In a lengthy interview with the German publication Stern, the former chancellor of Germany reveals his ties with the president of Russia but, more importantly, urges the German government to take action.

Schröder's relations with Putin and Russia: Why should I apologize?
[Gerhard Schroder and Vladimir Putin]

Gerhard Schroder served as Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005, and his life and career are intriguing for a number of reasons. Something about him that makes him intolerable at the same time, to the point where his adversaries actively despise him. When he considers politics, he is motivated by a sense of security, which in turn leads to arrogance. After all, Schroder is essentially a politician who thinks in predetermined categories and does not attempt to reach agreements with others. After sixteen years of a totally different sort of Merkel, who was constantly striving for a compromise and sensible reasoning to persuade her opponents, Merkel has now been replaced. For her, the solution to her difficulties is to approach them with composure and patience, disassembling them, reducing their size, and preventing them from becoming gangrenous. The issue is different for Schroder since he approaches things from an offensive stance. And tolerance when someone else is in a bad mood. When he decided to enforce welfare state changes at the beginning of the 2000s, he did not waver one bit. This was true even in the face of dissent within his own party as well as protests by labor unions. In addition to this, he was the one who informed Bush junior that Germany, much like France, would not be taking part in the conflict in Iraq. As he was leaving the Chancellery, he put on Frank Sinatra's "My Way." "And now that the conclusion is drawing close and I stand before the last curtain, I will state it unequivocally: I have lived a complete life and traveled all of the possible paths. But more than that, I did it my own in a lot of other ways as well." And even today, he continues to conduct himself in the same manner.

Since the commencement of the conflict, Schroder has been the subject of several accusations. Because of his position inside Russian state corporations, his close acquaintance with Vladimir Putin, and the murky nature of his connection to the Kremlin. There is a phenomenon known as the Rapallo syndrome, which refers to a treaty signed in 1922 between Germany and Soviet Russia that caused concern among western nations. Critics have referred to the German Social Democracy as having always been excessively condescending to Russia. The party, which is again in power and has a new chancellor in Olaf Scholz, has often seemed to be in difficulty as a result of Schroder's statements. Soon before the war, in January, when he was in Washington, while he was being interviewed on television, the journalist questioned him on the position of Schroder, and Scholz nearly blurted out: "You will have to inquire with him. However, as the Federal Chancellor of Germany, it is I who are responsible for making the choices." There have been many discussions inside the SPD regarding the possibility of excommunicating the former chancellor. It would be something that everyone is talking about.

Schroder at long last granted the media their request to speak with him and answered their questions. And the former chancellor has not evolved: a photograph of him accompanied by the question "Why should I apologize?" appeared on the front cover of the weekly Stern. Schroder provided responses to the questions, and once again, he did it in his own unique style. There is little doubt that a good number of people in Germany will dislike the interview.

The point of departure is: "The Kremlin is interested in finding a solution via negotiation. During the course of the confrontation between Ukraine and Russia, there have already been conversations; one such instance took place in March of last year in Istanbul. When it came to the talks over the wheat, the Turks were useful back then, and they continue to be beneficial now. The cereals deal is a good first step, and if things continue to go well, we could even be able to negotiate an armistice ". When they remind him that Russia was the one who started the conflict, the former chancellor acts as if it is of no concern to him: "I believe that the Russian government made a mistake by starting this war. It is also something that I have said in public. However, I don't have to always act as the outraged party since other people can do that for me ". Just a mistake? Is there no alternative name for it that could be used? "Maybe. Would that be of any use? ". Huge distance, sidereal with today's politics: if Annalena Baerbock never misses an opportunity to challenge Putin's crimes in detail, Schroder interprets the politics and, above all, that of a country of the size and strength of Germany as direct intervention. Huge distance, sidereal with today's politics. "Along with France, naturally, Germany and the Federal Government in particular have a disproportionate amount of responsibility for this matter. In my view, not much is being done at the present, therefore one thing really has to be made clear: if we do not have conversations, we will not go very far ".

In Germany, the discomfort that occurs is supplied exactly by this method, which, if we are strictly political, causes many people to turn up their noses at it. It is hardly a secret that Schroder would have preferred a more engaged Europe that was capable of determining a route to negotiation: "The Chinese government is acting in a very sensible manner throughout this issue. On the other hand, Europeans face the danger of giving up their independence if they entirely submit themselves to American influence ". He is aware that any solution must still have the backing of Washington in order to be successful; otherwise, it would fail right from the beginning: "Without the backing of the Americans, there can be no negotiating solution." Since this is the case, the primary challenge is to devise a solution and stimulate discussions, both of which have been left solely up to the Turks and Erdoan up to this point. "The true issue is whether or not you really want to find a solution to the disagreement. After that, there will need to be compromises on both sides. And it would be a grave error to disparage in advance any potential compromises on the part of the Ukrainian side, such as a peace agreement that was forced by the Russians." The idea that appears to be floating around in the head of the former chancellor appears to be a model in which the Turks and Europeans play the part of the good cop and the Americans play the part of the bad one for the purpose of reaching a negotiation ("Obviously nothing can be done without the involvement of the Ukrainians") and an armistice, without forgetting the role that Poland plays: "I see the risk that right here fears justified by history will receive a new meaning."

Schroder did not try to disguise his subtly critical remarks about the administration or Annalena Baerbock, the minister of international affairs. To begin, the impacts of the energy crisis will be felt, and those effects will be felt most acutely by the lower socioeconomic strata. "To save money on the shower is not the issue at hand, contrary to what Minister Habeck claims. The situation is going to get more difficult for everyone who is now forced to watch every cent they spend." At the conclusion of the meetings that Schroder had in Russia, including one with Vladimir Putin himself, he is convinced that the current reduction in the supply of gas in Nord Stream 1, the first gas pipeline to originate in Russia, is only a technical and bureaucratic issue, which can be attributed to all parties. But he also presents a fresh proposition, which is as follows: "Why should we give up on the Nord Stream 2 project? The pipeline does exist, and all of its construction has been finished ". And he doesn't spare Angela Merkel a jab, who booted him away from the Chancellery in 2005, in what is possibly the sole capitulation to his customary weakness, ego, of the whole interview: "When I left the Chancellery, our dependency on Russia was 35 percent now considerably higher." Due to the paradoxical nature of this plan to exploit the Nord Stream 2, Schroder finds himself working with his longtime adversary and buddy, Oskar Lafontaine.

In conclusion, Schorder asserts that he is not worried about the potential punishments that may be levied against him ( "There are courts in Germany"), but he maintains his stance by saying, "Should I possibly avoid every small obstacle? I'm not like that. I am confirming the choices that I made before. Perhaps there is still a need for me; in that case, why should I apologize? ". Schroder has not changed in any way. At the beginning of the year 2000, he received acclaim from the majority of Europe for his bravery in implementing changes. Even though he is entirely alone in the world right now, he refuses to quit up. He continues to be the one who does everything in his own particular manner.
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