The former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has defended his policies and general approach towards Russia in an interview with Germany’s RTL broadcaster. The former head of the German government maintained that he still believes everything he did “politically” in relation to Russia was “right” and no one should expect him to turn his back on Moscow.
One can “criticize what I have done or just leave it [be] but do not expect me to renounce [Russian President Vladimir Putin],” Schroeder told RTL, in an interview recorded in April. Too many things are already “being renounced at the moment,” he added.
He also said that public criticism of his position on Russia “does not really hurt” him since he believes everything he did in that regard was right. RTL interviewed the politician as part of its documentary on the former editor-in-chief of the tabloid Bild, Kai Diekmann. Bild repeatedly reported unfavorably on Schroeder in its articles.
“That’s my life,” the former chancellor said, adding that no one “will dictate how I should live.”
Schroeder forged friendly relations with Russia during his time in office between 1998 and 2005. Later, he joined the boards of Russian Nord Stream gas pipeline operator and the Rosneft energy giant. The politician faced backlash over his ties to Moscow after conflict between Russia and Ukraine erupted into fighting in February 2022.
He has repeatedly spoken out against Russia’s offensive in Ukraine but maintains that distancing himself from Moscow would hardly “do any good.” He also traveled to the Russian capital to personally meet Putin shortly after Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine.
Since then, Schroeder has repeatedly stated that Moscow is seeking a negotiated solution to the conflict and said he would keep seeking “opportunities to talk to President Putin.”
His stance put him at odds with his Social Democratic Party (SPD). Some of its members unsuccessfully demanded his expulsion earlier this year. The party still stripped its former leader of his parliamentary privileges in 2022.
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