Opinion: Putin Schröder’s cap is a man of conviction | Comments | DW

There is war in Europe. A war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine. Vladimir Putin gave the order on February 24, 2022. Shortly before, Chancellor Olaf Scholz had tried in vain to change the Kremlin ruler’s mind during a visit to Moscow. As farewell, Putin addressed his host a few words about what is probably his best friend outside of Russia on his way home: Germans should be grateful to Gerhard Schröder. The former chancellor is an “independent expert” and a “decent man”.

The gas lobbyist with a Social Democratic Party card is used to chants of praise from a suspected war criminal. Men have been getting along brilliantly for decades. Schröder’s claim that Putin is a “flawless Democrat” is legendary and speaks for itself. Two blenders pass balls to each other and love to throw sand into each other’s eyes. The most recent example: Schröder’s statements in an interview with the “New York Times”.

Schröder sounds like Putin’s personal press officer

The man, who has posed as a speaker for decades, slips into the role of the calm when it comes to his friend Putin: “What I can tell you is that Putin is interested in ending the war. But it’s not that easy. There are some points that need to be clarified.” Schröder appears to be the personal spokesperson for the former Russian intelligence agent. Someone walks around the bush and tries to give the impression with his comics that he knows more than he is saying.

DW correspondent Marcel Fürstenau

This is the embarrassing pomposity of an old man who takes his nonsense phrases for statesman’s rhetoric. Schröder bet on the possibility of becoming a senior statesman like Helmut Schmidt or Richard von Weizsäcker in 2005, soon after his electoral defeat by Angela Merkel. Offering himself without problems to Putin as a door opener for his energy deals with Germany.

The former chancellor could have become a model

The propensity for staging is part of the essence of the brand of this alpha animal. He really deserved labels like “Companion of Leaders”. As a former left-wing politician (Schröder was president of the Young Socialists), the former chancellor still loves being able to talk to heads of companies worth millions on an equal footing. He shouldn’t be a reproach, on the contrary: Schröder has finally managed to recover from the so-called “small circumstances”.

Seen from this perspective, it is theoretically suitable as a model as well. In practice, however, his behavior has always had a self-centered arrogance that confirms an assumption: that he always and only cares about himself. Those who focus on themselves as much as Schröder can be particularly prone to overconfidence.

A German marching song: “A friend, a good friend”

This fits his private trip to Putin shortly after the war began. He apparently really believed that he could successfully persuade his friend him to immediately end the war against Ukraine. Perhaps Schröder even dreamed of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize if he was successful. He returned, in fact, docilely from the metropolis of Moscow to his hometown of Hanover. Nothing was known about his meeting with the warlord in the Kremlin.

Schröder’s behavior is almost tragically reminiscent of a popular marching song written in Germany in 1930: “A friend, a good friend, this is the best thing in the world”. The catchy melody continues on the second line: “A friend is always a friend, even when the whole world falls apart.” He hasn’t gotten that far yet. But as of February 24, 2022, Vladimir Putin’s troops have already destroyed many towns and villages in Ukraine, killing thousands. Unfortunately, this is still no reason for Gerhard Schröder to end his friendship with the Russian president.

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