LONDON — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has a very different attitude toward Russia from the last three or four German chancellors, perhaps because she grew up in former East Germany, under Russian control.

She’s not anti-Russian (she speaks the language fluently), but she doesn’t think that they deserve special treatment. So when Russia suddenly cut off the flow of oil to Germany and several other European Union countries on Jan. 8 because of a dispute with Belarus, she did not waste time on tact.

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