The German Social Democrats of the Social Democratic Party will not punish former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder for his ties to the Kremlin. This was decided by the party committee on appeal. In a previous decision issued in August, the party authorities acquitted Schroeder.
The SPD committee “could not establish with sufficient certainty” that Schröder had violated the party’s laws, principles or rules, or that he had engaged in a dishonorable act. The committee adds that it is possible that senior German politicians “misjudged the risks of dependence on Russian energy supplies over the past 25 years.” This also applies to other politicians, both inside and outside the party, and it still seems so. However, it would be too much to accuse Schroeder of this miscalculation.
The case was taken up by the party authorities after several departments filed an application against the former chancellor. In the first case, in August, they were already proven wrong. They can now go to the party’s Federal Arbitration Board. However, it is unlikely that such an appeal would be permitted.
Close relations with Putin
Schroeder served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005 and has long been criticized for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian oil and gas industry. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this criticism increased.
In May, a few months after the war broke out in Ukraine, he decided, under pressure, to give up his post on the board of directors of the energy company Rosneft. He also gave up a similar position at Gazprom. However, Schroeder refused to distance himself from Putin last week. In retrospect, Schroeder has described the latter as a “flawless Democrat”.
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