The former foreign minister travels to Moscow, but hardly anyone knows anything. Gerhard Schröder is said to have met his friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Thursday night. This is how the news portal reports politician. There is no official confirmation for this yet. The Kremlin seemed clueless and the federal government declined to comment. And the former chancellor’s office in Berlin will be closed after the last remaining employees applied for a transfer last week.
In addition to the report of politician there is another photo on Instagram showing Schröder’s wife, Soyeon Schröder-Kim, in a praying pose, with St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin in the background. Apparently, the image was taken in a Moscow hotel.
Schröder-Kim had already said on Instagram last weekend: “Anything my husband can do to help end the war, he will.” She also sympathetically mentioned Ukrainian ambassador Andriy Melnyk’s request that Schröder should use her direct contact with Putin to mediate an end to Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Melnyk himself said Thursday night on ARD that he knew nothing about Schröder’s trip. Noisy politician A Ukrainian parliamentarian contacted the former chancellor through the Swiss publisher Ringier, for which Schröder had previously worked. Ringier ended his collaboration with Schröder last week, apparently because of Schröder’s position on the war in Ukraine. Schröder is said to have been picked up in Istanbul by a Russian plane.
Schröder – just a “tragic figure”?
According to reports from Willy Brandt House, no one at the top of the SPD knew of Schröder’s trip on a diplomatic mission. And neither does the government of his party colleague, Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Scholz declined to comment on Friday’s visit. However, Scholz said after the EU summit in Versailles: “We will certainly be able to take note of the results and also include them in everything that we have done in our own efforts.” The cables from the SPD to Schröder have been almost completely ripped out, they say. It is said that even party leader Lars Klingbeil, who worked in Gerhard Schröder’s parliamentary office at the beginning of his political career and has always been in contact with him, is no longer in contact with the former chancellor.
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By the end of February, Klingbeil had begun to distance himself from Schröder. A few days after the start of the war, he wrote on Facebook: “I hope that Gerhard Schröder behaves clearly these days as well.” Referring to his mandates with Russian gas companies, he wrote: “You don’t do business with an aggressor, with a warmonger like Putin.” But Schroeder did not react. He also did not react when the party leadership asked him again a week ago to resign from his posts. The letters were drawn up at the Willy Brandt House. Nothing again. Klingbeil publicly stated that a response was expected “soon”. Schröder, said Klingbeil, was “completely isolated in the Social Democracy”.
Schröder’s behavior caused great perplexity in the match. A senior SPD official says the former chancellor is now in danger of becoming “a completely tragic figure”, others speak of a staging to salvage what remains of his former reputation. There is a “great malaise”. Klingbeil said that mirror: “One thing is clear: everything that helps stop this horrible war in Ukraine is good.” But first of all, a concrete result would have to be recognizable. And then the question arises how far back it really goes back to Schröder’s good relationship with Vladimir Putin. Is Putin instrumentalizing Schröder in the end?
First teammates have requested their expulsion from the match
Another reading is that Schröder attempted mediation due to ongoing social pressure: On Friday, the German Football Association withdrew his honorary membership. In case of failure, he could then justify to Putin that he would cut his close ties with him.
In the SPD, the first teammates have already requested the expulsion of Schröder from the party. Schröder and his party have already distanced themselves as much as possible. And now, of all things, should the former chancellor act alone to make everything better? According to the match, Schröder is missing out.