Germany: SPD keeps ex-Chancellor Schröder, linked to Putin, in its ranks

Germany: SPD keeps ex-Chancellor Schröder, linked to Putin, in its ranks


The German Social Democratic Party (SPD) decided on Monday to keep ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in its ranks, criticized for his links with Vladimir Putin, whom he never disowned despite the war in Ukraine.

The SPD section of Hanover (north), stronghold of the 78-year-old former chancellor, considered that the latter had not broken party rules.

“Gerhard Schröder is not guilty of any violation of the party regulations, because no violation could be proven against him”, explained the section in a press release, nevertheless considering that a “distancing clear” vis-à-vis the Russian president would be “desirable”.

“The arbitration commission considers that the field of personal friendly relations is part of the field of private life”, added the section .

An appeal against this decision can still be lodged by SPD members within one month.

About 15 local branches of the Social Democratic Party currently in power in Germany had demanded sanctions, going as far as the exclusion from the party, of Mr Schröder because of his lack of distance vis-à-vis the Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the activities of the ex-chancellor within Russian energy groups.

The co-leader of the SPD, Saskia Esken, but also the Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser had declared themselves in favor of his exclusion.

Nancy Faeser

The former leader, mentor of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz, resolved in May to leave the board of directors of the oil company Rosneft and said he had given up joining that of the gas giant Gazprom.

Unlike most of the former European leaders present before the war in the governing bodies of Russian companies, Mr. Schröder, also very involved in Nord Stream AG, the controversial gas pipelines between Russia and Germany, was late to resign from his various functions.

“I will not give up my opportunities for discussion with President Putin”, had again warned on July 10 in the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the former Chancellor (1998-2005 ).

In Germany, the predecessor of Angela Merkel has already seen part of his advantages as former chancellor withdrawn and has been let go by those around him.

M . Schröder, who in the early 2000s forged a friendship with the Russian president, described in 2004 as a “perfect democrat”, also remains threatened with sanctions by MEPs.