A Polish national prosecution investigation into Russia’s war on Ukraine is now examining the role of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, RMF reports. The prosecution received a notification concerning the possible criminal activities of Schroeder, which has been included in the ongoing investigation.
According to the documentation received by the investigators, Schroeder may have used his positions in the Russian energy sector to exert pressure on EU countries and Ukraine. The investigators will also look into the role the former Chancellor may have played in preparing for the invasion. The notification stressed that despite the initiation of the war, Schroeder did not distance himself from the Kremlin and continued to hold positions in Russian energy companies.
The Polish investigators are conducting the procedure in agreement with the Ukrainians. So far, they have interviewed nearly two thousand witnesses and have documented destroyed buildings in Ukraine, including the use of 3D scanners.
Gerhard Schröder: Putin’s man in Germany
Gerhard Schröder, the former chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005, has been one of the most controversial figures in German politics for his close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his involvement in Russian energy projects. His support for Russia in light of its aggression against Ukraine has drawn criticism from many in his own country and abroad, who accuse him of betraying European values and interests.
Schröder’s relationship with Putin dates back to his time as chancellor, when he cultivated a personal friendship with the Russian leader and advocated for a strategic partnership between Germany and Russia. He also supported the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline, which carries Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine and other transit countries. In the final weeks of his chancellorship, he agreed to the pipeline project with Putin, despite opposition from some of his European allies.
After serving as Chancellor from 1988 to 2005, Schröder transitioned to work with Gazprom, a move that raised many questions and concerns. accepted an offer from Putin to lead the shareholder committee of Nord Stream AG, the Russian-controlled company in charge of building the pipeline. He later became chairman of the board of directors of Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company, and a board member of Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas company.
Throughout his time with Gazprom, Schröder has been a staunch lobbyist of Putin’s policies in Germany. His influence and regular commentary on Germany’s Russian policy have been a point of contention, especially considering his close ties to the Kremlin. There is evidence that Schröder’s lobbying efforts were not initially known to the public, raising further questions about transparency and influence. In 2014, Schroeder was identified as part of “Putin’s network against Ukraine,” together with other German political figures such as the Chairman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), Hans-Dietrich Genscher.
In recent years, Schröder has been rewarded for his lobbying efforts with a seat on the Gazprom board of directors. This has solidified his role as a top representative for Gazprom and a key figure in the ongoing relationship between Germany and Russia.
Schröder has defended his ties with Putin and Russia, arguing that he is acting as a bridge-builder and a mediator between the West and Moscow. He has also maintained that Russia wants a negotiated solution to the war in Ukraine, which he blames on both sides for failing to implement the Minsk agreements. He has opposed sanctions against Russia and called for dialogue and cooperation with Putin.
However, Schröder’s stance has become increasingly isolated and unpopular in Germany, especially after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022 and escalated its military aggression in Donbas. Many Germans see Schröder as a pariah who has sold out his country’s values and security for personal gain. He has been stripped of his right to a publicly funded office and denounced by many politicians and media outlets. He has also faced protests and boycotts from civil society groups and activists who support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Schröder’s actions have also damaged Germany’s reputation and credibility in Europe and beyond. Many of Germany’s allies and partners have questioned its commitment to defending democracy and human rights in the face of Russian aggression. They have also criticized Germany’s dependence on Russian gas, which they see as a vulnerability that gives Putin leverage over Europe. They have urged Germany to diversify its energy sources and reduce its ties with Russia.
Schröder has shown no signs of remorse or regret for his pro-Russia stance. He has continued to meet with Putin regularly and attend events at the Russian embassy in Berlin. He has also rejected any criticism or pressure from his critics, saying that he does not do mea culpa.