The German government has decided to shut down an office that it has been providing to former chancellor Gerhard Schröder (78, in power during 1998 – 2005) as part of privileges accorded to a former chancellor, saying that he has continued to be openly pro-Russian even after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Germany is providing former chancellors with an office and aides with state fund. If the shutdown is confirmed, Schröder will come to lose privileges worth 407,000 euros (about 428,770 U.S. dollars) per year.
According to public broadcaster Deutsche Welle and other media outlets, the Green Party and Liberal Democratic Party that are forming a coalition with the ruling Social Democratic Party agreed Wednesday on a plan to close Schröder’s office. “He is not properly fulfilling his duty as former chancellor,” the three parties said, adding it cannot accept his pro-Russian stance. Christian Lindner, finance minister and chair of the Liberal Democratic Party, said, “We can hardly imagine the situation where a former chancellor, who is staging lobby for Russian President Vladimir Putin, is enjoying special privileges with taxpayers’ money.” A growing number of insiders in the Social Democratic Party to which Schröder belonged are demanding the party to kick him out.
Schröder has been constantly siding with Putin, calling him a ‘friend.’ Notably, he denied massacres of civilians that were committed by Russian troops in Bucha near Kiev, the Ukraine capital, during his interview with The New York Times on April 24, saying, “President Putin would not have ordered attacks on civilians,” sparking controversy.
Schröder approved of a ‘Nord Stream’ pipeline project linking Russia and Germany just prior to his ending his term, and is currently serving as chair of the shareholders committee of the company that is running this project. Separately, he is serving as advisor to Russian oil company Rosneft since 2017. He is earning as much as 870,000 dollars from Russia every year.