rich experience in working with soft power tools, gave Berlin certain advantages in Ukraine.
The government of Olaf Scholz, which began working in December 2021, intended to continue Angela Merkel's legacy in Ukraine. However, the growing tension in the Donbass forced Berlin to resort to new approaches in the spirit of crisis management. Germany became one of the first states to evacuate its embassy from Kiev to Lvov. Despite being barely settled in the chancellor's office, Olaf Scholz joined the diplomatic carousel of European politicians. In that spirit, he became the last Western head of state to visit Moscow before the start of the Special Military Operation.
One of the central questions that Scholz tried to resolve was the fate of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Continuing the course of his predecessor, the new chancellor initially opposed possible sanctions on the pipeline. However, under mounting pressure, Berlin began to show hesitation on this sensitive issue. Scholz's evasiveness at a press conference during his visit to Washington caused analysts to speculate
about the true position of the chancellor regarding Nord Stream-2. A similar effect was observed after his Moscow visit.