Opinions This is a debate post. The post expresses the writer’s attitudes.
Last week, Schröder was publicly stripped of the state-paid office in Berlin – and of the employees to whom a former chancellor is entitled. As it is called, such an office can not be combined with the position of Putin’s highest paid lobbyist in Germany. But in reality, it was Gerhard Schröder’s honor that disappeared with the bathwater – more than that he missed secretaries and driver.
And the message that he is not going to Rosneft was not enough for the party comrades. Schröder tried – discreetly – to keep his position in Gazprom. So he was told loud and clear that IT is not going.
Either he continues in the role of Putin’s German poodle – or all ties are cut.
In the background, the European Commission rattled with its boycott threat. Less important Germans than Schröder have already got their name on the list of those with whom it is more than wise not to have contact – let alone business relations.
Since long before the Ukraine war, Schröder has been clear that he fully supports Putin’s line. (Of course, he is opposed to the war – but THAT is what all other Putin friends claim to be.)
After Putin’s attack on the neighboring country, Gerd boarded a plane to Moscow. He wanted to talk to his old friend and see if it was not possible to calm Vladi down. But Schröder’s alleged best friend would not listen, and the former chancellor had to go home with an unsolved case. (His dream in advance was surely to return brilliantly from the Kremlin with a Putin offer that the world could not refuse.)
The honorary memberships
Despite fierce pressure from far and wide, Schröder stubbornly refused to drop relations with the Kremlin. This would cost him the honorary membership in Borussia Dortmund and the honorary citizenship in Hanover, as well as a whole bunch of other honors that were withdrawn. In the end, it seemed that the man was driven by sheer defiance – and wanted to show “them” all that he did not let himself be slowed down or stopped.
In his own eyes, he must still have been a great poet.
Even personal friends turned their backs on him – and political opponents let all inhibitions slip in the mention of him who was the country’s prime minister from 1998 to 2005 – and who subsequently allowed himself to be bought by Vladimir Putin to front Russian energy companies inside and outside Germany. Russian agent? Incipient senile? Raving mad? The questions were in line, but since Gerhard Schröder prefers to leave comments to his wife’s somewhat bizarre channels online – it hurts to get his real opinions.
The poor boy
The other day I stumbled across the front page of a Stern from 2004. This is an interview in the warm-up for the election campaign the following year. The media genius Schröder had made a deal with the large weekly magazine, which must have had free access to the chancellor’s private photo album from growing up.
His father fell on the Eastern Front and little Gerhard was never allowed to meet him.
The mother had a total of five children with different men. She struggled day and night as a cleaning assistant to provide food and clothing for the flock. “We belonged on the absolute bottom shelf,” as “Gerd” once described the condition.
In Stern, he recalled that the other kids in the area were warned by their parents against playing with Gerd and the four siblings. They were poor in lye and not much to collect.
The boy learned to sort things out on his own. He made money playing football on the weekends, while the rest of the week he studied law and eventually managed to become a lawyer. Later followed a lightning career in the SPD, where Schröder never hid that his goal was to become chancellor.
With a mixture of charm and brutality, he also managed to climb quickly to the top.
As head of government, he was known for his ruthless style and that he often ran over people with other opinions. Deer suits and bragging rights were introduced as work attire for the ministers in his government. Women were something he used to run the family ministry or similar.
Loved and hated
What Schröder had probably planned to be remembered for was the reorganization of the social system and the payments to the unemployed. The schemes were merged and the rights of the unemployed were significantly reduced. He has since been praised by conservatives and liberals, who believe that “Harz 4” made it possible for the Federal Republic to recover from several economic crises.
But on the left in his own party – and among large parts of the SPD’s electorate – Gerhard Schröder was left personally responsible for the fact that millions of unemployed people have to make ends meet through life with minimal means. “Harz 4” has since been like a lump of concrete around the legs of anyone who has tried to campaign for the SPD.
Dream of wealth
Over the past six months, psychologists and other experts have tried to provide an explanation of how Gerhard Schröder to such an extent managed to get into Putin’s network. The most commonly used explanation is that the poor boy Gerd had reached the political top. Afterwards, he wanted to acquire a huge fortune – and prove that he also belongs to the best among business people. The latest warning signals must have penetrated the staff from Hanover.
And now he is rowing so it falls.
But no one believes anymore that Gerhard Schröder should expect neither understanding nor forgiveness for the soup dose he himself has brought himself up in. He reacts openly reluctantly – and far too late. So not even close party comrades will forget. Gerd must expect to spend his last years as politically and humanly isolated. But NOW he has at least managed to secure the many Euro-millions that the “friendship” with Putin has already brought in.
In his own trap
A liberal summit stated at the beginning of the week that it holds now. He is by no means a friend of Schröder, but warned his colleagues that the limit must now be reached for the humiliations of a former chancellor. After all, he did good things for the country.
But in reality it was Gerhard Schröder himself who constructed the trap he himself has fallen into.
Political Berlin is still shaking its pants.
For Gerhard Schröder has not yet written his memoirs. NOW he has time for that. And THEN anyone can expect unpleasant revelations – or simply the occasional verbal eavesdropping from their old friend. He certainly does not have quite a few open bills to settle.
We have probably not yet experienced the last act in the comedy tragedy about the German poor boy who became best friends with a climbing mouse from Leningrad.