19:52 GMT03 December 2020
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    The presentation of a new biographical book about former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder took place in Berlin, on September 22. Schroeder’s close relationship with Russia and its President Vladimir Putin became one of the major issues in the publication.

    The new book presented on Tuesday in Berlin highlights the special relations between Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    The publication written by historian and publicist Gregor Scholgen consists of 1,038 pages and is the most complete biography of the former German Chancellor.

    The presentation was attended by Gerhard Schroeder himself as well as incumbent German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    The book mentioned several issues regarding Russia:

    "Russia is too important"

    "Russia is too important for Europe, especially Germany, to give up the strategic partnership with Russia," Scholgen quoted the statement German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder made in 1999.

    According to the biographer, Schroeder strongly advocated for Russia's participation in the decision-making process in all originally Western institutions, including both NATO and the European Union, as well as the World Economic Summits (G7, G8).

    Schroeder "was one of those pioneers in the country, who not only appreciated the huge potential, but also tried to draw the country into a huge integrated Europe — and thus support the skidding process of modernization and democratization," he wrote.

    Friendship with Putin

    According to the biographer, Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schroeder had followed a similar path in life. Both were born in straitened economic circumstances, both of them studied law.

    "The Russian President liked the pragmatic approach of the Federal Chancellor in the way Schroeder demonstrated it. In general, both understood each other immediately. Politically as well as personally. They are also very similar… Both knew about each other that they came from lower classes, therefore they felt natural respect for each other and they trusted each other," Scholgen said.

    Against the War in Iraq

    The book also mentioned the common position of Germany and Russia on the war in Iraq.

    It is true that the crisis in Iraq drove a wedge between the Europeans. For example, the governments of the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic supported the US, Scholgen wrote. On the contrary, the authorities of Germany, France and Russia with the support of China were united in the fact that the UN Security Council should not adopt the resolution to start a military operation in the country.

    "Such close collaboration led to the situation when Chirac, Putin and Schroeder kept each other informed of their contacts with third parties and the content of the talks with Bush, Blair and others," the biographer wrote. Such a position, according to the author, was reinforced by "close, partly personal — partly phone conversations" between the "troika" of Chirac-Schroeder-Putin "in those days and weeks."


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