She polarizes – and doesn’t shy away from any discussion. Sahra Wagenknecht was a guest at Burda to launch the new event series “Democracy in Transition”.

Whether migration, the path to peace in Ukraine or the state of freedom of expression in Germany: the politician, who only a few months ago broke away from the Left Party with her “BSW”, is not afraid of controversial views.

She also made this clear on Wednesday when she discussed in Berlin with the editors-in-chief and political journalists from Burda (including FOCUS and FOCUS online). Wagenknecht’s visit to Berlin marked the start of a new journalistic event series: “Democracy in Change”. Burda board member Philipp Welte launched the format, in keeping with the “fateful year of democracy,” as he said in the welcome.

For Burda as a journalistic house, it is an obligation to deal with all people who have or want to take responsibility for the future of Germany, said Welte. No matter whether left, center or right – representatives of all parties and positions in the democratic spectrum are welcome: “We want to talk about what is going on in our country because that is exactly our mission as part of the free press in our pluralistic democracy. “

In the new Burda offices on Heiligengeistkirchplatz in Berlin – where all Berlin editorial offices work under one roof (FOCUS, Super Illu, FOCUS online, BUNTE online) – the dining room on the ground floor was filled to capacity. Wagenknecht emphasized several times: “People no longer see themselves in politics. Many are convinced that they are no longer allowed to express their opinions because almost every debate immediately drifts into moralizing.”

“We should stop moralizing opinions. This is poison for democratic discourse.” And further: “It is difficult when some politicians see themselves as people’s educational agents.”

Discussions of this kind – and the ones Burda is planning in the coming weeks with representatives of all democratic parties – are important because exchanges between different positions, between politicians and citizens, are becoming increasingly rare.

Or as Philipp Welte put it: “Confidence in democracy and its institutions is being lost, and that must concern us all.”

A controversial discussion arose about how to deal with Russia. Can one trust the aggressive Putin and negotiate viable solutions with him? As elsewhere, Wagenknecht again campaigned for a conversation with the despot. Wagenknecht explained that she would send Gerhard Schröder to Moscow on a secret mission to find out Putin’s positions. “Putin’s war against Ukraine is a war of aggression that violates international law; But that is not an alibi for not trying to find a diplomatic solution.”

What already seems clear today: simple majority formation is not in sight. It is therefore all the more important that all democratic actors stay in conversation and deal together with the pressing challenges of our society. Burda’s journalistic event series “Democracy in Transition” aims to make a contribution to this. By the way, the next time will be on May 27th in Munich: Then Manfred Weber will come, the party and parliamentary group leader of the European People’s Party and the CDU/CSU’s top candidate for the European Parliament.

FOCUS online will interview the European politician on this occasion and publish the conversation.