Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder: “Who seriously believes that Putin will give up Crimea?”

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.


At the end of July, the former chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder was seen in Moscow. He explained that he had arrived in the Russian capital for a few days – to spend part of his vacation here. In Berlin, the trip of the German ex-leader was called his private affair. Upon returning home, Schroeder gave a long interview to the Stern magazine, in which he said that he had met with his old friend, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. He also shared his opinion on the events around Ukraine, the prospects for resuming cooperation with Russia, including in the energy field.

Here are the most important statements of the German politician.


“Who prevented the admission of Ukraine to the bloc at the NATO summit in 2008? Angela Merkel and Frank-Walter Steinmeier (then President of Germany. – Ed.). It was a wise decision, and even Mr. Zelensky said that there is an alternative, such as the armed neutrality of Ukraine without NATO membership, like Austria has.”


“The good news is that the Kremlin wants a negotiated solution. Russia and Ukraine were negotiating in March, and the agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain was the first success between the parties. It may be possible to gradually expand the negotiations to a ceasefire agreement. It was a big mistake to consider the possible concessions of Ukraine as a consequence of the peace dictated by Russia in advance. It won’t work without negotiations.

Zelensky’s idea to return Crimea by military means is absurd. Who seriously believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin can ever give up Crimea again? The situation can be resolved over time, maybe not in 99 years, like in Hong Kong, but in the next generation.

Donbass is more difficult. The Minsk agreements stated that the region would remain part of Ukraine, but the Russian minority should be guaranteed more rights. But the Ukrainians even abolished bilingualism in the Donbass. To do this, it will be necessary to find a solution according to the model of the Swiss canton.”

2005 year.  German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Berlin.  Photo ITAR-TASS / Vladimir

2005 year. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Berlin. Photo ITAR-TASS / Vladimir


“In the current situation, the launch of this gas pipeline would be the easiest solution. If things go really bad, there is this pipeline, and with both branches working (Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2. – Ed.), We will have no problems with supplies for German industry and German households. The decision of the authorities to postpone the certification of Nord Stream 2 will have huge consequences for which Germany needs to be prepared. Residents who heat their homes with gas are already facing difficulties.”


“I have repeatedly condemned the war, you know that. But is personal distancing from Vladimir Putin really going to do anything for anyone else? Do I have to jump over every stick I’m being held? I’m not like that. I don’t want to take away the job of mediator from anyone in the government. But I also get a lot of letters from Germany saying it’s good that there is someone else who is keeping channels of conversation open with Russia in the current conflict. I made a decision, and I stand by it, and I made it clear: maybe I can be useful again. So why should I apologize?”


Gerhard Schröder led the German government from 1998 to 2005. After resigning, he spoke in favor of maintaining stable constructive ties with Russia. Certain forces in Germany criticized him for this. In early March of this year, Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on Schroeder to resign from all posts in Russian state-owned companies, at that time he headed the board of directors of Rosneft, and was also chairman of the shareholders’ committee of Nord Stream 2 AG.


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