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Schröder must pay!

(February 25, 2022)



Mr Former Federal Chancellor,

Russian ruler Vladimir Putin has ordered a war of aggression against Ukraine. His air force is bombing places all over the country, the ground troops are advancing deeper and deeper.

Mr Schröder, you yourself demand: “The war and the suffering it causes for the people of Ukraine must be stopped as soon as possible.” As Putin’s most influential international advocate, you are personally partly responsible for this.

Back in 2004, when you were still Federal Chancellor, you called the Kremlin ruler a flawless democrat – despite the bloody war in Chechnya and other human rights violations in Russia. After the end of your term in office, you worked as a lobbyist for the Russian state corporation Gazprom and did everything to ensure that our dependence on Russian gas steadily increased and our political ability to deal with Russia decreased.

You relentlessly defended Russia despite all its wars, in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine in 2014. After the annexation of Crimea, you repeated the Kremlin’s propaganda, calling the Ukrainian peninsula an “old Russian territory”. Most recently, in your podcast, you demanded that Ukraine “stop sabre-rattling” as if Ukraine was the aggressor. You have always claimed that Russia poses no threat to Ukraine and the international peace order, and you have portrayed those who warned against it as alarmists and warmongers. At the latest, the bombs on Kyiv and tanks in Kharkiv have shown how wrong you were.

But you are not just any expert. As a former chancellor and active member of the governing SPD party, you still have a great influence on public opinion and political decisions in Germany and internationally. You played a major role in ensuring that Vladimir Putin’s policies of violation of human rights and international law were not met with any significant resistance. You helped him to grow into a dictator who terrorises his own citizens and starts wars with impunity. You conveyed the impression that the highest representatives of our state could be bought.

We, as representatives of German civil society, are tired of being ashamed of our former chancellor. You can no longer save your reputation as Gerhard The Gazprom Chanselor. But you still have a chance to go into history as a person who takes responsibility for their actions.

It is not enough to distance yourself from your friend Vladimir Putin. It is not enough to resign from your positions on the supervisory board of Rosneft and the shareholders’ committee of Nord Stream 2 AG, and to decline your nomination to the supervisory board of Gazprom. These would only be symbolic gestures.

We call on you: Donate for Ukraine! According to media research, you have been earning about 850,000 euros a year in Russian state-owned companies at least since 2017. The very least you can do now is to donate to Ukraine the entire fortune you have earned in Putin’s service. But you can also contribute more.

To donate, we recommend Emergency Humanitarian Aid For Ukraine run by the German-Swiss human rights organisation Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights


Stefanie Schiffer, CEO European Exchange

Silke Hüper, Programme Director Kyiv Dialogue

Adam Busuleanu, Programme Director European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE)

Nikolai Klimeniouk, Programme Director Initiative Quorum

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